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Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Bipolar Disorder

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem. You can get bipolar disorder with or without the risk factors listed below. But the more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of getting it. If you have many risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.

Risk factors are:

  • Genetics: This health problem can run in families. It is not caused by one specific gene. It is caused by many genes that act together.
  • Health history: Having other mental health problems, such as depression, can raise your risk.


  • Bipolar disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bipolar-disorder. Updated September 9, 2019. Accessed October 10, 2019.
  • Bipolar disorder in adults. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-tr-15-3679/index.shtml. Updated October 2018. Accessed October 10, 2019.
  • Yatham LN, Kennedy SH, et al. Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) 2018 guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2018 Mar;20(2):97-1707.


  • Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.