A family study of bipolar I disorder in adolescence. Early onset of symptoms linked to increased familial loading and lithium resistance

J Affect Disord. 1988 Nov-Dec;15(3):255-68. doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(88)90023-7.


Lifetime rates of psychiatric illness were compared in relatives of adolescent probands with bipolar I disorder and in relatives of age-matched schizophrenic controls. Familial aggregation of major affective disorders was observed in bipolar probands, the rate of bipolar I disorder greatly exceeding that reported in relatives of adult bipolar probands. Adolescent probands with childhood onset of psychiatric disturbance were distinguished from probands who had no premorbid childhood psychiatric abnormality in two ways: (1) significantly increased aggregation of bipolar I disorder in first-degree relatives; and (2) poorer antimanic response to lithium carbonate. These data underscore important heterogeneity in adolescent-onset bipolar disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / genetics*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / genetics


  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Lithium