Risk factors for bipolar disorder are conditions or hereditary dispositions that increases an individual’s likelihood of developing bipolar disorder. The more risk factors that a person has, the greater their likelihood of contracting this disease is. Genetics is the one of the largest risk factors for bipolar disorder. An individual who has a blood relative who suffers from bipolar disorder is four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than a person who does not have such a relative. The statistics are similar for those who have relatives who suffer from minor to major depression.

Bipolar disorder usually develops in individuals between the ages of 16 to 24. It is thought by the medical community that bipolar disorder may also develop as a person’s response to stressful or major life changes, such as the death of a loved one or extended periods of stress. Scientific studies are currently underway to determine the role that drug and alcohol abuse play as a bipolar disorder risk factor.

Although doctors are unsure as to why, certain diagnosed childhood and adolescent ailments may lead to the development of bipolar disorder in an individual later in adolescence or in young adulthood. These ailments in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, social phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, and physical health problems, such as obesity.

Different types of medications, such as those for corticosteroids and certain thyroid conditions, and certain medical conditions can present with symptoms that similar to that of bipolar disorders. These potential causes for concern should be eliminated before the official diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made. Certain factors, such as an individual’s gender and birth order, may also place them at an elevated risk for the development of bipolar disorder. On average, women tend to have higher instances of cyclothemia and rapid mindset cycling that are associated with this disorder.

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