Please be advised that this post contains information that may trigger some persons’ reactions to nature versus nurture and bipolar illness or other psychiatric disorders.
” The available body of evidence suggests that environmental factors may either trigger or prevent the development of a psychiatric disorder. Moreover, there is some circumstantial evidence of an association between environmental factors and the clinical course of bipolar disorder.”
The data about the nature versus nurture of bipolar illness is mixed. I have seen data that suggests a 10% likelihood of bipolar illness in offspring of people with bipolar condition. But I have also seen more promising statistics that show environmental factors are extremely important in the prevalence and/or the prevention of bipolar illness diagnosis for second generation folks.
My therapist is one of those people who believes more on the nurture side of things rather than the nature side of things.
I grew up in a household where my infant brother had died before I was born. My parents also divorced in large part because of this when I was about ten years old. I felt like the replacement child that could not prevent her parents’ break-up. It is also extremely likely that I had some sort of traumatic event in my childhood like sexual abuse from a neighbor. (There also was no clear history in my family of bipolar or mental illness.)
All in all, my therapist believes I have sheltered my child from any of these occurrences and the likelihood of her developing bipolar is very low. This is incredibly reassuring to me for all the obvious reasons.
I imagine there are folks out there who believe in the nature side of things. For me the nature theory is real in that it heightens the probability of the illness occurring but does not guarantee it.
Anyone care to comment on nature versus nurture and psychiatric diagnoses?