What increases my risk for bipolar I disorder?

A genetic predisposition, imbalanced neurotransmitters, and some diseases increase your risk of developing bipolar I disorder. Some illicit and prescription drugs could also cause abnormal levels of neurotransmitters. Major stresses like sadness over the death of a loved one or post-traumatic stress disorder can cause episodes of bipolar I disorder. There is a high correlation between people with substance abuse problems and people with bipolar I disorder, though a causal relationship is not necessarily at play. Of the people with bipolar disorder, women are more prone to bipolar depression than men, who tend to experience more manic episodes than women.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Researchers are still investigating the risk factors for bipolar I disorder, and bipolar disorder in general. Since the disorder runs in families, it appears likely that genes play a role. Environmental factors, such as stressful life events, may trigger the disease. Some of the other possible triggers for mania include antidepressant medication and sleep deprivation. Thyroid disease may trigger depression. But often it is not clear what brings on a mood change.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.