Bipolar Disorder Causes, Risk Factors and Complications

mental illness

Causes of Bipolar

In the scientific community, bipolar disorder has no known cause.  However, there are various factors which may be involved.

Biological Differences

Scientists have identified people with this mental illness to show physical changes in their brains.  At this point, we do not know if there is any significance to these changes.  They hope to one day use these biological differences to hone in on causes.


People who eventually develop this mental disorder as well as others, usually come from stressful environments.  For instance, abuse and turmoil in the home.


People who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent are more likely to develop it.  The genes that may be involved in causing this disorder are still being sought after.

Risk Factors

There are several triggers to kick-start the initial episode which may increase the risk of developing this disorder.

  • Having a first-degree relative who has this mental illness
  • Periods of high stress like a traumatic event such as a death in the family
  • Alcohol or drug abuse


If it is not treated, it can wreak havoc on your life:

  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Problems legally or financially
  • Ruined relationships
  • Suicide or suicide attempts
  • Drug and alcohol related problems

Co-occurring Conditions

If you have this mood-swing illness, often times there are other mental disorders that also present themselves along with your original diagnosis.  The bad thing is some of these disorders can exacerbate your bipolar symptoms or they can make it difficult to treat.  Here are some examples:

  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Physical health issues like heart disease, thyroid problem, headaches or obesity

My Story

I know that I have several causes and risk factors that played into me having this disorder.  I went for probably over 10 years before it was diagnosed.  I blew up several credit cards, was in and out of romantic relationships and my job and college histories were not my best.  I have had difficulties finding a proper psychiatrist.  My treatment over the last 10 years have been sketchy at best.  I have several co-occurring conditions which takes a skilled physician to treat.


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