Bipolar Disorder, also referred to as the manic-depressive illness, is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in the mood, activity levels and the energy. Bipolar disorder can occur in children as old as 6 years and is more common in older children and teens. Bipolar disorder in children has similar symptoms to ADHD or other behavioral disorders. Symptoms of a manic episode are: • Excessive happiness, irritability • Act very silly for their age • Do risky things • Talk very fast about anything • Sleep very less, but not be tired Children with a depressive episode may have symptoms like extreme sadness, very little or no sleep, complain of excessive headaches or stomach aches, feel very guilty or worthless, think and talk about suicide and have very less interest in activities.
HOW IS BIPOLAR DISORDER IN CHILDREN DIAGNOSED?
The psychiatrist can conduct a physical examination as well as thorough evaluation of the child’s behaviour in order to first detect symptoms related to the presence of ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Also, other blood tests and lab tests may be carried out for accurate diagnosis.
HOW IS BIPOLAR DISORDER IN CHILDREN TREATED?
Bipolar disorder in children is treated in various ways such as: • Medications like mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and antidepressants • Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family-focused therapy • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) • Self-management strategies and education • Complementary health approaches such as meditation, faith and prayer