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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Bipolar Disorder and Attachment to Genetics

02/05/2007

Question:

My stepson`s mother is bipolar,We were wondering if it could be past on to him. He is 6 yrs old and cries all the time for no reason,He tries to control every one around him. He is also very energetic, can't keep still,and talks alot.You cant play around with him, he will get so mad, ball up his fist and his face turns so red. We just dont know what to do, or what might be wrong.

Answer:

Hello and thank you for your question.

As bipolar disorder is highly genetic, yes it is POSSIBLE that your stepson COULD have bipolar disorder. However, the ONLY way to find out if someone has bipolar or any psychiatric disorder is to get a comprehensive and detailed psychological assessment from a trained mental health professional. I would suggest calling your local university, community mental health center, or National Association of Mentally Ill chapter to ask for names, locations and phone numbers of mental health professional who have expertise in this area.

Keep in mind two things:

1) "Genes do not equal destiny." Just because other family members have a disease, it doesn't mean 100% that a child will have it, it just increases the probability.

2) Even though the cause of bipolar disorder is probably biological, its course (or how it develops overtime) is influenced in positive and negative ways by environmental events (e.g., home life, school, friends, therapy, medications etc).

I hope this answer is helpful.

Best wishes,

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

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