Q:  Can Sexual Abuse Cause Bipolar Disorder?

I was told that my pre-adopt Daughter could not have a genetic predisposition for Bi polar because it's thought that her Bio Mom has it due to early sexual child abuse.  Is this true?  Leda

Dear Leda -- 

Sexual abuse can make bipolar worse, but does not cause it (as best we understand that at this point).  If her bio-mom clearly has bipolar disorder, as opposed to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or dissociative disorder (also associated with trauma) -- both of which can look a lot like "bipolar" -- ... ahem, so if her bio-mom clearly has BP, then there is a genetic risk

Dr. Phelps

Published April, 2001