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Mental Health

Bipolar Disorder and Genetics

12/27/2007

Question:

If I get my girlfriend pregnet and I am bipolar will the kid be bipolar? Please let me know.

Answer:

Thank you for your excellent question. Although bipolar disorder is often inherited, keep in mind two things:

1) "Genes do not equal destiny." All because other family members have a disease, it doesn't mean 100% that a child will have it, it just increases the probability.

2) Even though the cause of bipolar disorder is probably biological, its course (or how it develops over time) is influenced in positive and negative ways by environmental events (e.g., home life, school, friends, therapy, medications, etc.).

I hope this answer is helpful.

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Response by:

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