Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder include:

  • Having blood relatives such as a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder
  • Periods of high stress
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Major life changes, such as the death of a loved one
  • Being in your early 20s

Conditions that commonly occur with bipolar disorder

If you have bipolar disorder, you may also have another health condition that's diagnosed before or after your diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Such conditions need to be diagnosed and treated because they may worsen existing bipolar disorder. They include:

  • Anxiety disorders. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD has symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder. For this reason, bipolar disorder can be difficult to differentiate from ADHD. Sometimes one is mistaken for the other. In some cases, a person may be diagnosed with both conditions.
  • Addiction or substance abuse. Many people with bipolar disorder also have alcohol, tobacco or drug problems. Drugs or alcohol may seem to ease symptoms, but they can actually trigger, prolong or worsen depression or mania.
  • Physical health problems. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to have certain other health problems, including heart disease, thyroid problems and obesity.
Sep. 05, 2014

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