Bipolar is a scary illness, but if you (or your family member) aren't having issues, I wouldn't be concerned. The most important thing is to recognize symptoms and if there are issues to get help.
The symptoms can mimic normal excitable behavior at times, but they usually are more erratic than others experience. There are also extreme episodes of depression - or lows.
If an aunt has it, there is a likely chance that it is genetically linked to the Mom or yourself/family member, but the jury is still out on that. Honestly, it is a chemical imbalance / kind of misfiring in the brain, but stress and life issues can bring on the episodes. ...according to my psychiatrist.
For example: I have BP1 and my sister (7 years older) grew up in the same house and she doesn't have it. I strongly believe that my other sister (4 years older) does have BP.- I REALLY believe my father had it. SO, there's no rhyme or reason, but it's typically genetic.
I know it's scary but - really don't try to see the symptoms if you aren't having issues.
If you have specific things you want to ask - just send me a message, I will be happy to help you.
I just want to add that it's not a virus - you can't GET it. You either have it or you don't I'm labled bipolar 2 but I believe in the future there will be a bipolar 99! There's a lot of variety in how affected we are by this disorder. Many people go their entire lives undiagnosed. So, what I think I'm saying, is if you have issues get help - it's out there! Otherwise be kind to your aunt and breath easy.
Soccergirl19 - it's scary - especially if you have witnessed things your aunt might have done, but remember it's YOUR life and only worry about things that you might be experiencing - that's not selfish, it's just realistic.
Like Leta said, if you have issues that you need help with - ask for it. I am sure your Mom would understand. If not, just be supportive and maybe get educated about the illness so you can be more understanding of your aunt's struggles.
You don't "catch" bipolar. The overwhelming majority of people with mood disorders in their family never have significant mental health issues. Having a family member with bipolar does increase your chances, but if she's the only one, then I very much doubt you would get it. Your aunt's DNA is pretty far removed from yours. I'd be more concerned if your mother had it, or even your grandmother.
Also, even if you DO get the mood disorder gene, it may manifest completely differently. You may get depression instead of bipolar. Or you may not get anything at all. Mental disorders can lay dormant for a long time, even your whole life.
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