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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is there a genetic component to bipolar disorder?

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  • Raynor Lander

    Health Psychologist, Psychologist

    I have worked as a psychologist in clinical practice for the past twenty years. I specialise in treating Chronic Pain, PTSD, Worker's Compensation Cases I … View Profile



    There is no single cause for bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition with multiple with a number of contributing factors including:Genetic: Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. Research believes that there is a genetic predisposition for the disorder, i.e. under the right conditions a person could develop bi-polar.  Recent reserach indicates that there is a search for an abnormalities on specific genes.There are also Biological factors.  : Researchers believe that some neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, don’t function properly in individuals with bipolar disorder.In additon to the genetic and biological factors Environmental factors play an important role.  These outside factors such as stress or a major life event, may trigger a genetic predisposition or potential biological reaction. For example  bipolar disorder was entirely genetic, both identical twins would have the disorder. But research reveals that one twin can have bipolar, while the other does not, implicating the environment as a potential contributing cause.

    The teaching of resilence and good coping skills  through childhood could well be protective factors if bi-polar is present in the family. 

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