A child with
bipolar disorder experiences episodes of mania and
depression or mixed states, which can greatly interfere with daily functioning.
Typical symptoms include the following.
Mania may cause a child to:
Have severe mood changes, from being extremely
irritable to overly silly or happy.
Have inflated self-esteem or
Have very high energy and activity levels.
Have a decreased
need for sleep without tiring for days.
Talk too much or too fast,
changing topics rapidly.
Be easily distracted.
increased thoughts about sex or use of sexual language.
focused on reaching a goal or be physically agitated.
in risky behavior or activities.
Depression may cause a child to:
Be continuously sad or
Lose interest in daily activities or
Have a significant change in appetite or
Have difficulty sleeping or oversleep.
loss of energy.
Feel guilty or
Have difficulty concentrating.
recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
Manic children may be more irritable and prone to temper tantrums
than manic adults, who are more likely to be elated or have high energy during these
episodes. In a depressive episode, children may complain of headaches, muscle
aches, or stomachaches, or of being tired. They often miss school or talk about
running away from home. They become socially isolated and sensitive to any kind
of rejection or criticism. A child or teen with bipolar disorder may abuse
alcohol or drugs and have difficulty with relationships.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children may be confused with those
of other disorders, such as depression. These symptoms often occur along with
another disorder, such as
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Children who develop bipolar disorder before adolescence may have a
more severe form of the illness.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
March 9, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 09, 2010
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