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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Bipolar Disorder and Genetics

10/24/2005

Question:

I have heard that bipolar disorder will skip generations, which I don`t believe. What are the chances that if a mother is diagnosed with the disorder, the daughter could have the syptoms also.

Answer:

Hello and thank you for your excellent question.

Regarding skipping generations, although I do not know of any published studies, clinically I have heard of grandparents having the disorder, their children not having it, and their grandchildren developing it. It probably occurs less than 10%.

Quoting from Dr. Mary Fristad`s excellent book about childhood bipolar disorder, "Raising a Moody Child":

"If one parent has a mood disorder (bipolar or depression), the couples` children have a 27% chance of developing a mood disorder. That risk increases to 74% if both parents have a mood disorder."

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes.

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Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University