Can Meningococcal infection cause bipolar?

Q: Our son survived menengicocol meningitus at the age of 3 years. Now as a 20 year old, is stuggling to identify his exact source of depression and finding the appropriate medication. Knowing that he is not only fortunate to have survived the disease, & without loss of limb, in your opinion, is it possible that this kind of childhood trauma could leave him prone to bi polar/depression/mood disorders? Also, is it advisable to ask for a thyroid check if one has not been done?

Dear Allen --
In the interest of brevity: "yes" and "yes".  Head injury has been associated with bipolar onset, though we generally presume there is a genetic susceptibility.  I've not checked to see if severe infection could do it, but as any major stress can, and head injury per se can, I'd figure "yes".

Dr. Phelps


Published February, 2001