Bipolar Disorder Causes

bipolar man fading

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you are probably all too aware of the extreme symptoms that can come with it as well as the treatment options.

What you may not know are the causes of bipolar disorder and why this happened. At Banyan Chicago, we want to help clear up this confusion.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a mental health disorder that is characterized by intense and sudden shifts in mood. People with bipolar disorder will experience both mania, periods of high energy, depression, and periods of low energy. This mental health disorder is typically accompanied by erratic behavior and irrational thinking.

To cope with these intense mood swings, people with bipolar disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol. This self-medication can quickly spiral out of control into an addiction. If you fit into this category, our Chicago dual diagnosis treatment may be able to help.

What Causes Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder affects 2.6% of the population on the United States1, but the causes of bipolar disorder are still being researched. Our Chicago addiction rehab is going over a few of the most commonly agreed upon reasons of what causes people to be bipolar.


Of all of the possible bipolar disorder causes, genetics seems to arguably have the biggest role. According to research, a child with one parent who has bipolar disorder has a 15-30% chance of developing the disorder, and a child with two bipolar parents has a 50-75% chance of developing this mental health disorder.2 Twin studies show similar trends. The estimated concordance rates for bipolar disorders in identical twins is between 38.5-43% and 4.5-5.6% for fraternal twins.3


Yes, stress is one of the suggested bipolar disorder causes, but it is only a contributing factor. Someone who is already genetically at risk for the disorder may develop bipolar disorder after a traumatic event or a series of extremely stressful events. A person already with the disorder is also more at risk of a manic or depressive episode immediately following one of these events.1

Abnormal Brain Structure & Function

It appears that the brain of people with bipolar disorder are slightly different than someone who does not have this disorder. Brain scans have shown that people in manic or depressive states of bipolar disorder have less activity in their visual cortex than normal as well as a weaker relationship between blood flow in the brain and neuronal signaling.4 Whether these abnormalities are a result or cause of bipolar disorder is still to be confirmed.

Mental illness is hard enough without adding a substance abuse problem on top of it. Whether you are struggling with an addiction yourself or you are watching your loved one go through it, get help immediately before it spirals out of control.

Our Chicago PHP could be the answer you need to you problems. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about Banyan Chicago and how we may be able to help.


  1. National Alliance of Mental Illness – Bipolar Disorder
  2. Verywell Mind – The Chances of Having Hereditary Bipolar Disorder
  3. NCBI – The Genetics of Bipolar Disorder

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.