Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem.
You can get bipolar disorder with or without the risk factors listed below. But the more you have, the greater your chances of getting it. If you have many risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.
This health problem can run in families. It is likely genetic. It is not caused by one specific gene. It is caused by many genes that act together.
Having other mental health problems, such as depression, can also raise your risk.
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Bipolar disorder in adults. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
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Fusar-Poli P, Bechdolf A, Borgwardt S. Mapping vulnerability to bipolar disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2012;37(3):170-184.
Management of bipolar disorder in adults. US Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: https://www.healthquality.va.gov/bipolar/bd_305_full.pdf. Published May 2010. Accessed September 26, 2018.
Salvadore G, Drevets WC, Henter ID, Zarate CA, Manji HK. Early intervention in Bipolar Disorder, Part II: Therapeutics. Early Interv Psychiatry. 2008;2(3):136-146.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated 9/25/2018
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