We live in a world where mental disorders are becoming more prevalent than ever, with one of the most common ones being bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression since one of its key symptoms is extreme mood swings.
Even though 4.4% adults in America are affected by it, researchers are claiming that even children and teenagers are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, proving that it can happen to anyone at any age.
Even though it’s unclear what the real cause behind this condition could be, several studies have shown that both genetic and environmental factors could contribute to the onset of bipolar disorder.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder are often characterized as unpredictable because they can swing between extreme depression to manic episodes where they act impulsively and feel restless.
One of the most debated topics among mental health experts is whether BPD is hereditary or environmental. While it’s easier to determine the hereditary factor for other health conditions like cancer and type 1 diabetes since scientists know the exact genes that cause them, it’s not so easy to track down the exact chemical dysfunction that leads to bipolar disorder.
Some contest that there is no one gene associated with the condition. Instead, it’s a set of different genes that contribute to it. A study also found that people whose parents or siblings have the disorder are at a 35% risk of developing it too at some point in their lives. However, if the number of affected family members is more than one, this risk increases to 75%.
If you do have bipolar disorder, the chances of children getting it to can be around 10% although some people can develop it even if none of their family members have it. But besides the genetic aspect of it, bipolar disorder can also have a host of other causes including substance abuse.
While there is no solid evidence that excessive use of alcohol or drugs can cause BPD, studies have shown that substance abuse can make the condition worse. According to a 2004 study, out of the 4,310 people that received treatment for the disorder, almost 30% had a history of substance abuse. This, when combined with the heredity factor, can lead up to a much greater risk of developing the condition.
Other medical conditions like depression anxiety and PTSD can also contribute to the risk of BPD. A 2016 paper also showed that people who suffered from childhood emotional trauma were more likely to develop bipolar than those who had a normal childhood.