Fast Five Quiz: Bipolar Disorder Practice Essentials

Stephen Soreff, MD


January 19, 2022

Numerous factors contribute to bipolar disorder, including genetic, biochemical, psychodynamic, and environmental. Bipolar disorder, especially type 1, has a major genetic component, with the involvement of the ANK3, CACNA1C, and CLOCK genes. Having one affected first-degree relative is associated with a 5%-6% risk; having four or more is associated with a more than 50% risk. Discussing the genetic aspects of bipolar disorder with the patient and/or family can help relieve perceived guilt. Epigenetic contribution is also significant. Thus, excessive stress in the face of genetic vulnerability must be noted.

The prevalence of bipolar disorder type 1 is generally equal between men and women; however, several studies have found a higher rate of type 1 among men and type 2 among women. No major racial disparities have been noted in terms of incidence; however, diagnosis and treatment is often delayed in non-White individuals with bipolar disorder. The mean age of onset is typically early adulthood (age 18-20 years).

Learn more about the epidemiology of bipolar disorder.


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