Age of Onset

If I understand correct, few people are diagnosed with sz after age 30. What about bipolar? Can a person become bipolar at any age?

I don’t know.
I think that usually happens in the teens.

I’m not sure about onset. But it can go undx for many years. I think in lecture the nursing instructor said its not uncommon for middle aged men, like 40-50 to be dx as BP after a tumultuous divorce or something. She also said the average length of time to get a BP dx’s is like 20 years because its usually 1st dx as unipolar depression.

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From what I remember, bipolar is often included in the late adolescent/young adult incidences, but there is no neurodevelopmental cutoff of likelihood like with schizophrenia, which is in fact neurodevelopmental. That means it is at work before we know it, our brains were going down the wrong path the whole time ever since we were born.

I’m not too savvy on the causes of bipolar. I tend to avoid bipolar in my studies because I have a sibling with it and also because it is often comorbid with other disorders. That and I am a little frustrated with how many bipolar patients hold on to their mania. But I do not think they are all the same, I have met plenty of people with bipolar who owned up to it and were treatment compliant.

The thing is, people often think mania is fun. Bottom line, they don’t want to hear an objective standpoint that their three hours of sleep and overly positive mood is actually a problem, they think it is great. Even the most insightful bipolar patients have been known to fall prey to the mania. It’s like feeling like a superhero. They don’t think it’s bad, they feel like it’s the best thing ever and get agitated when told to behave normally. Too much of a good thing, like a little kid who thinks grape soda tastes orgasmic and keeps chugging grape soda without thinking “this is unhealthy” and when told “that’s unhealthy”, the kid throws a fit because it just tastes so good.

Living off of grape soda is not okay!

But vegetables and whole grains and fish or chicken sucks compared to grape soda in terms of taste. But it’s healthier. But is sucks compared to grape soda.

The thing is, schizophrenia often makes patients cry out in despair and reach out for help. It’s usually not pleasurable and instead is recognized by patients as “hell” or “waking nightmare”. Easier to get these people to comply with treatment.

The age 30 cutoff is overvalued for sz, unfortunately.

Bipolar tends to strike young, but I understand that many young people are misdiagnosed with unipolar depression, as the manic episodes may not present until the patient is older.


My father was diagnosed with depression in his mid-30s. When he was about 43 or so, it morphed into bipolar I. His father (my paternal grandfather) followed a similar path in the 1940-50s. Obviously, things were a lot different then, and he never sought treatment. He would have a hair-trigger, and would swing violently from depression to rage. He beat his kids and wife (my grandmother), and would go weeks without talking to his family. He mellowed out in his 60s, but was dropped by a heart attack before I was born.

Could the spike in sz in females from 30-38 be as a result of stress of not finding a match in the years leading up to menopause? Or other reason?

Bipolar can become apparent in childhood - But full blown Bipolar mood shifts usually hits hard in your early 20s.

It is unclear whether I suffer from Bipolar or Schizoaffective disorder, but I had mood symptoms, including manic and depressive episodes in my childhood.

It hit me hard when I was about 20 years old.

Someone thought estrogen acted as a buffer against sz, which is why there’s a spike as women approach menopause. I’ve seen other graphs where the spike is more pronounced and closer to 45.

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