Includes Expert Content
crazylady2 posted:
how old or young do you have to be to get diagnose with bipolar? is there anything that you may see in a young child that could lead to bipolar later in life? is it hereditary?
bpcookie responded:
You may go through life hearing a 1000 NO's but don't give up because your YES is out there waiting for you.- (Something my father told me.)
Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear crazylady2,

The average age at onset for bipolar disorder is about 19. Depression usually occurs before a first lifetime mania or hypomania. Less than 10% of cases begin before age 10 or after about age 50. There is no consensus among experts about how to define or identify a "prodrome" -- that is, signs of the illness before it actually declares itself. There is some heredity to bipolar disorder that is similar to the heredity of cancer or diabetes or heart disease -- it is not a "Mendelian" disorder which has a specific gene or genes that are transmitted, but if bipolar disorder (or colon cancer, or heart disease) exists in a first degree relative, there is a somewhat higher chance that bipolar disorder (or other disorders, like schizophrenia, or recurrent depression, or panic disorder) can occur in someone.

Dr. G.