Is There Any Particular Time In My Life When I Am More Likely To Develop Bipolar Disorder?

Question: Is there any particular time in my life when I am more likely to develop bipolar disorder?

Answer: Thinking about when bipolar disorder might occur, it's useful to understand that the vast majority of patients who will have a first manic or depressive episode have had one within the first three decades of their life.

So, about 86% of people that we treat for bipolar disorder have had their first episode before age 30. On the other hand, bipolar disorder can and does strike any time in the life cycle.

The further out you are from age 30, the more important it becomes to look for secondary medical causes -- things that might mimic bipolar disorder. And those could be things like thyroid disease. They could be tumors in the brain. They could be other kinds of medical problems. And the older you are when you have your first episode, the more likely it is that that could be what's behind your mood problems.

Next: How Common Is Bipolar Disorder In Children/Adolescents, Adults And Seniors?

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