The information below has been gathered from the National Health Department in the US.

Scientists are learning about the possible causes of bipolar disorder all the time and progressing fantastically well. Most scientists agree that there is no single cause and the likelihood is that many factors act together to produce the illness or increase risk.

‘’Bipolar disorder tends to run in families, so researchers are looking for genes that may increase a person’s chance of developing the illness. Genes are the “building blocks” of heredity. They help control how the body and brain work and grow. Genes are contained inside a person’s cells that are passed down from parents to children.

Children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder are four to six times more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of bipolar disorder. However, most children with a family history of bipolar disorder will not develop the illness.

But genes are not the only risk factor for bipolar disorder. Studies of identical twins have shown that the twin of a person with bipolar illness does not always develop the disorder. This is important because identical twins share all of the same genes. The study results suggest factors besides genes are also at work. Rather, it is likely that many different genes and a person’s environment are involved. However, scientists do not yet fully understand how these factors interact to cause bipolar.’’

Sadly I do not know if my father ever got a bi-polar diagnosis but from memory it would appear that he showed all the signs. He also self-medicated and had epilepsy but again it is difficult to say which comes first. For those of us pre-disposed to this illness, then there are a number of factors that can ignite it. Therefore lifestyle choices are paramount. Living a simple life with routine and family, and spending time with friends who make you happy is obviously the aim. My lifestyle was far too chaotic and wild and there was also no structure, which is why I have written a section on the importance of goals.

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