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Is Bipolar Inheritable?


My stepdaughter is 14 and lives with her dad & myself. Her mother left when she was 4 and is manic depressive. Can my step-daughter inherit this and what are the warning signs? She is very unpredictable. One day she is very sweet and caring. the next day she may be very rude, angry, shows no respect for other family members and back talks. Can this be a warning to us?

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Yes, it is entirely possible that your daughter could inherit a vulnerability for bipolar illness from her mother. Bipolar illness is in part genetically based. Having a vulnerability is not the same thing as being destined to have the disorder, however.


p> I’m not a child psychologist (I deal with adults only), and worse, I’m not a parent myself so I’m spectacularly unqualified to advise you as to what consititutes ‘within normal limits’ behavior in a young girl. It could be that there is a problem, but then again, it could be that her mood swings and unpredictable behavior are just what a normal teen does. You’ll have to take her to a local expert child-oriented clinician to get a better handle on this.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • Ashley Schjenken

    I have bipolar and I'm 15 years old. I am very concerned, about whether or not I will have to take meds for it my whole life. Is there any cure, and will it ever go away?

  • Anonymous-1

    I have lived with thise disorder for over 15 years. It does not go away but you can learn how to deal with it. I have been off meds for over 5 yrs, but at the same token I know when I need to go back.

  • bethany

    my husband and i hav custody of his two boys one is 10 and the other 9 while the 10 year old is pure joy we have a very hard time with the 9 year old. he has bipolar and adhd along with a long list of other lables 10 million different doctors have given him. we were granted custody of the boys 3 years ago. and there mother had a restraining order placed on her to stay away from the boys.

    while i am angry that the boys are missing out as well as there mother i guess it is the best thing for them. our 9 year old has so many issues i do not even know where to begin. his father and i are at the end of are rope he makes everything impossible he has been kicked out of school day care friendshouses he lies steals attacks people we have to hide food because he eats until he pukes. he wets the bed poops his pants or poops and hides it ect. and the dr tell us all he needs is love it is so much more then just needing love.this child needs serious help. i feel like the dr just give him a new pill and send us on our way. it is to the point where he spends his whole day in his room he cant go outside because no onein the neighbor hood wants him at there house he has broke windows ripped up plants beat kids up walks in peoples houses and just starts eaing there food ect he doesnt come home for hours he never goes where he says hes going and he comes home when ever he feels like it some times this beening 10 30 at night!

    i feel like i speak in circles saying the same thing over and over again but no one i know has a child with problems like this so everyone just says hes just a boy he will grow out of it. but it is only getting worse i so afraid he is going to do something to totally destroy his life its like watching a bomb just waiting for it to explode but never knowing when it is going to happen!

    he just seems like a shell like hollow inside i cant explain it but he just looks so blank in his eyes. when he speaks it never really makes sense he has no social skills.

    worst part is i feel like we are failing him we have seen so many dr and no one has an answer. his father and i are at the point where we feel like he needs 24hour care as soon as we turn are back he is doing something destructive we both work and we can not afford for one of us to quit are jobs and its just a matter of time before he gets kicked out of the day care he is in. during the school year we get atleast 2 4 calls a day regarding his behavior! he has been suspended inschool detention after school detention and any other form of punishment you can think of. i fear are future so much he is only 9 now but whathappens when he is a teen i amm a very small person and i feel like its just a matter of time before he turns on me!

    now you know there was major problems with his mother is he was removed from her home and is to have no contact with her! the mental and physcial abuse was unreal! the courts drug out acustody battle for 2 1/2 years which gave his mother more time to tourcher and brain wash him but it is now going on two years since he has seen her and things are not looking any better yet worse!

    i find myself questioning if we are doing the right things for him should the courts have left him with his mother who also has major mental problem are we doing more harm then good? is there anyone who has anytype of answers for me. my husband and i have no child of are own and i have not yet got to experience mothhood at this point im afraid to bring a innocent child into are home. it breaks m heart as as young girl i always wanted 6 children. my husband and i have a very stong bond and are agreat team and are very much in love and would love nothing more then to have a child together. we are so confused and lost! is there anyone who is going hrough this or has anytype of answers for me!! anyone who knows where im coming from please share your sory with me! Thank you bethany


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