Saturday, April 18, 2009

Indications that Bipolar Disorder may be Hereditary

The National Institute of Mental Health helped fund a study on children and parents with bipolar disorder. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, and found that children with a bipolar parent or parents were more likely to develop mood disorders, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder. They also found that children from two bipolar parents had an even higher risk of developing these disorders.

The study was led by Boris Birmaher, MD. and his colleagues. The team compared children from parents with bipolar disorder, and children from control parents without the disorder. They also measured their results with information about family environment and family psychiatric history. The study was done without the researchers having information on the parents; they did not know which children came from bipolar parents, and which ones did not.

The results showed a definite increase in bipolar and mood disorders of children with bipolar parents. They also found that nearly 60 percent of the children showed signs of bipolar disorder before age 21, and recommended that doctors treating parents for bipolar disorder should questions those parents about their children and their mental state. Early intervention could help children get the care they need, especially in the early stages of the disorder.

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