Bipolar Disorder: What Are the Possible Causes?

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Not all that long ago, the medical community was somewhat mystified by bipolar disorder. 

Doctors did not know what caused it. Since then, many studies have helped to understand what causes someone to have this condition.

Bipolar disorder can be problematic, but now there are both ways to treat it and a better understanding of how it manifests itself. Let’s talk about the possible causes of bipolar disorder right now.

Familial Causes

Even now, doctors don’t entirely know what causes bipolar disorder. There are some vital clues that they have discovered, though. 

One of them is that if there are other individuals in your family tree who have bipolar disorder, it is far more likely that you will have it. This is a strong indicator that genetic proclivity comes into play with this condition. That’s why a doctor will normally ask you whether there’s anyone in your family who has it if you start to show some of the symptoms.

Someone’s Brain Chemistry

A person’s brain chemistry usually plays a part in whether they develop bipolar disorder. Doctors have seen certain similarities in the brain chemistry of individuals with the disorder. That’s why they may want to do a brain scan if you start showing the telltale behavioral signs. 

Alcohol, Medication, or Drug Use

Some people will not necessarily have a genetic predisposition toward bipolar disorder. However, if they start to use or abuse alcohol, drugs, or certain prescribed medications, symptoms that never manifested themselves before will begin to appear. 

Someone who has a latent trait toward bipolar disorder may never have these traits activated until they start doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Once they do, the symptoms can materialize for the first time. 

Stressful Events

Sometimes, someone who has bipolar disorder will not start to show symptoms of it until they go through stressful events. This suggests a link between the two things.

Some individuals who develop bipolar disorder experience traumatic episodes. They might have parents who drank alcohol excessively or were addicted to drugs. Maybe they were subjected to physical or verbal abuse. The correlation between stressful events in someone’s life and bipolar disorder is too well established for it to be considered a coincidence by the medical community.

Childhood Trauma

Someone can start showing the symptoms of bipolar disorder at any time, but it is particularly those who endured childhood trauma that seem to develop it. If someone has it, a doctor might recommend that they see a therapist. The therapist will often uncover episodes from the patient’s early life that shaped them into the person they turned out to be. 

While any of these possible causes on their own may not cause someone to develop bipolar 

disorder, several of them make it much more likely such a diagnosis will occur. For instance, someone with childhood trauma who also started abusing drugs or drinking excessively has a much higher chance of developing it.

Anyone who has received this diagnosis would do well to seek treatment for it.  

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