What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder. Although the underlying causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, research indicates there is a genetic component to the illness, meaning if a family member such as a parent of sibling has it, then you are more likely to develop it yourself. Traumatic experiences, such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood, are also risk factors for bipolar disorder.
In addition to what predisposes a person to developing bipolar disorder, researchers have also sought to understand additional bipolar disorder causes in terms of what specifically triggers a manic or depressive episode. When asked what triggered a manic episode, men and women ages 18 to 30 diagnosed with bipolar disorder said triggers included falling in love, use of stimulants, starting a creative project, late night partying, going on vacation and listening to loud music, according to a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Triggers associated with depressive episodes included stressful life events, general stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, physical injury or illness, menstruation and lack of physical activity. Understanding potential triggers may help people recognize when they’re facing a situation or time in their lives that could send them into a manic or depressive episode, and take preventive or protective steps.