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Thursday, September 1, 2016
Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)
Contagiousness of Bipolar Dsiorder
Can bipolar disorder be passed around? As in is it contagious?
Hello and thank you for your excellent question. Currently, there is no evidence that bipolar disorder can be "passed around or is contagious" like a common cold. In terms of what one could call "behavioral contagion," a person's bipolar symptoms can sometimes be copied by another person who doesn't really have bipolar disorder so it seems like it is "passed around." Additionally, a person's bipolar symptoms can sometimes trigger bipolar symptoms in a person who does have bipolar disorder, but there is no evidence that bipolar disorder can be transmitted like a bug, germ or infection, etc. There is, however, substantial evidence that bipolar disorder is genetic and can be passed-down through generations within families via one's genes.
Hope this answer helps. Best wishes.
Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University