Question: Is it true that children who lose a parent early in life or have other kinds of traumatic life events have an increased risk of developing bipolar disorder?
Answer: It has been established that trauma of general kinds of trauma, not just specific trauma, but general kinds of trauma can lead to the development of mood disorders.
But it doesn't have to be specifically bipolar disorder, there have been studies that have looked at, for example, certain genetic predispositions that people have, and as a child, if you have this genetic predisposition, and you had a traumatic event, then you are much more likely to develop depression.
We think the same type of development exists for bipolar disorder but it doesn't have to something specific like the loss of a parent.
In fact, there have been a few studies that looked at parental loss early in life and found that it did not increase your risk for bipolar disorder per se, but it did increase your risk for females to develop major depression.