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exactly how genetic is bipolar?


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According to this, if one parent has bipolar, there's around a 10% chance you'll have it as well, though I have no idea if that's accurate as there are no sources cited in the link. That probably doesn't help, though. Are you seeing a doctor or medical professional for treatment? I ask because being under their supervision for an extended period of time so they can properly observe the full picture of your symptoms is probably the best way to determine what's actually going on, I would imagine. For what it's worth, my dad has BP 1 and so do I. So, it happens, BP does run in families, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's happened to you.

Edited by hagar running
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I don't really know. Neither of my parents had it, but one of each of their parents did.

 

I have a twin sister. I think that there's a 50/50 shot that she's got it as well, which was actually lower than I expected. I did read that on one of the freaking abbreviated mental health sites, N something or other organization. I know the combination of letters, but I can't remember what order that they go in. I found it to be a reputable source.

 

I wish I knew what the case was with parents. Sorry.

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No idea on the genetics, buuuuut, just wanted to point out:

 

Mood swinging (rapid, throughout the day, kinda on the responsive end of things, etc.) can be connected to ADHD as well.  To the point that I have seen many an (ignorant) ADHDer wonder if their daily ups and downs meant that they had bipolar disorder as well.

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No idea on the genetics, buuuuut, just wanted to point out:

Mood swinging (rapid, throughout the day, kinda on the responsive end of things, etc.) can be connected to ADHD as well. To the point that I have seen many an (ignorant) ADHDer wonder if their daily ups and downs meant that they had bipolar disorder as well.

hmmm thats interesting. i think that even though i also have bpd that the mood swings may be from adhd rater than bipolar
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It is definitely genetic to some degree, I think research is still ongoing. But my mom is bipolar, her sister was paranoid schizophrenic, her other sister has Avoidant Personality Disorder, and her 4th sister has MDD. All 4 of my grandmother's daughters ended up with mental illness, and my mom suspects mental illness ran in her dad's side of the family. He was an alcoholic, and was most likely self-medicating something underlying.

 

Anyway didn't mean to go off on a tangent, but yes it is definitely genetic. I ended up bipolar like my mom, but my sister didn't. She has depression episodes though. We don't know about my brother. He lives in some other state and changed his name, or so I've been told.

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I can't tell you exactly how genetic it is, and I don't think anyone else can, either, not even the experts in the field. My paternal grandmother had diagnosed bipolar disorder, and I suspect my father had some sort of mood disorder, but the never sought any form of psychiatric evaluation or help, so it's impossible to say.

 

What interests me is the component of the disease that looks more and more as if it's triggered-as if some people can have the genetic predisposition but never become symptomatic, because their lives never give them the right stressor. And I'm particularly interested to know whether kids who grow up in home where one or more of the parents have a mood disorder are more likely to become sick themselves, because of the exposure they get to the instability in their childhood homes. To me that's another kind of inheritance, a nurture rather than nature form of passing on the disease.

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Take a look at this study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15124146.  According to their results, it appears that about 21% of first degree relatives are dx with BPI, BPII or BP NOS.  However, your "chances" also depend on the rest of your family tree.

 

In the end, I think only a pdoc can dx you.

Edited by Phoenix_Rising
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From a personal standpoint?   Probably a fair bit of it.  Nothing in the family other than my bipolar has been officially diagnosed, but most of my relatives more than likely have some form of undiagnosed mental illness.  (I've seen some family members who would probably be the poster children for OCD, Borderline, GAD, etc, but nobody other than myself has sought help, because of the way the family is.)   And mood swings can definitely come with various flavors of MI or even other physiological sources, so it could be

 

As far as I've seen from some of the studies published and from what I've learned thus far in my Genetics class, the best semi-scientific answer I can really give would be that the researchers are finding places on certain chromosomes where certain pieces of the DNA may have variations that can cause a predisposition for certain mental illnesses and places where portions of the chromosome may have been changed or rearranged with pieces of another chromosome, but the keyword here would be "predisposition" - there can be portions of your genes that make you more likely to have some form of mental illness, but it's not the "You have this gene, you WILL have bipolar.  Period." type of situation.   (If you've heard of the BRCA genes in the news when they mention breast cancer, it's a very similar concept - the gene means you have a higher chance of developing it, but it doesn't mean you automatically will.)

 

Most of the studies are still ongoing and most of them seem to have a fairly wide range of theories on where the genes are, what they control specifically, and how often they're passed on and how they express themselves. 

 

This article from the NY Times explains a little of some of the more recent findings and it isn't bogged down with the ponderous terminology -

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/health/study-finds-genetic-risk-factors-shared-by-5-psychiatric-disorders.html?_r=0

 

Science Daily has another article about it here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010151422.htm

 

If anyone wants to see some of the more scientfic articles, I can dig through my bookmarks later and toss them up here later.   They're interesting to sift through, but the amount of jargon in them makes them a bit mind-numbing.

 

(Sorry for the wall of text, but I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to Genetics and I tend to go a little nuts with my enthusiasm.  Obvious disclaimer is that I'm not a doctor, nurse, psychologist, or an actual scientist, I'm just a geek.)
 

Edited by Kaashii
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For me, one of my parents possibly has it but has never been diagnosed, but on one side, his/her mother, uncle, grandmother, great-grandmother, even great-great-grandmother... etc... all have/had severe manifestations of bipolar. My grandmother is the only one of that list to receive treatment and be consistently medicated for a long period of time.

So in my case it's quite genetic, but I've known people who haven't had such a strong genetic factor who were also bipolar.

Edited by brokenchina
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I don't know, honestly. I've read articles in the past that suggest there are genetic links but I can't make any definitive statements. I can say anecdotally that my maternal half uncle is Schizophrenic, my sister suffers from GAD and Trichotillomania, and depression (possibly BP?) and substance abuse issues run on both sides of my family.

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For me it's probably genetic. My birth mother probably has it but has not been diagnosed. Her psychiatrist says she is perfectly sane. HA. It's like "Have you met the woman!?" She has extreme mood swings and delusions. 

Edited by Bipolar_Flower
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I think its a combo of genetics, enviorment, and ect.

 

My maternal grandmother had some mood disorder(but it got better with age, learned this info from my mom, but she was verbaly abused by my great grandmother), my grandfather was an alchaolic and I suspect had PTSD(he never knew if he shot a guy or not in Korea, I never realy knew him) my aunt has something in the MI spectrum, my uncle has learning disabilitys, my mother somehow missed the boat on this one

 

My paternal grandmother was a closet alhaholic for god knows how long, one of my uncles had a serious problem with the drinking, and my dad can go from 0-100 in 3 seconds and back down 100-0 in the next six. I suspect its some form of undiagnosed bipolar, he also has learning dificultys. But with him it might have been triggered by trauma (his sire left my grandmother when he was a boy, but he rembers being forced to stand with textbooks in both hands arms outstreached for hours)

 

But thats just my family and me. I think genetics play a role but does chemestry 'turn' the geans 'on' where they otherwise would have been sleeping? Does trama bring it on? Sudden trama or long term tramua? Maybe its all of this and a bit more. I hope scince will be able to tell us in the future.

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My great aunt had BP1. My grandmother had pretty severe OCD and some stuff that could be BP2-ish. If I have BP2, I bet my mom does too, because her crazy smells just like mine (she's just undiagnosed and medicated by a GP for depression/anxiety). My dad flies into random anxiety rages. I'm pretty confident that this lot was handed to me genetically.

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For me, it's definitely genetic. Most people in my family have either been diagnosed with a mood disorder or commit suicide. So, it runs heavy on both sides of my family. Both me and my sister have diagnosed bipolar disorder. Me, my uncle and my cousin have diagnosed schizophrenic disorders. I just got the best of both worlds in schizoaffective.

 

I think mental illness can be genetic just as any other physical disease can. It can also crop up out of nowhere, like in Melissa's case. 

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My mother's side of the family has a lot of MI, specifically Bipolar and depression.  My mother has depression and anxiety issues, her sister has depression, her sister's daughter (my cousin) has BP I, and an aunt on that side of the family is also VERY Bipolar.  My father's side does not have any mental illness as far as I know.  So I guess in my case it's probably genetic.

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