My sister was diagnosed with bipolar. They say it's genetic, does that mean that I can develop it? I'm 32 years old. Do my children have a chance of developing it too?

by Mollie
(Chicago, il)

My sister was diagnosed bipolar 1 after the birth of her child. I had never heard of bipolar before this. Now I fear that myself or my children can develop this disorder. Would I already see signs in myself or children aged 6 and 8, if bipolar was something we had? The whole experience was very scary and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Comments for My sister was diagnosed with bipolar. They say it's genetic, does that mean that I can develop it? I'm 32 years old. Do my children have a chance of developing it too?

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Dec 19, 2016

by: Kristen

Hi Mollie

Sometimes one person can have bipolar disorder in the family and others may not. We believe it depends on a variety of things: such as the stress a person is under, the strengths they may have, and other factors such as events that happen in their life. For your children, it may be important to look at their father and his family history of mental health issues. I wouldn't worry about it necessarily, but I would carefully watch your children for signs of depression and anxiety and get them to proper treatment if these symptoms become intrusive in their daily lives.

As it pertains to you, I would also seek care and help if you begin to feel signs of anxiety or depression. However, there is no reason to think that just because your sister has the illness, anyone else in the family will necessarily suffer from it.

I hope this has been helpful.

Sincerely

Kristen McClure

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