What Are My Chances Of Passing Mental Illness On To My Children And Could It Potentially Get Worse
For mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, genes are an important risk factor. But your genes are certainly not your destiny.
Here are some numbers to illustrate: On average, the risk of developing bipolar disorder is a little less than 1% . For people who have a parent with bipolar disorder, the risk is about 8% . You could see that glass as half empty, but you could also see it as half full. Even if your child would be 10 times as likely to develop bipolar disorder as the average person, there is still a greater than 90% chance that she or he would not develop bipolar disorder. These numbers come from studies that use a strict definition of bipolar disorder. If we use a broader definition, the percentages are higher, but the message is the same. Having a parent with bipolar disorder means risk is increased, but the absolute risk is still low.
If you havent already read Andrew Solomons book, Far From the Tree, I recommend it highly. Its filled with remarkable stories about families with children facing all sorts of developmental and health challenges. A DBSA Honorary Advisory Board member, Andrew Solomon is a person who both lives with a mood disorder and has had a child with health issuesso he knows that territory well.
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List Of People With Bipolar Disorder
Numerous notable people have had some form of mood disorder. This is a list of people accompanied by verifiable sources associating them with some form of bipolar disorder , including cyclothymia, based on their own public statements this discussion is sometimes tied to the larger topic of creativity and mental illness. In the case of dead people only, individuals with a speculative or retrospective diagnosis should only be listed if they are accompanied by a source reflective of the mainstream, academic view. Individuals should not be added to this list unless the disorder is regularly and commonly mentioned in mainstream, reliable sources.
- Alan Garner, novelist, wrote about having bipolar disorder in a collection of critical and autobiographical essays.
- Paul Gascoigne, English footballer, wrote about his treatment for bipolar disorder in his second book.
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Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
If you think you or someone in your family may have bipolar disorder, its helpful to know what symptoms to look for. The type of bipolar disorder a person has determines the symptoms they will experience. In general, the main symptoms of the different types of bipolar disorder are mania and depression.
The symptoms of bipolar mania include:
- restless and impulsive behavior
- an unrealistic perception of abilities
- happiness, even to the point of euphoria
- participating in risky behavior, such as gambling, drunk driving, or impulsive sex
- talking quickly
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Major Depression And Genetics
How common is major depression? At least 10% of people in the U.S. will experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Two times as many women as men experience major depression.
How do we know that genes play a role in causing depression? Scientists look at patterns of illness in families to estimate their heritability, or roughly what percentage of their cause is due to genes. To do this we find people with the disease who have a twin, and then find out whether the twin is also ill. Identical twins share 100% of their genes, while non-identical twins share 50% of their genes. If genes are part of the cause, we expect a patients identical twin to have a much higher risk of disease than a patients non-identical twin. That is the case for major depression. Heritability is probably 40-50%, and might be higher for severe depression.
This could mean that in most cases of depression, around 50% of the cause is genetic, and around 50% is unrelated to genes . Or it could mean that in some cases, the tendency to become depressed is almost completely genetic, and in other cases it is not really genetic at all. We dont know the answer yet.
We can also look at adoption studies, to see whether an adopted persons risk of depression is greater if a biological parent had depression. This also seems to be the case.
However, many people who develop major depression did not have this type of personality before their depression started.
Symptoms In Children And Teens
Symptoms of bipolar disorder usually emerge in early adulthood, though they can occur at any age. Sometimes, they can appear in children.
Signs that a child may have bipolar disorder
- lose interests in things they used to enjoy
- think about death or suicide
There are many reasons why children and teens can experience mood changes or moods that seem extreme. The hormonal changes in puberty can lead to fluctuations in mood, and the symptoms of ADHD and other conditions can resemble those of bipolar disorder.
If youre concerned about yourself or a young person, seek medical help early. Whatever the reason for mood changes in a young person, getting a correct diagnosis can help manage the symptoms and prevent long-term complications.
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Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder
The average age when bipolar disorder develops is about 25 years. Bipolar disorder can start at any age, though. Some people experience their first symptoms as a child. Others have the first symptoms later in their adult life.
Getting a proper diagnosis can take years. This is because people may mistake it for another disorder, or may not report their symptoms.
Your doctor may use several methods to diagnose bipolar disorder:
- Examine your medical history and symptoms.
- Complete a comprehensive mental health evaluation. This may include giving you a questionnaire or asking you to keep a record of your mood patterns
- Interview family members, close friends, and other people you frequently see, with your permission.
- Physically examine you to rule out other causes of symptoms, such as hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid.
Its Hard To Come To Terms With Having A Mental Illness
Even after a person learns they have bipolar disorder, it can be hard to accept the reality of it. Living with any mental illness can be really difficult and bipolar disorder has its own challenges. Sometimes people feel like if they reject the label of bipolar disorder, they can avoid some of those challenges. But bipolar disorder doesnt just go away if you ignore it.
The reality is that labels can actually set you free. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder helps you understand what youre experiencing. It opens up treatment options that can help you feel better. And it puts you in good company with millions of other people around the world, many of whom have accomplished incredible things.
On the other hand, sometimes people who dont know any better use the word bipolar to describe someone who is actually just moody. Be careful pushing labels on people when youre not an expert yourself. If you think your friend has bipolar disorder, encourage them to see a mental health professional who can evaluate and diagnose them. You can also point them to our online bipolar test, which is an easier start than going straight to a professional.
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You Have Bouts Of Over
This is mania. Itâs a high that goes way beyond âhappyâ or âjoyful.â Some people have it often, others hardly ever.
Hypomania is a milder form of this feeling. It doesnât turn into psychosis like mania can, but itâs part of a bipolar diagnosis. You might feel great and get a lot done, but those around you might see changes in your mood and activity levels.
To get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, you must have had at least one manic or hypomanic experience.
Signs of manic behavior include:
- Your mood isnât comfortable. It might feel good at first, especially after depression. But it quickly becomes erratic and out of control.
- Your judgment swerves way off. You take extreme risks. You make bad decisions with no thought for what might happen. For instance, you might spend money recklessly or have risky sex.
- You get bad-tempered and angry.
- You feel strung-out or edgy.
- You find it hard to sleep.
- You feel like your mind is a freeway. You might talk super-fast and hop subjects, or think you can do too many things at once.
Some episodes can mix mania and depression. For example, you might feel hyper-energetic and full of despair at the same time.
How To Get Help
About 2.6% of the U.S. population have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It usually comes on at about age 25, but it can happen earlier. There are different types, too. Symptoms can happen — or not happen — along a wide spectrum.
A âlife chartâ is a good way to track your moods and help your doctor diagnose whether you have bipolar disorder. Youâll record details about your moods, sleep patterns, and events in your life. If youâre on a manic swing, you might feel âupâ and capable, but a look at the big picture will show you how a âdownâ will follow. The info also will give your doctor a window into your day-to-day — even hour-to-hour — life to decide how best to proceed with treatment if needed.
Special phone apps can help you keep up, too. There are quite a few available to help you track your moods, medications, sleep patterns, and more. One even analyzes how you type on your phone: your rhythm and speed, mistakes, corrections, and other dynamics, but not your content. It then uses this data to gauge your mood and predict bipolar episodes. Just remember that these apps donât take the place of following a treatment plan under your doctorâs care.
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When you have bipolar behavior related to bipolar disorder, everyday life can feel like living on a rollercoaster over which you have zero control. … You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:1-16. Your emotional struggles are neither a. Psychotherapy wont likely resolve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Even the most insightful, self-aware, self-accepting bipolar individual will still experience some mixture of highs, lows and. A Bleak Future for Polar Bears. Due to global warming, it is believed that there will be a considerable decline in the polar bear population in the near future. Some areas have already reported an increase in interactions between polar bears and people. Are you born with bipolar or do you develop it? Bipolar disorder is frequently inherited, with genetic factors accounting for approximately 80% of the cause of the condition. Bipolar disorder is the most likely psychiatric disorder to be passed down from family. If one parent has bipolar disorder, theres a 10% chance that their child will.
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Is Bipolar Disorder Hereditary
We have known for some time that bipolar disorder can run in families, and now, with genomic sequencing, we are learning about the possible role of genetic factors in the disorder. While the role of heredity is clear from family and twin studies, further research is needed.
Lets look at what we know about family history and bipolar disorder, and then at what genetic specialists have discovered about the role of individual genes in both bipolar disorder and other mental health disorders.
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Virginia Woolf Suffered Psychiatric Breakdowns
The 20th-century English novelist and essayist Virginia Woolf is said to have expanded the boundaries of the novel with works such as Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. She suffered mood swings and breakdowns throughout her life.
An article in the American Journal of Psychiatry explains her behavior: From the age of 13, Woolf had symptoms that today would be diagnosed as bipolar disorder she experienced mood swings from severe depression to manic excitement and episodes of psychosis. In her own time, however, psychiatry had little to offer her.
At the age of 50, Pauley began experiencing episodes of depression and mania. It is thought that steroids used to treat hives kick-started her symptoms, which were diagnosed as bipolar disorder. She describes her experiences in her bestselling memoir Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.
If were lucky, the next generation wont drag around that personal stigma, she tells bp Magazine. They also are going to grow up with a wider array of medications that addresses whatever causes this malady of ours.
Your Depression Goes Way Deeper Than Just Feeling Down
Bipolar depression shows up in different ways for different people. You might have trouble sleeping. Or you might sleep too much, and even find it hard to get up. The smallest decisions can seem huge. Overwhelming feelings of failure, guilt, or deep loss can trigger suicidal thoughts.
Other signs to look for:
- You feel like you canât enjoy anything.
- You find it hard to focus.
- You eat too little or too much.
- Youâre weary, and your movements seem slow.
- Youâre forgetful.
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Bipolar Disorder: What Causes Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that results in extreme changes of mood, energy and ability to function. Although research has improved our understanding of why someone might develop bipolar disorder, the exact cause is still not known.
Scientists believe that bipolar disorder is the result of a complicated relationship between genetic and environmental factors. Research suggests that a person is born with a “vulnerability” to bipolar illness, which means that they are more prone to developing the disorder. However, this is not the only factor in determining whether a person will become ill. Environmental factors such as stressful life events also appear to play a role in that they can lead to the onset of the illness or “trigger” a relapse of symptoms.
Family, twin and adoption studies show that bipolar disorder can run in families although not everyone with a family history will develop this disorder. People who have first-degree relatives with a mood disorder are more likely to have a mood disorder. For example, a person with one parent who has bipolar has a 15 to 30% risk for developing the disorder.
It is important to remember that what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another.
A person’s coping skills or their “resiliency” will also impact on how stressful the event is to that person.
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Why Theres More To Borderline Personality Disorder Risk Than Just Genes
Even though there are strong genetic ties in the development of BPD, thats not the entire story. John Oldham, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the author of the classic personality-type guidebook The New Personality Self-Portrait, talks to families about the interplay between genes and the environment. Think of two men who both have family histories of type 2 diabetes and have exactly the same genetic risk, he says. One is highly active and watches his diet and never develops diabetes. The other never exercises, becomes overweight, and thus develops diabetes. The predisposing risk is not enough alone, but the right environment will turn on those genes and lead to the disease, he says. This is also true of BPD.
There are some eventual results of a genetic predisposition to develop the condition. Once its been turned on by repetitive or continued stress because of bad luck or an unsupportive environment, its hard to get back on track, continues Dr. Oldham. While this can be chronic invalidation at home, its often a traumatic event physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect that pulls the trigger. One systematic review of 10 studies in 2018 found that maltreatment during childhood was a risk factor for developing BPD symptoms. Another new study in 2018 linked childhood sexual abuse to BPD.
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How A Person With Bipolar Thinks
Unlike people who have depression, bipolar people experience extreme mood swings. Their moods flip back and forth between two opposite poles. These mood swings are usually very wide, and even in the middle of one extreme, the person can experience bursts of the other extreme. Mania is what most people think of when they hear the word bipolar. Its the polar opposite to depression. People in the middle of a manic episode feel euphoric and on top of the world. They have boundless energy and often have bizarre, unhealthy ideas for things they should do. Like someone who is depressed, they might have trouble sleeping, eating, and functioning, but in much more extreme ways..
What Are The Side Effects Of Bipolar Disorder Medications
Side effects of bipolar disorder medications are common and vary by medication. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about what you can expect when taking certain medications. Its also important to tell them if youre experiencing side effects.
Never stop taking your medication unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. Abruptly stopping medication can cause severe side effects and trigger severe episodes.
The most common side effects of bipolar disorder medications include:
- Akathisia feelings of restlessness and agitation with a compelling need to move, rock or pace.
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