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Bipolar Center

Bipolar Disorder Causes and Risk Factors

Risk factors
People of all ages can be diagnosed with bipolar, regardless of gender. Bipolar disorder sometimes run in families, so your risk of experiencing the disorder increases if a parent has been diagnosed with bipolar. The mental illness usually begins sometime in late adolescence or during early adulthood and may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder include:

  • Biological family members with bipolar disorder
  • Drug abuse
  • Major life changes
  • Periods of high stress

Bipolar disorder is a long-term illness that must be carefully managed throughout a person's life. Untreated, bipolar disorder can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

If you suspect that you may be experiencing bipolar syndrome, see your doctor. A medical checkup can rule out other illnesses that might cause your mood changes. To learn more about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of bipolar, read the next section on symptoms of bipolar disorder now.

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