Is Bipolar Disorder A Single Condition
Rather than just being one disorder, some experts have proposed that bipolar disorder is a group of related mood disorders, sometimes called bipolar spectrum disorders.
Since symptoms of bipolar disorder overlap with many other conditions and experiences such as side effects of using certain drugs its not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed or to have several diagnoses over a lifetime.
So while bipolar disorder tends to follow a typical disease course of intense shifts in mood and energy, individual symptoms vary widely and dont fit neatly into one box.
For some people living with bipolar disorder, low mood can be the core symptom, while in others, it may be an elevated mood with excessive energy.
About of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are likely to experience psychosis.
Research suggests that 82.9% of people with bipolar disorder may experience more severe symptoms of the condition, the highest rate among all mood disorders.
According to the data, the more severe bipolar disorder symptoms may cause serious impairment, characterized as intense shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels affecting a persons ability to perform everyday tasks.
Bipolar disorder appears to share a genetic link with related mental health conditions. This means that other treatable conditions may also develop in a person with bipolar disorder.
Conditions that can sometimes co-occur with bipolar disorder include:
- anxiety disorders
How Do I Know If My Parent Has Bipolar Disorder
A diagnosis is made based on the persons symptoms and experiences.
You may see some signs of bipolar disorder in your parent, but only a mental health professional can rule out whether other conditions are causing their symptoms and confirm a bipolar disorder diagnosis.
Research shows family members and friends of people with bipolar disorder often notice small changes in the person before a formal diagnosis is made.
Symptoms are different for every person with bipolar disorder. General symptoms often include:
- extreme shifts in mood
- nontypical or impulsive behaviors at home
Challenging The Inevitability Of Inherited Mental Illness
With a family history that famously includes depression, addiction, eating disorders and seven suicides including her grandfather Ernest Hemingway and her sister Margaux actress and writer Mariel Hemingway doesnt try to deny that mental health issues run in her family. She repeatedly her family history to advocate for mental health and to help others affected by mental illness feel less alone.
And, of course, they arent alone. Mental health issues are prevalent in many families, making it natural for some individuals to wonder or worry about the inherited risks of developing mental health problems. Take the common mental health issue of depression, for example. The Stanford University School of Medicine estimates that about 10% of people in the United States will experience major depression at some point during their lifetime. People with a family history of depression have a two to three times greater risk of developing depression than does the average person, however.
A 2014 meta-analysis of 33 studies examined the familial health risk of severe mental illness. The results, published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, found that offspring of parents with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder had a 1 in 3 chance of developing one of those illnesses by adulthood more than twice the risk for the control offspring of parents without severe mental illness.
Is mental illness hereditary?
Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic
Bipolar disorder is one of the most heritable mental health conditions, with family history being a significant risk factor.
Individuals who have a first-degree relative with bipolar disorder have an increased risk. Research shows that children who have a parent with bipolar disorder are 10 times more likely to develop the condition.
Though there are challenges, researchers continue to explore the association between genetics and bipolar disorder.
Problems with calcium signaling are associated with the condition. Genes such as CACNA1C and ANK3, which contribute to the regulation of calcium, may play a role, though this is still unclear.
Other possible gene connections include Neuregulin 1 and G72/30. They are tied to dopamine and serotonin pathways. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters involved in communication between nerve cells. Both neurotransmitters are associated with mood regulation.
Although it’s clear that there is a strong genetic component in the development of bipolar disorder, the complexities continue to be explored.
Are You Affected By This
- Samaritans provides emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or thoughts of suicide
- Its number is 116 123 and is free to call and will not appear on a phone bill
- Rethink Mental Illness has more than 200 mental health services and 150 support groups across England.
- Its number is 0300 5000 927
“Mental health disorders are not about a single gene but about a collection of genes. We need to start thinking about this as a cumulative loading of genetics.”
The work at KCL is still in its early stages. But it has been found there are 108 genes with changes in people with schizophrenia. Now, nine genes have been found across those with depression, and 20 in people who have bipolar disorder. There are almost certainly many more still to find and scientists say many of these genes will be shared across the different conditions.
Making sense of my genetic legacy is important, because it allows me to break away from the feelings of inevitability that depression gives you. Is this meant to happen? Am I meant to get over this? Is this bigger than me?
“Evidence from the last few years also suggests that many mental disorders share common genetic risk factors – for instance, genetic variation associated with schizophrenia overlaps with both depression and bipolar disorder,” says Lewis.
Siblings can have very different outcomes. Twins Lucy and Jonny have a bipolar mother. Jonny has also suffered from the condition, while Lucy has not.
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Generation To Generation Family Members Observe And Reflect On Patterns Of Bipolar
For some families, bipolar disorder runs through the generations as invariably as freckles or cleft chins appear in other family trees. Even so, looking for your familys source of bipolar disorder can be a little like searching for the headwaters of the Nile. You start backtracking through the generations and suddenly realize that the quirky behavior you once brushed aside as your grandmothers eccentricity was really a signpost.
If only you had recognized her outlandishness or rage for what it wasthe genetic source of your own bipolar disorder. You might have been more tolerant of her. Perhaps you wouldnt have distanced yourself so much. At the very least, you might have asked some questions.
Unfortunately, many people never think to connect the dots in their familys history of wellness until the day a family member is diagnosed with bipolar. Suddenly, it hits like a ton of brickseverything falls into place. As one mother describes it, it wasnt until her son was diagnosed that she recognized her own illness. Oh my gosh, thats whats the matter with me!
This experience was related in one way or another by several individuals interviewed for this story. Jolted by the diagnosis of a child or a grandchild, an older family member may reluctantly acknowledge the symptoms as his or her own. Sometimes, it comes as a bolt of self-recognition other times, its a case of reluctant consent, a muttered admission, Yes, thats me.
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Does This Mean Im Going To Have Bipolar Disorder Or My Kids
If your parent has bipolar disorder, it does not mean you or your children will definitively have the condition too.
According to a 2018 review of research on bipolar disorder, there are no individual genes linked to the condition. Bipolar disorder does not follow a Mendelian pattern of inheritance, researchers note. That means you dont get it directly from a parent as you might your hair or eye color.
However, there is a of also having it. This is about seven times higher than the chances in the general population.
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Lack Of Definitive Genetic Evidence
Although some diseases are considered hereditary, very few have specific genetic evidence. The disease with perhaps the most definitive genetic pattern is breast and ovarian cancer.
In the 1990s researchers identified two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are known to carry breast and/or ovarian cancer. When a woman gets breast or ovarian cancer, her female relatives can be tested to see if they are carrying these genes that often predict cancer.
With bipolar, we are not so fortunate, a similar gene has not been identified. Although there is genetic testing in mental health, it is currently used to identify treatment options and not to diagnose disease. However, scientists are working on genetic testing for bipolar disorder.
Schizophrenia Is Tough To Nail Down Genetically
One of the hardest parts about determining whether schizophrenia is inherited from your mother or father is that scientists are having trouble distinguishing the genes where the disease originates. In fact, a study has concluded that schizophrenia is actually eight different genetic disorders. The study further concluded that environmental factors can be almost as important as genetic factors in the development of the disorder.
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The Genetics Of Bipolar Disorder
Though it runs in families, it is harder to define specific genetic risk factors. Studies looking at the genetics of bipolar disorder have failed to find a single gene which is causative Rather, it appears that there are several chromosomal regions with many genes each of which has a small effect in raising the susceptibility to the disorder.
Variants in genes such as ANK3, CACNA1C, NCAN, ODZ4 and are thought to increase susceptibility but explain only a very small percentage of the genetic risk. In addition, the majority of people with these “at-risk alleles” do not have bipolar disorder.
What Should I Consider If I Want To Start A Family
If you have a mental illness, and youre thinking of starting a family, you could talk to a professional genetics counsellor.
Genetic counsellors work directly with patients and families. They can give specialist advice and information to people who have relatives with certain health conditions.
If you want to speak to a genetic counsellor, you will need to be referred by a doctor. So, you should speak to your GP or psychiatrist.
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Does Bipolar Disorder Skip A Generation
If the answer to the question is bipolar disorder genetic is likely yes, then the next question is, can it skip a generation?
The answer to this question is also thought to be most likely yes. Experts do believe that bipolar disorder can skip generations. Its also thought that a combination of environment, childhood nurturing, and genetic makeup can all increase the chance of developing bipolar disorder.
People can either acquire bipolar disorder as a genetic predisposition or as the result of environmental triggers, but typically both nature and nature are involved in its development. Treatment for bipolar disorder includes therapy and medication management.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bipolar
- Some of the depressive symptoms of bipolar include low self-esteem, lack of energy, feeling worthless, and in worst cases, suicidal thoughts.
- Bipolar disorder can cause extreme mood swings from very high to very low
- Another symptom of those with bipolar may include psychotic events. These symptoms include hearing and seeing things that seem real, although they dont exist.
- Manic episodes typically involve either an irritable or elevated mood, periods of over-activity, swift speech, inflated self-esteem or overly confident, and decreased requirement for sleep.
- Those who suffer from manic episodes will have symptoms like impulsive behavior, agitation, excitement, and increased feelings of energy.
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Do You Inherit Your Parent’s Mental Illness
In the battle to find what causes mental illness, scientists are increasingly looking at genetic factors. For James Longman – whose father killed himself after suffering from schizophrenia – it’s a very personal question.
I’m often told I look like my dad, that I have his mannerisms and some of his habits. It’s something I take pride in. But it’s also something that worries me because he had schizophrenia, and when I was nine, he took his own life.
After a particularly bad two-week episode, he set fire to his flat in London, and threw himself out of a window.
Some of the details of his life and death have only become clear while looking into this story. Multiple suicide attempts walking around London in just a bathrobe hearing voices. They are details that contrast so strongly with the man I remember from when he was well – happy, creative and funny.
Twenty years earlier, his own father – my grandfather – had shot himself after finding out he had cancer. I also have other family with mental health issues. Now in my twenties I sometimes struggle with depression. So I naturally think – is this something that runs in my family?
Find out more
At King’s College London , researchers have been looking into the genetics of mental health.
Bipolar Disorder Genetics: From My Grandmother To Me
Theres a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder. Researchers have already shown that bipolar disorder can be passed from generation to generation.
When diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, my doctor was curious as to who could have passed the bipolar gene down to me. In my immediate family, no one showed symptoms of bipolar disorder. Looking deeper into my family history, it became apparent that my grandmother had bipolar disorder. Her story made me think about the differences between what our lives are like living with bipolar.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Passed Genetically
Just like obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, and many other physical and mental health conditions, its likely that some people might be more genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder than others.
Genetic predispositions or susceptibility are based on genetic makeup that increases the likelihood of developing a particular disease. Some research has indeed linked an identifiable familial component to the psychiatric disorder.
Similar to the discovery that BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, as we try to determine is bipolar disorder genetic, we must explore potential connections between certain candidate genes or genetic makeup and the condition itself.
Still, we dont truly understand the exact genetic variation of bipolar disorder that might be inherited. Thus, our complete understanding of bipolar hereditary is still developing.
For those wondering is bipolar hereditary, the following statistics can shed some light when trying to determine the likelihood of someone having bipolar disorder:
- One parent has bipolar disorder = child has a 10% 25% chance of developing it
- Both parents have bipolar disorder = child has a 10% 50% chance of developing it
- Non-identical twin has bipolar disorder = sibling has a 10% 25% chance of developing it
- Identical twin has bipolar disorder = 40% 70% chance of developing it
Greatest Heredity From Mother
Using various Norwegian registeries, such as the Birth Registry, the Prescription Registry and the Patient Registry, she linked data from parents and children from the 1960s to the present day. Solberg found a clear connection between the parents’ ADHD diagnosis and the children’s diagnoses, which confirms previous findings. Absolutely most at risk were sons with parents who were both diagnosed with ADHD:
– 40 percent of these boys are themselves diagnosed with the condition, says Solberg.
The greatest inheritance was from the mother to the children. Compared with if only the father had ADHD, there was a higher risk of getting the diagnosis if only the mother had the diagnosis.
– A hypothesis is that an ADHD diagnosis in the mother can affect the upbringing environment to a greater extent than an ADHD diagnosis in the father, says Solberg.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Bipolar Disorder
Theres no blood test or medical test for bipolar disorder. To diagnose bipolar, a mental health doctor meets with you. They ask questions about your moods, thoughts, feelings, and health. They ask about how youre doing in your life and problems youre having. They listen and talk with you, and with your parent. They also check for other conditions that can cause mood symptoms. This can take a few visits.
If a doctor finds that you have bipolar, they will talk more about it with you. They will explain the treatment plan that can help you.
Can Lifestyle Habits Increase The Risk Of Bipolar Disorder
Lack of sleep increases the risk of having an episode of mania in someone with bipolar disorder. In addition, antidepressants, particularly when taken as the only medication, may also trigger a switch into a manic state.
Excessive use of alcohol or drugs can also trigger bipolar symptoms. Research has shown that about 50% of bipolar sufferers have a substance abuse or alcohol problem. Sufferers often use alcohol or drugs in an effort to reduce unpleasant feelings during low mood periods, or as part of the recklessness and impulsivity associated with manic highs.
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Is Schizophrenia Inherited From Your Mother Or Father
Research long ago concluded that schizophrenia was in some ways passed down genetically. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health found that having a relative diagnosed with schizophrenia can raise your chance of being diagnosed with schizophrenia by 10 percent. There is an unmistakable link between the hereditary genetic makeup passed down from your parents and developing schizophrenia, but which side of the family does schizophrenia come from?