What is the pathophysiology of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 06, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

The pathophysiology of bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness (MDI), has not been determined, and no objective biologic markers correspond definitively with the disease state. However, twin, family, and adoption studies all indicate that bipolar disorder has a significant genetic component. In fact, first-degree relatives of a person with bipolar disorder are approximately 7 times more likely to develop bipolar disorder than the rest of the population, and the heritability of bipolar I disorder (BPI) has recently been estimated at 0.73. [7]


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