According to today’s thinking, is that if you have bipolar disorder, you were likely born with the possibility of developing this disorder, and for many a stressful life event and/or upbringing can trigger the onset or lead to recurring episodes.

 I might have been born with the genetic predisposition that no matter what happened I would have Bipolar disorder. I would say that I was not born with Bipolar disorder. For me, symptoms began after the birth of my second child. I was thirty -three at the time. I knew it wasn’t post partum depression but something changed in me so I went to the doctor and was put on antidepressants and anti anxiety medication for eleven years. I made some terrible choices during that period even though I was in treatment with a psychiatrist and psychologist. The bottom line is I wound up in a hospital in 2004 where I spent two weeks getting diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder. I had been misdiagnosed all those years. I didn’t have a clue there was anything wrong until, when in the hospital, the doctor took me off all my meds. Xanax was the hardest on my body. I was taken off every medication cold turkey and I though I was going to die. I was so weak and my blood pressure was extremely low. Needless to say, I was diganosed through observation and interviews with having Bipolar disorder. So here I am 15 years later and feeling better and stronger than ever. I have made dumb mistakes like I mentioned but I think we all do that disease or no disease. I do wonder if it is heretitary. I know depression and other mental illnesses are linked genetically.

Genetic factors in mental disorders interact with a person’s family and cultural

environment. A person who has a gene associated with susceptability to alcohol abuse, for example, may not develop the disorder if he or she grows up in a family that teaches effective ways to cope with stress and responsible attitudes toward drinking. As long as I get the proper treatment I do fine. That’s a commitment I cannot break.

Characteristics such as male pattern baldness and eye color are hereditary. While mental illness often runs in families, mental illness is not hereditary. Mental illness is heretable. This means that people don’t inherit mental illness; they inherit genes that makes them susceptible to mental illness.

That was good news for children. Statstics are extremely low if only one parent carries the gene. Their father may or may not carried the gene. He never developed any outward signs that would be conducive to Bipolar disorder.

Can someone be tested for bipolar disorder?

There is no test for bipolar disorder or an exam to diagnose the disease. However, even without a standard test, a qualified healthcare provider can accurately diagnose bipolar disorder based on a person’s symptoms, the course of the illness, and family history.

Listed below are symptoms of Bipolar disorder

Manic symptoms

  • Intense happiness or joy; feeling “high”; overly excitable
  • Fast speech; racing thoughts (person is hard to keep up with and may switch topics or thought patterns frequently)
  • Impulsive; instances of “high-risk” behaviors, like quitting a job or ending a relationship
  • Insomnia or very little sleep (person can seemingly function with few hours of sleep)
  • Unrealistic ideas of grandeur (person may feel as if he/she is invincible, has super powers, or is more capable than he/she actually is)
  • Easily distracted

Depressive symptoms

  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in once-pleasurable activities
  • Overly depressed, hopeless or sad
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Suicide attempts (suicide attempts are thought to affect up to 50 percent of the bipolar population, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology)
  • Constantly feeling tired or fatigued
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness