Question: Is there anything I can do to lower my risk of developing bipolar disorder or prevent it?
Answer: As a mood disorder specialist and a researcher in the area of bipolar disorder, it is my hope that someday we'll actually identify the factors that cause bipolar illness.
Until that time, we're left trying to identify those factors that can influence the course of illness. In other words, that will make the illness more or less severe over a person's lifetime.
Certain factors do stand out as being more likely associated with a more malignant course of illness. Those factors include substance abuse, alcohol abuse, erratic sleep-wake schedules, and untreated medical conditions, such as thyroid disease.