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Is Bipolar Hereditary?


For years, researchers have asked the question, "is bipolar hereditary"? And, though they have always suspected that it was, now they have proof.

Determining Heredity Influences On Bipolar Disorder Through Observation

In the past, proof has only been obtained through indirect observance. For example, a child born where at least one of the two parents is bipolar has twice the chance of being diagnosed as bipolar than a child of parents without that condition. If both of your parents have some form of bipolar, your chances of having it are between 50 to 70 percent.

Is Bipolar Disorder Hereditary? A Personal Viewpoint.


Young teenage girl giving a personal testimony about the question "is bipolar hereditary?" and how she is dealing with issues caused by her own bipolar disorder.

Observation shows that any kind of familial relationship is a factor - even secondary ones. For example, if an aunt, cousin, or even a second cousin has bipolar, your chances of developing it are relatively low. If you have a sibling who has it, your chances of developing it are a bit higher. If one or more grandparents have it, your odds go up a little higher. And if either of your parents have it, your chances of developing it are the greatest.

Because of coincidences like these, it has been really hard for researchers to avoid coming to the conclusion that heredity definitely plays a role in the development of manic depressive illness or bipolar disease as well as other mental health
illnesses.

How Potential Parents Look At Bipolar Hereditary Issues

The question of is bipolar hereditary, affects many couples, where one or both has bipolar, who would like to have kids but are worried about the possibility of their children having bipolar disorder - because a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is life changing.

In fact, a prime cause for the worry is the increased medical attention and costs that a child diagnosed with bipolar will incur. The question is also important because an unusually high number of people suffering from bipolar disease (at least 10% and possibly as high as 20%) eventually commit suicide. And many more turn to drugs and other controlled substances. Ultimately, the question comes down to, how much do you really want to bring a child into this world if the chance is he is likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Since the rates of bipolar disorder between children where one or both of their parents suffer from the illness is significantly greater than that of the general population, it makes sense that partners would be concerned before conceiving a child.

Does A Test Exist To Determine Your Bipolar Susceptibility?

Researchers at Indiana University are now working on developing a genetic test that can provide a couple with accurate estimates on the chances of their child developing bipolar. Optimistic estimates have the test being available to the general public in about five years time.

It is also good to keep in mind, however, that just because your genes show a disposition to the disease, does not definitively mean that you will develop it.

Although there is still quite a bit that we don't know about bipolar, gradually scientists are beginning to break the code of who is at risk and of what role the various genes play in the process.

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder can be diagnosed as early as 5, it doesn't usually manifest itself until sometime between 20 and 30 years old. Once it does manifest itself, however, you will probably have it the rest of your life.

The Genes That Control Bipolar Disorder

Odds are that you have not yet heard of the ANK3 and the CACNA1C genes. Because of the Human Genome Project, researchers have been making all sorts of astounding discoveries regarding genes, how they impact diseases, and how they impact other physical and mental traits as well.

In regards to bipolar disorder and possibly other mental diseases, researchers have discovered that it is something in these two genes that primarily control if we will get bipolar illness or not.

All humans have these two genes. But, obviously, everyone does not have bipolar illness. So, what determines who gets it and who doesn't? And the answer is that we don't know. The working theory, however, is that for some reason the flow of calcium ions and sodium into and out of neurons of the brain are the key. And, this makes sense because just about all of the brain processes are communicated using electrical signals between cells.

So, it stands to reason that if something where to disrupt this communication, brain related function would be impacted. But, even though researchers don't have a definitive answer to why some people get bipolar and others don't, the discovery of these two genes is already a milestone in helping to better understand the illness. And, undoubtedly, the continue research on people with bipolar disorder will help to speed the discovery of a cure for the illness.

You can find more about bipolar and heredity at the CNN website.

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