Bipolar disorder can occur in children even at the young age of six. Although the percentage of children having the disorder is much lower than adults, adolescents tend to be more prone to it. Some mania-specified symptoms can be seen in children who show that they are suffering from bipolar disorder.
Children often have elated moods, grandiose behaviors, flight of ideas, decreased need for sleep and hyper sexuality. These symptoms occur mainly in mania and are common in bipolar disorders. Children sometimes laugh hysterically and behave as if they are infectiously happy with much reason. These symptoms could occur at home, in the school or anywhere.
Grandiose behaviors of children can be explained when they believe that they are very smart and no rules pertain to them. They are convinced that they can perform superhuman acts without anything happening to them. Children have flight of ideas when they move from one subject to another in quick succession. Sometimes it has no relevance to their surroundings.
Some children can sleep for just four to eight hours and still not be tired the next day. Playing on the computer or just rearranging furniture could be their activities when they stay up late. Hyper sexuality occurs often in adolescents who use explicit sexual language or act flirtatious beyond their years.
There are several drugs which are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of bipolar disorder in children. But there are many side effects which are particularly evident and troublesome for children. Children put on a lot of weight due to some drugs and weight gain could always lead to further glucose problems like diabetes or heart problems.
Some medication in children may cause infertility and even abnormalities. The medications are effective to prevent future episodes of mania and depression which would have led to suicide. But they can affect the thyroid and even the kidneys.
Hence it is important to monitor the development of serious side effects in children. The side effects and the dangers of the manic-depressive illness itself have to be weighed against each other, and the medication can be changed if any drastic changes are seen.
Unfortunately children take much longer to recover from bipolar disorder than adults. Children sometimes suffer from this illness for months or years. Often it can have an impact on their educational achievement, and hence the teachers should be made aware of the diagnosis, so that they can give special treatment to such children in school.
Suicide is a big risk with children, especially adolescents. All talk about not wanting to live or feeling neglected should be taken seriously. In a moment of depression a child can hang himself in the shower, shoot himself or complete suicide by some other means.
An early diagnosis and treatment can offer the best chance for children with bipolar disorder to achieve stability in life and gain the best possible level of wellness. Only then can they grow up and enjoy life and build up their strengths. Proper treatment can definitely reduce the effects of the illness on the patients and the people who surround them.