A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop bipolar disorder with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing bipolar disorder. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for bipolar disorder include:
Bipolar disorder can run in families. There is a high likelihood that there is a genetic component to this disorder. Eighty to ninety percent of individuals with bipolar disorder have a relative with either
or bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is not caused by one specific gene. It is caused by many genes that act together.
Medicines and conditions—Some medicines (such as corticosteroids, cancer medicines), several medical conditions (such as thyroid disease, vitamin deficiencies, end-stage renal disease), and certain neurological diseases (such as
Parkinson's syndrome, dementia) may present with features of bipolar disorder. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made only when none of these conditions are present.
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Bipolar disorder. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml. Updated 2008. Accessed October 12, 2012.
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Bipolar Disorder: A Clinician’s Guide to Biological Treatments. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.; 2009: 107-152.
Fusar-Poli P, et al. Mapping vulnerability to bipolar disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies.
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Last reviewed September 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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