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Will I get this if my mother has it?

Posted by Shelly on July 05, 1999 at 12:24:05
My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over ten years ago.  She believes she is a doctor, profit, ninja etc.  Her behavior is very scary for us.  I have three other siblings and we are all in the twenty to thirty year range.  We have been through so much with mom and we all wonder if we are going to have this disorder as well.  Can we be tested or something?  Mom went too long before she was diagnosed.  We arent really sure what the begining phases are that would need to be recognized. Can you help?

Posted by HFHS.MD-AJ on July 07, 1999 at 17:53:58
I can understand the concerns you and your siblings have with regards to the risk of having bipolar disorder like your mother. Family studies have shown that if one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 25% chance that any child will have a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder; if both parents have bipolar disorder, there is a 50-75% chance that a child will have depression or bipolar disorder.
There are no recognized tests for diagnosing bipolar disorder. The disorder is diagnosed clinically by symptoms of mania or hypomania, such as euphoria/abnormally elevated mood, irritability, increased energy, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, flight of ideas, increased or pressured speech, agitation, unrestrained shopping sprees, or sexual indiscretions. These symptoms persist for at least 4-7 days, and may be associated with alternating symptoms of depression. Bipolar disorder often manifests initially with symptoms of depression such as sadness, loss of interest/motivation, withdrawn behavior, feelings of worthlessness/hopelessness/helplessness, low energy, appetite/sleep disturbance, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.
This response is for general information only. Always consult your physician for any health concerns.
Keywords: bipolar disorder, mania, hypomania, depression

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