What causes bipolar

The simple answer to the above question is that no one knows exactly who the bipolar culprit is.  It is without question that it has a genetic component, but no one knows exactly what gene, or genes, or neurotransmitters or what.  It does appear to be an imbalance in the body’s regulatory functions.

The most current model is something called the diathesis-stress model.  It says that people have certain vulnerabilities called diathesis towards bipolar disorder.  These pre-dispositions can either be stronger or weaker.  The strength of the vulnerability may be different from person to person.  For this vulnerability to become activated it must interact with a stress strong enough to activate it.  Those with more vulnerability react to lesser stress.  Those with less vulnerability need to experience more stress before the bipolar will be activated.

The figures below give you some idea of your risks for inheriting the vulnerabilites for bipolar:

  • General Population 1%
  • Aunt or uncle 3-7%
  • Siblings 15-25%
  • One parent 15-30%
  • Both parents 50-75%
  • Identical twins 70%

Some food for thought.

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