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Bipolar disorder in children: Is it possible?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder-in-children/AN01470
- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
Tests and diagnosis (1)
- Bipolar disorder in children: Is it possible?
- Bipolar disorder and alcoholism: Are they related?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Bipolar treatment: Are bipolar I and bipolar II treated differently?
- Bipolar medications and weight gain
Bipolar disorder in children: Is it possible?
Is bipolar disorder in children possible? Most of what I've read says bipolar disorder develops in adults.
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Bipolar disorder in children is possible. It's most often diagnosed in older children and adolescents, but bipolar disorder can occur in children of any age. As in adults, bipolar disorder in children can cause mood swings from the highs of hyperactivity or euphoria (mania) to the lows of serious depression.
Emotional upheaval and unruly behaviors are a normal part of childhood and adolescence, and in most cases they aren't a sign of a mental health problem that needs treatment. All kids have rough periods — it's normal to feel down, angry, hyperactive or rebellious at times. However, if your child's symptoms are severe, ongoing or causing significant problems, it may be more than just a phase.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in children:
- Sudden mood swings that may occur several times a day — for example, your child may be giddy and talkative one minute, explode in anger the next, and then cry for hours
- Hyperactive, impulsive, aggressive or inappropriate behavior
- Sexual promiscuity, alcohol or drug abuse, and reckless behavior in older children and teens
Keep in mind, a number of other childhood disorders cause bipolar-like symptoms, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, anxiety and major depression. To make diagnosis even more complicated, these and other mental health conditions often occur along with bipolar disorder. It may take years to pinpoint the cause or causes of your child's extreme moods or behaviors.
If your child has serious mood swings, depression or behavior problems, consult a mental health provider who specializes in children. Mood and behavior issues caused by bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions can lead to major problems. Early treatment can help prevent serious consequences and decrease the impact of mental health problems on your child as he or she gets older.Next question
Bipolar disorder and alcoholism: Are they related?
- Horst RA. Diagnostic issues in childhood bipolar disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2009;32:71.
- Bipolar disorder in children and teens. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/bipolar_disorder_in_children_and_teens. Accessed Sept. 3, 2010.
- Bostic JQ, et al. Mood disorders. In: Stern TA, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/217644936-3/0/1657/630.html?tocnode=57544089&fromURL=630.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-04743-2..X5001-X--section16_1864. Accessed Sept. 3, 2010.