This disorder can be hard to diagnose in children and teens. The symptoms
can look a lot like the symptoms of other problems, such as:
Bipolar disorder can often occur
along with these problems.
If your doctor thinks your child or
teen may have bipolar disorder, he or she may ask questions about your child's
feelings and behavior. Your doctor may also give you and your child written
tests to find out how severe the mania or depression is.
The doctor may do
other tests (such as a blood test) to rule out other health problems. He or she
may ask if your family has any history of mental illness or problems with drugs
or alcohol. Any of these problems can be linked to bipolar disorder.
Children with this disorder are more likely to have other problems. These
alcohol and drug abuse, trouble in school, running
away from home, fighting, and even suicide. Treating the disorder as early as
possible may keep your child from having these problems.
the warning signs of suicide, which change with age.
Warning signs of suicide in children and teens may
include thinking too much about death or suicide. Watch also for things that
can trigger a suicide attempt such as a recent breakup of a relationship or the
loss of a parent or close family member through death or divorce.
The mood changes that come
bipolar disorder can be a challenge. But with the
right treatment, they can be managed well. Treatment usually includes both
medicine (such as mood stabilizers) and
An important part of
treatment is making sure your child takes his or her medicine. Children and
teens with this disorder sometimes stop taking their medicines when they feel
better. But without medicine, their symptoms usually come back.
Medicines for bipolar disorder in adults have been well studied. But more
research is being done on how the medicines work and if they are safe
for children and teens.