Nature or Nurture?

So a well asked question by many experiencing mental health conditions must be; Is this part of my make-up or is it because of life events?

I don’t think I’ve ever really dug deep on my thoughts on this one. I obviously have family members experiencing the same diagnosis, suggesting a hereditary link and I know this is the same for others. Ive studied psychology and the chemical wiring of the brain. I can look logically at a change in mood and its link to certain brain chemicals. I can understand how life events can cause a change or limitation in these brain chemicals over time and therefore why and how medication can have an affect.

I think that when asked the nature/nurture question I’ve often answered that I believe everyone has a chance of developing conditions but that some people (some gene pools?) appear to have a higher predisposition to such conditions.

But when I think about the specifics of Bipolar I think that my understanding either becomes too limited or too blurred by personal experience. Can anyone develop Bipolar? or is it specifically linked to a hereditary pattern of certain chemicals acting out? Do those diagnosed with Bipolar share a personality trait that tends towards the ups and downs? Was my brother always going to be the one of us three siblings who shared Bipolar with our Mum because that’s the way the genes rolled or because he was the most similar to our mum in personality? The genetic link in our family is an easy one to argue but I also remember so many times having people comment on my ability to “cope” with life, suggesting that my personality was my protector and something my twin brother didn’t share.  Arghhhhhhh – so many questions, so many possible answers.

What do you think? Are you alone in your family with Bipolar or is there a hereditary pattern? Do you experience similarities in people diagnosed with Bipolar or have you noticed an array of personalities as varied as the global population? I guess such thoughts then lead into the treatment of Bipolar and alters peoples views. Maybe that’s a discussion to be left till next time.

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