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Causes of bipolar disorder include genetic, physiological, and environmental. Genetic studies suggest that there are chromosomal regions and candidate genes linked to the development of bipolar disorder.

The first genetic linkage was established in 1969, which produced a finding for mania. However, the linkage studies have been inconsistent. Advanced paternal age has been linked to the potential chance of bipolar disorder and the increasing of new genetic mutations.

Physiological causes reveal much about the abnormalities in the structure and function of the brain circuits. MRI findings suggest that abnormal modulation between two regions, the prefrontal and the limbic, contribute to mood symptoms.

Environmental conditions play a significant part in the development of bipolar disorder and may interact with genetic dispositions. There is consistent evidence that link recent life data and interpersonal relationships as major contributors to the likelihood of onset and recurring bipolar mood episodes.