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Bipolar Disorder Community
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What are the odds of having BPD if no near relatives have it?

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I didn't know of any relatives who had it. I didn't even know it was genetic til a friend told me several months later. But when I went to see a new counselor at the beginning of this year, one of her first questions was "What family members have it?" I told her I didn't know of any, and she said there was no way I had it, but no one else in my family did. Eventually, after some research, my parents and I came to the conclusion that I had two relatives who might have had it--and even that was speculation. My mom's biological father had cirrhosis of the liver and was an alcoholic, which is something that people with this disorder are more susceptible to. My dad's cousin committed suicide years back (I'm not sure exactly when, but it was long before I was born), but for all I know, he could've had one of many other mental illnesses. Other than that, I don't know of anyone else in my family who has it, or any other mental illness, really. So, that's where my question comes in--what are the odds of me having it based on the other factors that play in? One event really triggered it about 4 years ago, when I was 15, but in hindsight my parents and I think I've displayed symptoms my entire life.
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Avatar universal
"Who else in your family has had it?" kind of is going to result in speculative answers these days.  It's only just now sort of becoming acceptable to see a psychiatrist.  I speculate my great grandmother on my father's side had it, but she could have also had schizophrenia.  I mean, it's not like they were really going to psychiatrists back then to know for sure.  

It's suggested by research that mental illness runs in families, but it's not necessarily always going to be that same mental illness.  Until we have had a few generations in psychiatry, it's going to be hard to give a definite answer to "Who else in your family has had it?"
1551327 tn?1514045867
COMMUNITY LEADER
There are a lot of diagnosis that can mimic bipolar.  I don't know whether you have it or not and I can't diagnose you but I will ask what happened to make them diagnose you in the first place?
My mother, two aunts, and my brother are bipolar but there are a lot of people who have it that never get diagnosed.
Is it affecting your life?  In what ways?
Avatar universal
I'm not sure if anyone in my family has bipolar, but I would bet they do or did. I grew up where mental issues were not taken seriously and avoided. The church not recognizing them, or thinking them possessions by evil spirits threw a big wrench in the works for many hundreds of years. Heredity is not the only way to have bipolar, anomalies happen in nature all the time. Whether you have symptoms of bipolar for other reasons or actually have bipolar, the treatment would be similar. I would start more with therapy and make sure it is bipolar, before getting into to pills. That is just me though. Bipolar and ADHD are the 2 most over diagnosed and misdiagnosed issues, IMO. Check your diet, get exercise, work on emotional health, then take inventory again. How are you dealing with your symptoms so far?
Avatar universal
I'm just always having mood swings and it's causing me to lash out at everyone. I've lost friends (and a boyfriend) because I'm always being negative. Well, that and being manipulative and, as that boyfriend said, emotionally abusive. I've looked into having borderline personality disorder, but I saw it compared to bipolar and the ways that my mood problems work is more leaning on the side of bipolar. There weren't a lot of options explored that I know of--I'm assuming that the doctor asked my parents what was going on and went on intuition.
What triggered it was being told I couldn't speak to my best friend anymore. The moment I was told that, I immediately sank into a depression that wouldn't go away for almost a year--I ended up in a behavioral hospital 9 months after the incident, where I was diagnosed. My doctor there had my parents do some investigating into it to see if I had the symptoms (which I did). He got me off of Lexapro (which I was taking because I'd told a different psychiatrist I was depressed) and onto Abilify, but it didn't help much til they were adjusted properly, and I was given an antidepressant.
Avatar universal
It depends. I lived with my grandmother from early January to last Friday, and I stopped taking Abilify and started taking Seroquel in March when my doctor thought it was the Abilify that was making me irritable. Once I started that, it actually got WORSE. We scheduled an appointment with my psych last month (I believe I was initially supposed to go next week) because it got so bad. I had horrible mood swings (one time watching my favorite TV show got me crying for 2 hours) and a lot of the side effects for Seroquel were bothering me--even some of the urgent ones. I have also been diagnosed with ADHD, but I was diagnosed when I was 16. I feel like most of the false diagnoses for that are because they diagnose young kids, who are naturally hyper anyway. Once I started Vyvanse, I got a bit better. When I'm not on it, you could hold a gun to my head and I'd rather be shot than have to focus on one particular task (like doing homework). Since it wears off after 10 hours I briefly took Adderall to help me focus on my homework after school. I do have a pretty bad diet though, and I don't exercise much, so that could be why the medications don't seem to be helping.
1551327 tn?1514045867
COMMUNITY LEADER
Whatever the diagnosis I hope that the medicines will assist you in having a happy life.
Avatar universal
Like I told my therapist, if I were diagnosed over the years, since about 14, I would have been OCD, ADHD, Depressive, Bipolar, and many others. The thing about my bipolar is, it is always changing and appears like different things at different times. I believe that is a major reason why bipolar is so hard to diagnose, it takes a long time to actually diagnose it properly. The rise of childhood diagnosed bipolar has increased by 20 times in the last 20 years, when it wasn't allowed to be diagnosed in children before that. Addiction recovery made me realize that drugs are a last resort, not something to take lightly or jump into upon early diagnosis of anything, be it pain or mental issues. If there are other ways to cope with something, I think it best to try those first, like diet, exercise, and therapy. I do not condemn drugs, I have friends who need them, but I also know people who use drugs to deal with normal life things. A local doctor hands out monthly scripts of opiates for menstrual cramps, just as an example. Doctors would have put my learning disabled son on meds, had we listened to others and had him diagnosed younger. He is no threat to himself or others, so I don't see the big rush to medicate. His current therapist said he believes he is so well adjusted, because we didn't try to 'fix' him from the start. We allow his differences and have taught him it's okay to be different.

Anyway, I still agree with my first post, focus on diet, exercise and coping skills in therapy, then take inventory again. I have seen so many people come off opiates who jump right onto an Anti depressant and realize later that the problem they took it for still exists. I decided to accept my bipolar diagnosis when I got my life together, I was actually doing pretty well over all and still went manic and depressed. I am doing pretty well off all drugs now, though I am still waiting to see how long this lasts. I am very open to taking drugs, if needed, but really am careful about stunting my growth with them. I don't want to medicate childhood resentments or harmless manic behavior, so I am waiting to see if I NEED drugs, like so many say i do. Of coarse those who say I need drugs are 'professionals,' and those who know me better say I am doing great and seemed drugged on drugs.

Have you tried anything, besides drugs, to try and deal with your anger and lashing out? Even if you need meds, I think they work better in combination with CBT or other thought channeling therapy. It seems like you want to change your MO and your thinking. Another thing I learned from addiction recovery, the drugs simply mask the symptoms, they don't make the underlying issues go away. Like a heavy person who takes ecstasy and feels beautiful and okay with themselves on drugs, but the bad self-image is still in the mirror the next morning. Maybe a diet pill will help, but it won't replace diet, exercise, and coping skills.



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