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Hereditary Risks of Bipolar Disorder

If a parent has bipolar, a child is at higher risk for some psychiatric disorder. But odds are it won't be bipolar.

Clinical Expert: Gabrielle Carlson, MD

Gabrielle Carlson, MD, is professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and director emerita of  the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Here she discusses the heightened risks for children of parents with bipolar disorder, and the surprising treatment issues they raise.

Kids of parents with bipolar disorder are at higher risk for developing bipolar themselves—but the chances that they’ll develop another psychiatric disorder like ADHD, anxiety or depression is even higher. This fact has profound impacts on deciding on treatment plans and exploring diagnosis with these young people.


Related: Is it ADHD or Bipolar Disorder?

This article was last reviewed or updated on November 7, 2023.