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Bipolar Disorder, Genetic Testing

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disease, is a psychiatric condition characterized by extreme mood swings between mania (increased mood, energy) and depression (low mood, loss of interest). These episodes can affect daily functioning and interpersonal relationships. Treatment usually includes mood stabilizers, psychotherapy, and sometimes antipsychotic medications. The assessment of the Polygenic Risk Score for bipolar disorder is based on examining 63 gene polymorphisms.

Genetic testing for bipolar disorder is included along with 15 other diseases in the Genetic Screening for Diseases of the Nervous System, Polygenic Risk Score.

Causes and non-genetic risk factors

The cause is of biological and genetic origin. The limbic system regulates emotions and maintains a stable mood according to the circumstances. In people affected with bipolar disorder, the limbic system does not function properly, so their mood changes abruptly for no apparent reason.

In addition, several risk factors can help to trigger the disease:

  • Family history. Bipolar disorder has a strong genetic basis, increasing the risk significantly if there are direct relatives affected.
  • Consumption of drugs such as cannabis or cocaine.
  • Certain drugs, such as corticoids, can trigger episodes in susceptible people.
  • Childbirth and postpartum. In some women, they can act as triggers. In addition, women who are susceptible to or diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more prone to postpartum depression.
  • Medication withdrawal. This is the leading risk factor and cause of relapse in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating manic episodes with depressive episodes of variable duration. Different aspects characterize each phase, although the manifestations can vary from one person to another.

The manic phase is characterized by:

  • Abnormal episodes of optimism, nervousness, or tension.
  • Agitation, increased activity, or energy.
  • Exaggerated sense of well-being.
  • Decreased need for sleep.
  • Reckless behaviors and lack of self-control.
  • Distraction.

The depressive phase, in turn, may include the following symptoms:

  • Sadness or low mood.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Eating problems, poor appetite, and weight loss.
  • Fatigue and tiredness.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
  • Loss of self-esteem.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities once enjoyed.

Both phases can cause difficulties in daily activities such as work, school, social activities, or relationships.


There is no practical way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, early treatment can help prevent the disorder from worsening and improve the quality of life.

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or have a first-degree relative who is affected, it is essential to keep the following in mind:

  • Pay attention to the warning signs. Treating symptoms early can help minimize their effects.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Have a good sleep hygiene.
  • Take medication correctly. Abandoning treatment or reducing the dose may help trigger new episodes.
Additional information
Results Time4 - 5 Weeks
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