Children with older fathers may have greater risk of bipolar disorder



People who are prescribed with Abilify for symptoms of bipolar disorder know that genetics and family history have a lot to do with the determination of a doctor's diagnosis.

People who are prescribed with Abilify for symptoms of bipolar disorder know that genetics and family history have a lot to do with the determination of a doctor's diagnosis. Now, researchers have discovered a new genetic trend that's increasing patients' risks of developing the condition.

A study conducted by scientists at Indiana University examined a hypothesis that questioned whether or not children born to older fathers are more likely to acquire bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. When comparing data of more than 2.6 million citizens from Sweden collected from 1973 to 2001, researchers noted an alarming correlation between those who had been admitted for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism, and the age of their fathers. The researchers found that a child born with a father 45 years of age or older is 3.5 times more likely to develop autism, 13 times more susceptive to inheriting ADHD and 25 times more prone to acquire bipolar disorder than compared to a child of a 24-year-old father.

Older dads were also found to have more secure financial situations and better home conditions, further suggesting that their children's conditions were conceived through genetics and not family or personal problems. Researchers also noted that the age of childbearing for both men and women has slightly increased over the past 40 years, with the average woman going up from 21.4 years to 25.4 at the time of her first birth, while men are generally found to be three years older.

Brian D'Onofrio, a lead author of the study and professor at Indiana University, was alarmed by his team's findings, especially since most of the past research on the subject had provided evidence that suggested otherwise.

"We were shocked by the findings," D'Onofrio said in a statement. "The specific associations with paternal age were much, much larger than in previous studies. In fact, we found that advancing paternal age was associated with greater risk for several problems, such as ADHD, suicide attempts and substance use problems, whereas traditional research designs suggested advancing paternal age may have diminished the rate at which these problems occur." 

Coping with the condition
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects more than 5.7 million American adults and can start showing symptoms anywhere from childhood to a person's late 40s, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Indicators that a child might be experiencing side effects of the condition include:

  • Increased anxiety and or sadness
  • Problems sleeping or constant fatigue
  • Concentration problems and poor school grades
  • Low or increased appetite
  • Loss of interest in hobbies they once found enjoyable

If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor today to see if Abilify or other Canadian drugs are right for you.