Bipolar Disorder Genetics

2013 Bipolar Update

Viewing Bipolar Disorder Genetics

Bipolar disorder I, (also referred to as manic depression, manic-depressive disorder or illness, bipolar affective disorder and bipolar mood disorder), is a mental condition characterized by severe mood swings with episodes of mania and depression. Manic episodes are often preceded or followed by bouts of depression. The exact cause of this ailment is not yet known but researchers think that genes, environment and biochemical factors contribute to it.

The bipolar disorder genetics linkage has been made after many years of research and has shown that the ailment runs in families. The majority of bipolar disorder sufferers have a family history of either bipolar disorder or severe depression. This claim is based on multiple family, adoption and twin studies.

Children of manic depressive parents have a higher chance of developing the ailment, even in cases where they have been adopted by parents who don’t suffer this disorder. This plainly points to the bipolar disorder genetics influence. Studies of twins further point to this relation. These studies have shown that the identical twin of one who has the disorder is three times more likely to develop it than a fraternal twin. The incidence of both twins having the bipolar disorder is 80% for identical twins in comparison to 16% for fraternal twins. Since identical twins share all their genetic material while fraternal twins share at most only half, the difference in risks clearly points to a genetic predisposition to develop the disease.

It is important to know what specific bipolar disorder genetics are inherited. Researchers believe that this disorder is caused by imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and acetylcholine or biochemical imbalances of hormones. Imbalances in neurotransmitters cause the brain’s mood regulation system to mal-function. Genes are generally thought to contribute to these imbalances.

People genetically predisposed to mood disorders may have a gene(s) that functions abnormally when triggered by certain (stressful) events by producing too little or too much of certain bio chemicals. Whether biochemical imbalances are as a result of mood disorder are a cause of this, or a little bit of both is however difficult to establish and more research is required in this area.

Though the specifics of bipolar disorder genetics involved in this disease are not yet established, studies have greatly intensified over the past twenty years. It seems bipolar disorder genetics research shows more and more evidence that points to the fact that bipolar disorders may be caused by many different genes, and possibly even several genes working in tandem.

Understanding bipolar disorder genetics can lead to great benefits for people who suffer from the disease, their families and medical professionals. It can also lead to the discovery of improved therapeutic treatments for sufferers. In addition knowing how the disorder is inherited in families can lead to more information that will aid in genetic counseling.

We try to stay updated on our material and we hope this article on bipolar disorder genetics has been useful. We mainly spoke of Bipolar I disorder in this information, but even the lesser categories of bipolar disorders need treatment as they can get worse and advance to the next stage.