Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
* Does your child go through intense mood changes?
* What is bipolar disorder?
* Who develops bipolar disorder?
* How is bipolar disorder different in children and teens than it is in adults?
* What causes bipolar disorder?
* What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
* Do children and teens with bipolar disorder have other problems?
* How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
* How is bipolar disorder treated?
* What can children and teens expect from treatment?
* How can I help my child or teen?
* How does bipolar disorder affect parents and family?
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The illness can also be dangerous. Some young people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.
Children and teens with bipolar disorder should get treatment. With help, they can manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.
Who develops bipolar disorder?
Anyone can develop bipolar disorder, including children and teens. However, most people with bipolar disorder develop it in their late teen or early adult years. The illness usually lasts a lifetime.
How is bipolar disorder different in children and teens than it is in adults?
When children develop the illness, it is called early-onset bipolar disorder. This type can be more severe than bipolar disorder in older teens and adults. Also, young people with bipolar disorder may have symptoms more often and switch moods more frequently than adults with the illness.
What causes bipolar disorder?
Several factors may contribute to bipolar disorder, including:
* Genes, because the illness runs in families. Children with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder are more likely to get the illness than other children.
* Abnormal brain structure and brain function.
* Anxiety disorders. Children with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop bipolar disorder.
The causes of bipolar disorder aren't always clear. Scientists are studying it to find out more about possible causes and risk factors. This research may help doctors predict whether a person will get bipolar disorder. One day, it may also help doctors prevent the illness in some people.
What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
Bipolar mood changes are called "mood episodes." Your child may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or "mixed" episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. Children and teens with bipolar disorder may have more mixed episodes than adults with the illness.
Mood episodes last a week or two—sometimes longer. During an episode, the symptoms last every day for most of the day.
Mood episodes are intense. The feelings are strong and happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels.
Children and teens having a manic episode may:
* Feel very happy or act silly in a way that's unusual
* Have a very short temper
* Talk really fast about a lot of different things
* Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired
* Have trouble staying focused
* Talk and think about sex more often
* Do risky things.
Children and teens having a depressive episode may:
* Feel very sad
* Complain about pain a lot, like stomachaches and headaches
* Sleep too little or too much
* Feel guilty and worthless
* Eat too little or too much
* Have little energy and no interest in fun activities
* Think about death or suicide.
Do children and teens with bipolar disorder have other problems?
Bipolar disorder in young people can co-exist with several problems.
* Substance abuse. Both adults and kids with...