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Can childrens and teens have bipolar disorder?

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Although bipolar disorder more commonly develops in older teenagers and young adults, it can appear in children as young as 6. It's become a controversial diagnosis, though.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in young children is difficult, because many of the symptoms are similar to those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or conduct disorders -- or even just normal, childhood behavior. Medications used for ADHD are often stimulants, which can potentially trigger mania in children with bipolar disorder.

Another diagnosis, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), has also been established to describe children ages 6-18 who have severe and persistent irritability and temper outbursts that don't meet conventional definitions of bipolar disorder.

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)."  WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment.  National Institute of Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."  Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.  MedicineNet: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."  WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression."  American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."






Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on July 12, 2018

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)."  WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment.  National Institute of Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."  Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program.  MedicineNet: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)."  WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression."  American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."






Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on July 12, 2018

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