Is there a genetic reason for bipolar disorder?

What links have been found between genetics and bipolar disorder?  Is there a genetic connection between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia?  (My friend knows a family that has three girls that are bipolar and three boys that are schizophrenic.  There HAS to be a link there!)

The notion of mental illness without a doubt very quickly gets into what is classically noted as ‘nature vs nurture’… nature being the biological component and nuture being the upbringing/environment. The thing is… those are, in most cases, impossible to differentiate from one another.
Suffice to say that there is evidence that mental illness is hereditary in nature… found by looking a gene-mapping for one part… and the other part known from doing identical-twin research when those twins have had different upbringings. Essentially… if both twins end up with a given mental illness, having had different environments, then the deduction is the biological makeup. This situation happens rarely, though, and it would be unethical to break up twins just to study this.
In sum there are at least two reasons for bipolar and most probably one of those is genetic. I say probably because, like most of science, there are always differing opinions.

One thought on “Is there a genetic reason for bipolar disorder?

  1. At the Stanford Mood Disorder Education Day 2011, Dr. Singh shared research with us about the link with heredity and bipolar disorder. I believe the study she quoted was “Goodwin”. She said that they found that if one parent had BP and the spouse did not, there was a 30% chance that the child would inherit the disorder.

    If however the parent was BP and the spouse had a mood disorder, the rate increases to 70% that the child would have a mood disorder.

    In this link:
    http://www.bipolarcentral.com/articles/articles-125-1-Genetics-and-Bipolar-Disorder.html

    They mention in twin studies that if one twin had Bipolar Disorder, there was a 85%-89% chance that the other twin would also have it.

    I’m sure there are many studies on this as Dustin has mentioned, but I thought I would share the numbers I came across.

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