How likely is it that my Children will Develop Bipolar Disorder as well?
There are studies looking at children who have parents with bipolar disorder. And most of those studies, at least from the U.S., suggest that about 15-20 percent of those children already have some form of bipolar disorder. Now that’s cross-sectionally. In the future, there may be more children who develop this type of disorder over time.
There are also children who have parents with bipolar disorder who have depression and many children who have ADHD. In fact, about half the children in these studies have some sort of psychiatric difficulty already.
So we think that those could be early precursors for full bipolar disorder. That being ADHD plus mood disregulation as well as full depression. Those children if they have a parent or a first degree relative with bipolar disorder could be at very high risk for going on to develop the full disorder.
Having said that, it’s not just genetics. We really believe that it’s a combination of the environment plus a genetic predisposition that leads to bipolar disorder.
Dr.Kiki Chang – Dir. Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford – March 2009