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A 30-year-old member asked:

If a mom has bipolar disorder and a dad has depression, what are the chances the child will have either problem when he grows up?

3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bartholomew Vereb
Child Psychiatry 17 years experience
Hard to say: The genetic component increases the child's chances. But, the environment, and personality also play a very large role.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 44 years experience
Genetics definitely play a role, but even if both parents have bipolar disorder, only about 20% of children will develop it. Depression probably carries a higher risk, but still far from 100%.
Feb 3, 2012
Dr. Richard Levenson
Anxiety Disorders 33 years experience
Depression: With any major mental disorder, having a first degree relative who is afflicted increases the likelihood that children may have some form of the disease, although it certainly is not inevitable.
Dr. Carlos Barrios
Child Psychiatry 24 years experience
The stats: From the literature: 35% chance if one parent has it. 75% if both parents have it. These are the probabilities. Literature says depression & anxiety push the odds slightly more. Keep in mind that a more stressful environment will play a major role in pushing these probabilities forward. A more stable environment is always protective against gene expression of any genetic vulnerability. take care
Last updated Apr 17, 2016


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