Skip to content

Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Disorder and Other Risk Factors

In this article, we delve into the question of “Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic?” and explore the implications of having a family history of the disorder.


What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by shifts between periods of high mood (called mania) and low mood (called depression). These changes in mood can happen quickly and be annoying. The National Institute of Mental Health says that 2.8% of teens and adults in the U.S. have bipolar illness. Researchers are still trying to figure out what exactly causes bipolar disorder, but they have found a possible link between family history and the disorder. This suggests that genes may play a part. Learn more about this link and the complicated nature of bipolar disorder by reading more.

Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic?

Bipolar disorder often has a hereditary component, with genetic factors contributing to approximately 80% of its etiology. It is the mental illness that is most likely to be passed down through families.

A 2009 study looked into the different risk factors for bipolar disorder. This study shed light on the part that genes play in this complicated condition. A history of the problem in the family is one of the most critical risk factors. The study found that adults who have family members with bipolar disorder have a tenfold higher chance of also getting the disorder. That risk increases even more if the family member is a close cousin, like a parent.

About 60 to 80% of the causes of bipolar disorder are genetic, but it’s important to remember that genes are not the only thing that determines the disease. Even if someone in your family has bipolar disorder, that doesn’t mean you will too. Most family members of people who already have the disorder don’t get it themselves.

If one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 10% chance that their child will also have it. If both parents have bipolar illness, there is a 40% chance that their child will also have it. Just because one family member has the problem doesn’t mean that others will, too.

A lot of study needs to be done to understand how genetics affect the development of bipolar disorder fully.

Is the Cause of Bipolar Disorder Genetic or Environmental?

An age-old question whether behavior is genetic or environmental, is often at the heart of understanding complex conditions like bipolar disorder. While the exact origins of bipolar disorder are not fully understood, research indicates that both genetic and environmental factors play significant roles in its development.

Family studies have shown over and over that bipolar disorder likes to run in families. The risk of getting bipolar disorder is about 9% higher for first-degree relatives of people who already have the disorder compared to the general population. The risk goes up even more if more than one person in the family has bipolar disorder. For example, if both parents have bipolar disorder, the chance that their child will also have it is 40%.

People should know that genes play a significant role in bipolar disorder but are not the only reason. The cause of the disease is probably more than one, including genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors may make it more likely to develop bipolar illness, but researchers are still looking into how these factors interact with environmental triggers.

Other Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

Beyond bipolar genetics, there are several other risk factors and triggers associated with bipolar disorder that researchers have identified:

  • Brain Structure: Subtle differences in brain size and activity have been observed in individuals with bipolar disorder. Additionally, concussions and traumatic head injuries may increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Environmental Factors: Bipolar disorder often emerges following a stressful event, which can be related to work or personal life. Sudden major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one or physical injury, can also serve as triggers for its onset. Managing stress is essential for individuals with bipolar disorder.
  • Seasonal Influences: Seasonal changes, notably the transition from winter to spring, have been identified as a significant trigger for bipolar disorder episodes. The increase in daylight hours during this period affects the pineal gland, potentially influencing the development of depression and mania.
  • Substance Abuse: Heavy drug or alcohol use and inadequate sleep can act as triggers for bipolar disorder episodes.
  • Postpartum Period: In some cases, bipolar disorder can emerge in women during the postpartum period following childbirth. This primarily occurs in women with a biological predisposition to the condition. It’s important to note that while pregnancy itself isn’t typically the root cause of bipolar disorder, it can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities.

Understanding these various risk factors and triggers is essential in the comprehensive study of bipolar disorder, shedding light on both genetic and environmental contributors to this complex condition.

Am I Bipolar?

Don’t know if you or someone you care about might be showing signs of bipolar disorder? Knowing about your mental health is the first and most important step toward getting a diagnosis and managing it well. You can learn a lot about your situation by taking our online test for bipolar disorder.

Even though genes play a significant role in bipolar disorder, a complete evaluation is still needed for a correct diagnosis. Our test can help you determine what symptoms you might be experiencing and give you a place to start talking about your worries with a mental health professional. You’re taking a step toward better mental health by taking this test. Don’t wait—take our online test for bipolar disorder today to get more information and clarity.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for Accredited Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Centers Near You?

Even if therapy failed previously, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about counseling alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

FREE 24/7 Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Services Hotline

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be hereditary, meaning there is an increased risk of developing the condition if there is a family history of bipolar disorder. Having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder increases the likelihood of inheriting genetic factors that contribute to the disorder.
Bipolar disorder can be hereditary, meaning there is an increased risk of developing the condition if there is a family history of bipolar disorder. Having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder increases the likelihood of inheriting genetic factors that contribute to the disorder.

People with bipolar disorder and their families need to be able to recognize the signs of the illness. Different types of bipolar disease have different symptoms, but most of them are related to manic and depressive episodes.

Bipolar Mania Symptoms:

  • Restless and impulsive behavior.
  • Impaired judgment.
  • An inflated sense of abilities.
  • Elevated mood, even reaching euphoria.
  • Agitation and jumpiness.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors like gambling, reckless driving, or impulsive sexual encounters.
  • Rapid speech and thoughts.

Bipolar Depression Symptoms:

  • Profound fatigue.
  • Prolonged, intense sadness.
  • Slower speech and cognitive processing.
  • Difficulty making decisions and concentrating.
  • Appetite changes, often reduced.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Withdrawal from social circles and family.
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities and hobbies.

Understanding these symptoms can aid in early diagnosis and effective management of bipolar disorder. If you suspect you or a family member may be experiencing these symptoms, seeking professional help is essential.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Mental Health Services & Behaviroal Health Substance Abuse Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Mental Health Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient Rehab Programs Vary.

Mental Health Helpline (855) 940-6125

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Development Events
  • Comfortable Onsite Medical Detox Center

Bipolar Disorder Genetic Testing

Testing for bipolar illness based on genes is still being studied and improved. At this point, it hasn’t been made into a common diagnostic tool. Bipolar disorder is a complicated illness that is affected by both genetic and environmental factors. Because of this, it is hard to find specific DNA markers or variations that can be used as clear signs of the disorder.

At this point, there are no well-known genetic tests that can be used to identify bipolar disorder. Clinical assessments, which include a full look at a person’s symptoms, medical history, and family history, are usually used to make a conclusion.

Still, genetic study into bipolar disorder is moving forward, with scientists working hard to find out what genes cause the disorder. Their main goal is to find genetic markers and differences that might be linked to bipolar illness. The goal of these studies is to help us learn more about the genetic factors that cause the problem. Eventually, these studies may lead to the creation of diagnostic tools.

Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Bipolar disorder usually starts to show up around age 25. But it’s important to remember that bipolar illness can start at any age. Some people may first notice their symptoms when they are children, while others may not notice them until they are adults.

It can take a long time to get a correct diagnosis of bipolar illness. People often do this because they think their symptoms are caused by something else or because they choose not to share their experiences.

Your doctor may use a number of methods to identify bipolar disorder, such as:

  • Going over your medical background and symptoms.
  • To do a full mental health exam, questionnaires or keeping track of mood patterns might be used.
  • interviewing your family, close friends, and people you see often, as long as you give your permission.
  • Giving yourself a physical check to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, like hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid.
Understanding the genetic component helps us gain insights into the condition and may aid in early detection, personalized treatment approaches, and improved management strategies.
Understanding the genetic component helps us gain insights into the condition and may aid in early detection, personalized treatment approaches, and improved management strategies.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Programs. Complete Integrated Inpatient Rehab with Free Post Discharge Therapy Planning.

CALL (855) 940-6125

End the Emotional Pain Rollercoaster. Gain Stability & Happiness Through Recovery Treatment. Start Mental Health Counseling Today. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Behaviroal Health Specialists Who Understand Mental Health Recovery.

We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The precise definition of “dual diagnosis,” also known as co-occurring disorders, can vary among institutions. In general, it refers to the concurrent treatment of an individual who has received diagnoses of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder.

Addressing dual-diagnosis clients constitutes a crucial element of our inpatient treatment program because co-occurring disorders are strongly associated with instances of substance abuse. Crafting a comprehensive treatment plan that encompasses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological ties to substance use, and the management of underlying mental health conditions is fundamental to setting clients on the path to success.

A thorough mental health evaluation uncovers treatment possibilities. Collaborating with mental health counselors and medical professionals grants access to behavioral therapy and medication-based interventions.

At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up is committed to delivering top-tier care. We understand the intricate interplay of mental and substance abuse disorders and how they can perpetuate a cycle of addiction. We provide specialized dual-diagnosis treatment to offer clients the best prospects for genuine recovery and long-lasting well-being.

Acknowledging that you may be living with a mental illness can be challenging. Nevertheless, once it is accurately diagnosed and treated, addressing the co-occurring substance abuse issue becomes considerably more manageable. Only qualified medical professionals can diagnose these underlying conditions. Suppose you suspect that you are grappling with a co-occurring disorder alongside addiction. In that case, we strongly encourage you to seek a reputable treatment center to commence your journey to recovery. Contact We Level Up today.

Experience Transformative Recovery at the We Level Up Treatment Center.

See our authentic success stories. Get inspired. Get the help you deserve.

We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy
Hotline (855) 940-6125
Voluntarily testimonials from the We Level Up Treatment Center network vary. Not intended as a guaranteed treatment or outcome as each person's journey is unique.

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to a behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You


  1. Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

    Yes, bipolar disorder can be hereditary. Having a family history of bipolar disorder increases the risk of developing the condition. If a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, has bipolar disorder, the risk is higher compared to individuals without a family history of the disorder.

  2. Is bipolar genetic from mother or father?

    The risk of developing bipolar disorder can be influenced by both the mother’s and father’s genetic contributions. It is not solely determined by the parent’s gender. If either the mother or the father has bipolar disorder, the risk of their child developing the condition is higher compared to individuals without a family history of bipolar disorder.

  3. Is bipolar hereditary from grandparents?

    While having a family history of bipolar disorder, including grandparents with the condition, can contribute to an increased risk, the hereditary pattern of bipolar disorder is typically stronger within closer family relationships.

8 Steps & Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Wellbeing Informative Video

YouTube video
Search We Level Up FL Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? A Hereditary Connection Resources
Sources
  1. Barnett JH, et al. (2009). The genetics of bipolar disorder. DOI:
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.03.080 Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  2. Bipolar disorder. (2016).
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  3. Bipolar disorder. (2017).
    https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder Can Bipolar be Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  4. Bipolar disorder. (2017).
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder.shtml Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  5. Brown KM, et al. (2012). Lithium: The pharmacodynamic actions of the amazing ion. DOI:
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2045125312471963 Can bipolar disorder be genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  6. Kerner B. (2014). Genetics of bipolar disorder. DOI:
    https://www.dovepress.com/genetics-of-bipolar-disorder-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-TACG Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles
  7. Kessler RC, et al. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. DOI:
    http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208671 Is Bipolar Disorder Genetic? Genetics of Bipolar Related Articles