A parent with bipolar disorder may wonder if they’ve passed along the disease to their children. Will a son or daughter have to experience some of the same challenges? Some researchers say that bipolar disorder can be hereditary although the risk is not typically high.
It’s not an absolute that a bipolar parent will have a child with bipolar disorder. The risk can be higher due to the genetics factor, which weighs in about 75 to 80 percent. Besides heredity there are other factors can come in to play though such as chronic medical illnesses and stress, according to researchers.
The risk can depend on a mix of genetics, environment and psychological components. Researchers have not yet pinpointed the mix of internal and external factors that could spark manic depression.
So what is the hereditary risk of a bipolar parent having a bipolar child? The risk is between 4 percent and 15 percent for a child with one parent with bipolar disorder. On the other hand the risk is zero to two percent for families where the neither parent has the disease.
There are ways to help a possibly predisposed child not develop bipolar disorder. A child should have a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Life stresses and major events can cause an onset of mania or depression. A stable home life is important.
It is important to know that anyone can develop manic depression and it can manifest at any age. Be mindful of the symptoms, but aware that even when there’s a hereditary risk there is typically a greater chance that an individual won’t develop manic depression than the chance that they will.