A new medical study at Concordia University shows a link between parents who have bipolar disorder and risky sexual behaviors in their offspring. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder, and children whose parents have this condition have a higher risk of developing psychosocial behaviors. This is very evident when it comes to risky sexual practices and behaviors, and risk taking can be a symptom of bipolar disorder. Individuals with this condition tend to experience extreme emotional states, bouncing between extreme highs called mania and extreme lows which can lead to depression and despair.
According to Dr. Mark Ellenbogen, a psychology professor, “Risky sexual behavior falls along the spectrum of general externalizing behaviors, like delinquency and aggression. We know it is predicted by externalizing behaviors in middle childhood. In psychiatry, we tend to treat the patient — there’s never any evaluation of their family or kids or partners. Across my career, I’ve been saying that’s the wrong way of looking at the issues. The children of BD patients are at high risk of developing a number of psychiatric and psychosocial problems. We need to think about interventions that will work for all members of the family.”
Dr. Ellenbogen continued by saying “These parents need additional help in organizing family life, parenting, dealing with spouses, and coping with stress. The ultimate goal is to reduce the levels of stress in the family, which we believe will then reduce negative outcomes in their children.” The study results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.