Bipolar disorder is a serious condition where a person’s mood can swing from feeling veryhappy or “up” to very sad and “down.” The “up” mood is known as a manic episode and the “down” mood is called a depressive episode. The fluctuation between the two of these moods can cause a child to be hyper productive one moment and show signs of depression the next. While it can be diagnosed in children, it is usually developed later during the teen years or early adulthood.
Bipolar usually lasts a lifetime. There is no known cause for bipolar disorder. Children with bipolar disorder can also have other problems including: substance abuse problems, ADHD and Anxiety disorders. Suicidal thoughts can also be a problem.
Only a professional therapist or physican can officially diagnose bipolar disorder. However, here are some signs: Severe temper outbursts that are verbal, or aggressive behavior toward others and things. The temper outbursts occur three or more times a week and are inconsistent with a child or teens age. Irritable mood that changes without warning. Extreme sadness or lack of interest in things. Rapidly changing moods that can last for long periods of time. Rage. Hyperactivity, agitation, and distractibility. Sleep problems. Impaired judgment, impulsivity, racing thoughts, and pressure to keep talking. Poor decision making skills and impaired judgment with reckless behavior. Possible promiscuous behavior may be a signal as well.
In the event the preceeding symptoms should be observed in a child or teen, a medical professional should be consulted. They will be able to assess whether these symptoms are possibly due to a different cause. Remember, children are still growing and developing and this may cause some of these symptoms. It’s also important to understand there are different kinds of bipolar. A medical professional will help determine what treatment would be best suited. Treatment for bipolar disorder can be done with medicine and therapy. Usually a skills based approach with the parent and child will be helpful as well.