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Bipolar Parents More Likely to Have Promiscuous Kids

Update Date: Jun 10, 2014 11:25 PM EDT

New research reveals that children of parents with bipolar disorder are more likely to commit suicide, self-harm, smoke, and engage in criminal risky sexual behavior.

According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder is one of the ten hardest medical conditions to treat, with sufferers suffering dramtic highs of extreme euphoria, racing thoughts and decreased need for sleep, as well as its overpowering lows of sadness and despair.

Previous studies reveal that people with parents with bipolar disease at are greater risk of developing mental disorders, and the latest study revealed that children are more likely to harm themselves.

The latest study, which assessed the psychosocial implications of children raised by parents with bipolar disorder without mental disorder, were between the ages of four to 12 until early adulthood. Researchers assessed suicidal behavior, self-harm, smoking, criminal behavior and risky sexual behavior.

Researchers found that the more significantly difference between both groups was risky sexual behavior.

"Risky sexual behaviour falls along the spectrum of general externalizing behaviours, like delinquency and aggression. We know it is predicted by externalizing behaviours in middle childhood," Mark Ellenbogen, a psychology professor at Concordia University and member of Concordia's Centre for Research in Human Development, said in a news release.

"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," Ellenbogen added. "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."

"These parents need additional help in organizing family life, parenting, dealing with spouses and coping with stress," Ellenbogen concluded. "The ultimate goal is to reduce the levels of stress in the family, which we believe will then reduce negative outcomes in their children."

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