Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens - When To Call a Doctor
Call911or other emergency services immediately if:
- Your child makes threats or attempts to harm
himself or herself or another person, or shows
warning signs of suicide.
- Your child hears
voices (has auditory
- You are a young person
and you feel you cannot stop from harming yourself or someone else.
Call your doctor if:
- Your child's depressive or manic mood
symptoms have not improved in 1 to 2 weeks.
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If
you think your child may have
bipolar disorder, watchful waiting is not appropriate.
Schedule an appointment with your child's doctor for evaluation.
Who To See
It is best to establish a long-term relationship with
your child's care providers so that when a depressive or manic episode occurs,
the care providers can recognize the changes in the child's behavior and
provide quick treatment advice.
may wish to find a doctor who has special training in children's mental health
conditions or experience treating bipolar disorder in young people. Bipolar
disorder can be diagnosed and treated by a health professional such as
Your child may also benefit from professional
counseling to help deal with mood changes and the
effects bipolar disorder has on your child's life. A counselor with special
training in child mood disorders or experience treating child bipolar disorder
may be most helpful. Counseling for bipolar disorder can be provided by
Other health professionals who also may be trained in
Who to see for family member support
If you are
a family member of a child with bipolar disorder, it is very important to get
the support and help you need. Living with or caring for someone who has
bipolar disorder can be very disruptive to your own life. Manic episodes can be
particularly difficult. It may be helpful to seek your own counselor or
therapist to help you.
Also, some national support organizations
may have a local chapter in your area or provide information on the Internet.
Examples of such groups include the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
(NAMI) and the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.