Insights for families

Families of people with bipolar disorder may also be affected by the disorder. This topic assesses the impact on the family unit, and also cognitive and physiological alterations in relatives.

Cognition in relatives

How is cognition relevant to relatives of people with bipolar disorder? Cognitive deficits have been reported in people with bipolar disorder that are present early in the course of the disorder and may be stable over time. Relatives may show attenuated signs of cognitive deficits. If cognitive deficits found in people with bipolar disorder are also found in their relatives, this may be suggestive of an underlying genetic basis. What is the evidence for cognition in relatives of people with bipolar disorder? High quality evidence suggests small to medium-sized effects of poorer processing speed, verbal fluency, executive functioning (speed tasks),…

Familial coaggregation

What is familial coaggregation? Familial coaggregation is the rate of related disorders found in a family. Many studies have suggested a fundamental association between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Many family studies have investigated the possibility of this association by assessing whether schizophrenia and bipolar disorder diagnoses may cluster within the same extended family. What is the evidence for familial coaggregation? Moderate to low quality evidence suggests high familial coaggregation of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, with first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia or bipolar showing an increased risk of developing either disorder. April 2019

Impact on families

How does bipolar disorder impact on families? A diagnosis of bipolar disorder can have considerable impact not only on the affected individual, but also on the people closest to them. Sometimes families experience different types of burden, particularly during acute phases of the illness. Burden is considered in terms of objective effects, such as illness severity or financial strain, but also in terms of subjective effects, such as the emotional impact of the illness on family members. As most caregivers are family members, the evidence regarding caregivers is reported in this family topic. What is the evidence regarding impact on…

Physical anomalies in relatives

How are physical anomalies relevant to relatives of people with bipolar disorder? Relatives of people with bipolar disorder may show attenuated signs of the illness, such as physical features commonly identified with the disorder. These may include structural and/or functional anomalies as well as sleep disturbances. What is the evidence for physical anomalies in relatives? Moderate quality evidence suggests a medium-sized effect of lower amplitude of the sleep-wake cycle in people with bipolar disorder than in relatives. Low quality evidence is unclear of brain anomalies in relatives of people with bipolar disorder compared to controls. April 2019

Psychopathology in relatives

How is psychopathology relevant to relatives of people with bipolar disorder? Due to the significant genetic loading of bipolar disorder, first-degree relatives of people with bipolar disorder may also show signs of psychopathology. What is the evidence for psychopathology in families of people with schizophrenia? Moderate to high quality evidence suggests a large increased risk of bipolar disorder in first-degree relatives of people with bipolar disorder. There is also a medium-sized increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder, and a small increased risk of a substance use disorder in relatives. Moderate quality evidence suggests…

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.