Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bipolar Symptoms In Childhood And Adolescence

Are bipolar symptoms common among disorder in children?

Children and adolescents are prone to bipolar disorder especially in the case of children of parents who suffer from the disorder. While adults suffering from this disorder have clear indication of this problem with episodes clearly defined, in the case of children, they suffer from frequent bouts of mood swings and mania in a single day.

They also show more of destructive tantrums and bouts of severe irritation. With regards to youth, they show mixed symptoms whereas those who are little grown up like older adolescents show indications of more typical, adult-type episodes and symptoms.

Usually among children and adolescents it becomes difficult to diagnose the problem as they usually go through similar phases during this age group like irritation, tantrums. It is important that correct and successful treatment is administered for treating symptoms. They should be monitored and treated by a qualified mental health therapist.


Bipolar disorder is found to affect an estimated 1-2 percent of adults worldwide. However, statistics of cases among children and adolescent is not clear. It is believed that some children in the United States with ADHD (attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity) have shown indication of symptoms. Also, depression among children and adolescent tends to become quite severe and relapsing. A considerable amount of children out of 3.4 children and adolescent in United States with depression due to broken family or physical abuse might have early stages of bipolar symptoms.

Bipolar symptoms in children are seen as early as infancy. Mothers of such infants have reported that it was very difficult for them to control them due to their restlessness and sleep disorders. They also showed bipolar symptoms of being uncontrollable, throwing seizure like tantrums or anger. They were not ready to accept a `no' for any of their requests. These infants were later diagnosed to have bipolar disorder.

Children and young adolescents with the illness often experience bipolar symptoms of very fast mood swings between depression and mania many times within a day. They also tend to have relentless state of severe elation or agitation along with high energy called mania. Those showing symptoms of extreme sadness or irritability along with low energy are known to have depression. Children tend to show rapid and extreme cycling between mood swings leading to chronic irritability and few periods of normalcy between episodes.

Some common behavioral symptoms mentioned by parents of children have bipolar symptoms are:

o Extremely mood swings

o Lack of interest in outdoor activities

o Changes in the mood lasting for a short or long period

o Destructive anger

o Clinging to parents

o Rebelliousness

o Hyperactivity and distraction

o Lack of sleep or more sleep

o Irregular food habits and hunger pangs

o Bedwetting

o Hallucinations and delusions

o Illogical thinking

o Lack of interpersonal skills

Diagnosis for bipolar symptoms among children can be done using the technique of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV) criteria which can be done for any age group. Children or adolescents with emotional and behavioral symptoms should be assessed by a physician dealing with mental health among children. Children or adolescent having suicidal tendency needs to be treated immediately for bipolar symptoms.

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