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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Contagiousness of Bipolar Dsiorder

03/16/2006

Question:

Can bipolar disorder be passed around? As in is it contagious?

Answer:

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.

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Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University