Bipolar Kids Suffer as Adults, Too
Study Shows Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder May Continue in Adulthood
WebMD News Archive
"The study provides validation that the illness continues into adulthood
in a very large proportion of the children, and unfortunately like adults with
the disease, they have a high rate of substance dependence," says
"This is important for clinicians giving data to parents," continues
Geller. "The first question parents ask when their children are diagnosed
is if their children will have the illness as adults. Now we can say we have to
keep being very vigilant and keep following the children."
The study concluded that the severity and chronic nature of this disorder
highlights the need for a greater effort toward understanding the neurobiology
behind the disease and for developing prevention and intervention
Gary Sachs, MD, the director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at
Massachusetts General Hospital, agrees that the study provides vital
information for moving the conversation about
childhood bipolar disorder forward.
"The article is important because it suggests that there are a fair
number of detectable cases in children and that a number of them continue to
express the illness after adulthood," says Sachs. "We all have to
recognize that these kids are out there, and now that we say they exist, let's
identify them appropriately with a formal diagnostic process."
The study also provides an important foundation for future research, writes
Ellen Leibenluft, MD, of the National Institute of Mental Health, in an
editorial that accompanied the study.
"The publication reflects our field's continuing efforts to nurture
development conceptualizations of psychiatric illnesses," she writes.
"Such conceptualizations hold the hope of fostering work that will allow us
to treat youth with bipolar disorder more effectively and eventually give us
the knowledge base needed to prevent the onset of bipolar disorder in youth at