Is It My Fault I Have Bipolar Disorder?

September 2, 2021 Natasha Tracy

If you have bipolar disorder, there's a good chance you've wondered, "Is it my fault I have bipolar disorder?" In my experience, most of us wonder this at some point, usually early after diagnosis -- I know I certainly did. There are multiple reasons this seems to come up for people. If you're wondering if your bipolar disorder is your fault, read on.

Why Do People Wonder, 'Is Bipolar Disorder My Fault?'

When you get a bipolar disorder diagnosis, people often look for a why. As in, why do I have bipolar disorder? Searching for "why" is human. We do it because we want things to make sense, and we want to assign blame for something so tragic. We want to believe there is a "why" for everything. We want to understand the logic of life. We want to believe things happen for a reason.

Watch the following for my thoughts on everything happening for a reason.

I think it's also important to recognize, though, many people are depressed when they ask the question, "Is it my fault I have bipolar disorder?" This question may immediately be resolved in the person's head with refrains of, "Yes, it's my fault."

What this shows is the presence of guilt -- and inordinate guilt can be a symptom of depression. So, in short, if you're feeling guilty for your bipolar disorder, consider that it's just the depression talking.

Answering 'Is Bipolar Disorder My Fault?'

Bipolar disorder is a very complex disease and what the research shows is that it can be thought of as a bio-psycho-social illness.1 This means that there are biological, psychological, and environmental factors that, together, cause bipolar disorder (not all three are required). For example, you might have some genes related to bipolar disorder, along with a susceptible personality trait, and have gone through a trauma, perhaps when you were young. All these factors together may have resulted in you developing bipolar disorder. The thing you need to realize, though, is no matter your genes, personality, or experience, bipolar disorder is not your fault. You did not ask for this illness. You did not ask for your genes. You did not ask for your life experiences. Yes, there are things you can do to mitigate the illness: medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, coping skills, etc., and those are your responsibility. But the fault for bipolar just simply isn't yours.  


  1. PsychDB, "Biopsychosocial Model and Case Formulation." Updated May 2021.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, September 2). Is It My Fault I Have Bipolar Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Willie Marie Vaughn
May, 27 2022 at 11:51 pm

Bipolar and sexual promiscuity.
Why , when , where , many who’s and what have I done. I hate myself. I want to die.

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