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Childhood Hardships Increase The Risk For Bipolar Disorder

First Posted: Oct 22, 2016 05:50 AM EDT
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Experts have already identified a number of factors that would put a person at risk of developing bipolar disorder. Now, a study from the University of Manchester has revealed that adults who suffered from being abused as a child have an increased risk of developing the disorder as well.

"The link between experiencing a troubled childhood and subsequently being diagnosed with this serious condition is extremely strong," study co-author Filippo Varese of the University of Manchester in England said in a university news release, as reported by Health Day News.

 In a similar report by the Montana Standard, it was said that people with bipolar disorder experience emotional extremes, highs and lows, which harm their quality of life and increase the risk of suicide. For the study, Varese and his colleagues examined 19 studies published between 1980 and 2014. Researchers defined childhood adversities as experiencing neglect, abuse, bullying or the loss of a parent before the age of 19.

The found that adults with bipolar disorder were 2.63 times more likely to have undergone emotional, physical, or sexual abuse as children than adults in the general population. The link with emotional abuse was particularly strong, the researchers said. However, the loss of a parent did not raise the risk significantly. Medical Xpress also reported that there has been much research done into bipolar disorder has focused on bio-genetics, Varese said.

However, previous studies on schizophrenia led Varese's team to probe more into the role of hardships experienced during childhood in the development of mental diseases. Even though the study was not able to determine a cause-and-effect relationship, the findings could prove important in treating people with bipolar disorder, the researchers said.

"Handled sensitively, inquiries about a person's childhood experiences can make a significant difference to how treatment proceeds and the types of support that can be put into place," study lead author Jasper Palmier-Claus said in the news release.

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