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At What Age Does Bipolar Disorder Develop?

Bipolar disorder is a scary, disruptive, and often life-threatening mental illness – characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of mania, during which they feel unusually energetic and upbeat, and periods of depression, during which they feel sad and hopeless.

There are two main types of bipolar disorder; bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I disorder is characterized by one (or more) severe and often prolonged manic episodes, followed by a period of depression. On the other hand, bipolar II disorder is characterized by one or more major depressive episodes, followed by periods of hypomania (a less severe form of mania).

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), an estimated 2.6 percent of the American adult population, or nearly 6 million people ages 18 years and above, have bipolar disorder.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but it’s thought to be caused by a combination of different factors as outlined below:

Genetic predisposition: A family history of bipolar disorder significantly increases the likelihood of developing the condition. Scientific evidence indicates that genetic factors account for up to 80 percent of the total risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Brain structure and function: Research shows that people with bipolar disorder display subtle but significant changes in brain structure and function. These changes may be present from birth or develop over time and are believed to contribute to the development of bipolar disorder.

Environmental factors: Traumatic and stressful events, such as the death of a loved one, sudden life changes, serious illness or injury, physical or emotional abuse, excessive drug or alcohol use, and severe sleep deprivation are some of the environmental factors thought to increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder.

Drug and alcohol abuse: Another potential contributing factor to developing bipolar disorder is excessive drug and alcohol abuse. Experts believe substance abuse causes changes in the brain, which may trigger or worsen bipolar symptoms.

The Age of Onset

There is no set “normal” age for bipolar disorder to develop. Some people may experience their first symptoms during childhood or adolescence, while others may not develop symptoms until much later in adulthood. However, the average age of onset for bipolar disorder is typically estimated to be around 25 years.

Managing Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be challenging to treat because it can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions, such as depression or anxiety. Around one-third of patients with bipolar disorder are initially misdiagnosed and treated for other mental illnesses before eventually being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This complex diagnostic process is why it is so important to seek professional treatment if you experience persistent mood changes that interfere with your daily life. A qualified mental health professional will conduct a conclusive assessment to rule out other possible causes for your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis. 

Several treatment options are available for bipolar disorder, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. The most important thing is to seek help as soon as possible so that you can get started on the path to recovery. 

The Bottom Line

Bipolar is a debilitating illness that can lead to severe impairment. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to what age bipolar disorder develops because it can vary from person to person. If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, you need to consult an experienced mental health professional for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

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KureIV provides safe, monitored ketamine infusion therapy for people who suffer from major depression, bipolar disorder, severe anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and chronic pain in a friendly, professional environment.