Monday, October 16, 2006

BiPolar Genetics

The vast majority of BiPolars have somebody else upstream in the family with BiPolar. This is not always easy to detect. In days gone by there was more stigma, encouraging less people to seek diagnosis.

I recall just after my official diagnosis, telling my parents that it was hereditary. Perhaps understandably, both immediately absolved themselves of all "guilt": "Nobody in my side of the family!" with great indignity.

But the book I was reading on BiPolar could have been tailor made for my circumstance. Can't find an ancestor with BiPolar? "Perhaps
you had an undiagnosed grandfather who used to have a ferocious temper and scream and shout
" - the book said. Bullseye!

So immediately I suspected my Dad's side of the family. About a month later when I was doing some Family Tree research on the Neb, I connected up with a woman in England who had my Dad's side of the family going back to 1100 B.C. (mindblowing!!!). And HeyPresto, about 2 generations back, what would have been my great great uncle "Died in Avon Mental Asylum" and his sister (G. G. Aunt) "died of mania". (not sure how you actually die of mania, but nevertheless...)

The reason I bring this all up is that a couple of posts ago, Maggs posed the question: "Is Miss L bipolar or borderline?" Yep, there sure is a chance, especially since her deceased mother also suffered from chronic depression (good combo huh?).

Truth is: right now we don't know if she's got BiPolar or not. Sure she's got radical emotional problems, but she's got loads of external factors to justify those without having to go into bain chemical analysis.

So many people have said: "Watch Out, she's got at least a 15% chance of being BiPolar!"

Statistically that is correct. But here's another correct statistic:
She's got 85% chance of NOT being BiPolar.


  1. Yep, my mother and maternal grandmother both exhibited bipolar behavior. I can't begin to describe or comprehend how shaped me.... My brother suffers from PTSD and I am certain that he has undiagnosed bipolar depression. My diagnosis was recent and it all is making sense.

  2. Only person institutionalised in my family history was my mother’s father’s brother. The traits of depression and mood swings come from my father's side. In particular from my father's brother who ballooned to 350lbs and was the first man in Scotland to get his jaws wired. At his funeral, died before he reached 50, every member of his family were ostracised including his mother.

  3. there but it is a sad, sad, boring & dull one, you've been warned.

  4. Both my grandmothers were adopted in the days when papers were burned and no records kept. The only thing I know is there were rumors of alcholism from one side.... other that I seem to be "the only one". However my daughter suffered SEVERE depression after being raped as a teenager (including SI and suicide attempts) also took a trip into drug addiction. She has recovered somewhat but still suffers somewhat and is unable at this time to obtain treatment due to finances. I would not be in the least bit surprised to hear one day that she has been diagnosed bi-polar even tho the original bout of depression was caused by trauma.

  5. Please don't disregard the fact that Miss L. has a 100% chance of developing into a truly wonderful adult.

  6. There was no known history in my family either... until my shrink checked my late mother's records. Apparently she was diagnosed in the 1960s but instead of taking Lithium she opted to take copious amounts of alcohol daily and so fooled us all into thinking she was just a bizzarre drunk.

  7. Hope I didn't upset you, my sweet


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