If either the mother or father is affected by bipolar disorder then it is advisable to keep stress in check, according to a Concordia University study.
The study suggests that the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ is a key player in the mood disorder and children of bipolar parents may be overly sensitive to stress.
“Previous research has shown that children of parents with bipolar disorder are four times as likely to develop mood disorders as those from parents without the condition," says Mark Ellenbogen, senior author, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychopathology at Concordia University.
The study shows that when exposed to either type of stress, children of parents with bipolar disorder showed a greater increase in cortisol than those of parents without the disorder.
“Our study demonstrates that affected children are biologically more sensitive to the experience of stress in their natural and normal environment compared to their peers," says Ellenbogen.
The study has been published in Psychological Medicine.