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Is Bipolar Inheritable?

Question:

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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Answer:

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.

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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.

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