is bipolar disorder genetic?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/9/2010 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi I'm just curious, is Bipolar disorder genetic? Are there steps to take to protect my kids?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2896
   Posted 1/9/2010 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I've read on many sites that it is, but I don't know what you can do except talk to them and be involved in their lives.  I worry about my son a lot because his father is probably bipolar 1, never sought help or treatment though.  So far, so good.  He is 2 yrs old, so I try to tell him "I love you when I'm sad.  I love you when I'm crabby." etc.  I try to apologize when I am to short with him.  And tell him that it's not his fault, that there is something wrong in my brain.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/9/2010 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you really want to tell a 2 year old that "something is wrong with mommies brain?" That seems like it may have another set of ramifications down the kids are 3 and 4, and I dont want them growing up thinking "something is wrong with mommy" until they have a little better understanding of what it is...

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/9/2010 11:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi suffering_husband,

Welcome to HealingWell.

Bipolar is believed to be genetic. See here:

I'm not sure what you mean by "protect" your children. From developing the disorder? From someone suffering from this disorder? That's unclear.

Have a look, incidentally, at our "welcome" post:

No, you cannot tell a 2 year old something is wrong with mommy's brain, but you can reassure your children that ALL people experience moods, and that is okay. Sometimes we're happy, sometimes sad, but no matter what their parent's mood, they are loved. There's no need, at this stage, to go into the whys and wherefores.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar and Depression Forums
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 185
   Posted 1/9/2010 11:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes it's genetic.  My sister and cousin have been diagnosed bipolar.  I'm 100% certain my paternal grandmother was but that was at a time where they just gave you drugs for whatever and sent you on your way.  So 3 that I know of.
I have 2 kids and when I see some behavior that I recognize that COULD be a symptom I freak.  The guilt can be unbearable.  I would happily give my life for my kids in a split second and if I have passed this on to them I will never forgive myself.
I guess the good side though, is that I'll be able to recognize it and give them the help they need long before they need to suffer like I did.
Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder (and about a dozen other things)
300mg Lamictal
90mg Pamalor
60mg Prevacid RIP
2mg Niravam (Xanax)

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