Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Other Information

Seeking information on childhood bipolar disorder?

An increasing number of children have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder over the last decade. In part, this may be due to a greater awareness - in both the medical community and the general public - of the condition, leading to earlier diagnosis.

In the past, as with conditions like autism and ADHD, children with the disorder received labels as “bad seeds”, and the symptoms were attributed to poor parenting techniques or simple defiant behavioral issues. Experts now recognize bipolar disorder as a chronic brain condition which affects not only mood, energy and thinking, but may also have long term effects on cognition, metabolism, and other primary body systems.

In pediatric or childhood bipolar disorder, symptoms begin to become apparent early in life, with some documented cases in preschoolers. At this point in time, the exact prevalence of the disorder in children remains unknown, as it can be a challenging disorder to diagnose and treat.

Furthermore, childhood bipolar disorder affects individual children differently, and responses to treatments may vary a great deal. For some children, the frequency, intensity and duration of manic and depressive episodes can be debilitating, while for others, they interfere with some social interactions, but appear to be more manageable.

Share YOUR Knowledge and Experiences
or Read Others' Contributions

Click here for more pages and articles on Bipolar Disorder.

A note about Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Other Information

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

Some studies suggest that because the brain continues to develop until the 25th year, bipolar disorder can permanently affect the shape, size and function of certain parts of the brain and its neurotransmitter networks. In addition, as the brain matures, symptoms may also vary.

Certain disorders can also co-occur with bipolar disorder, especially in children, making diagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder even more complicated, as some can mask the underlying bipolar condition. These include: attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and seizure disorders like Tourette’s syndrome.

In fact, some experts estimate that up to 85% of children with childhood bipolar disorder also have ADHD. In addition, some children have been misdiagnosed as having ADHD with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other conditions, when in fact they have bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression) and have not yet expressed a clearly manic episode. Often, these children receive stimulants or antidepressants that may actually worsen their condition.

Experts have not yet reached consensus as to whether children with chronic irritability and clear mood swings, but without mania, should be classified as having bipolar disorder. Additionally, unlike adults, children with childhood bipolar disorder tend to rapidly cycle between manic and depressive state, sometimes within the same day, while for adults, manic and depressive states can be spread out over a period of days or weeks, with depressive states lasting more than a week.

Almost all children with childhood bipolar disorder have certain personality or temperament traits in common - they can be obstinate and oppositional, can be extraordinarily irritable, and almost all experience episodes of explosive and violent rage. Tantrums occur well into the pre-teens, and the child may act out physically, punching, kicking and throwing objects.

Certain symptoms, like the need for very little sleep during manic episodes, may even be present in infancy. The infant appears excessively active, restless, and irritable when compared to other infants the same age.

As the child grows older, many parents notice that he / she displays very precocious, energetic, and creative tendencies that appear well beyond the child’s years. Intense, almost super-human creativity and rapid thought processes are hallmarks of the manic condition.

However, a bipolar child’s symptoms will share many similarities with the manic and depressive states of adult sufferers. During manic episodes of childhood bipolar disorder, the child may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Experience extreme or uncharacteristic euphoria (elevated mood) - often in inappropriate circumstances (giggling repeatedly and uncontrollably during a solemn religious service, for example)
  • Feeling of grandiosity, superiority, or invincibility (for example, actually believing that they can fly and trying to jump out of windows)
  • Racing thoughts or talkative / hyperactive chatter
  • Irritability or hostility
  • Excessive distractibility - rapidly moving from one idea to the next, unable to complete one task at a time
  • Decreased need for sleep without experiencing daytime fatigue
  • Excessive involvement in risky or daredevil activities; frequent lapses or demonstration of poor judgment or lack of thought to consequences of actions
  • Hallucinations and psychosis
  • At least three symptoms in addition to elevated mood must be present.

During depression of childhood bipolar disorder, signs and symptoms will include:

  • Lack of joy and pleasure in life
  • Withdrawal from formerly enjoyable activities
  • Sullenness or agitation
  • Overwhelming sadness and / or crying jags
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Poor school performance, lack of interest
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Aches and pains, especially manifested as headaches, backaches or stomachaches
  • Preoccupied thoughts of death and suicide

Much research seems to show that childhood bipolar disorder appears to be more severe, with a longer and more complicated road to recovery than may be seen in adult-onset bipolar disorder. For many children, bipolar disorder becomes a lifelong struggle between mania and depression, becoming a continuous cycle over many months and years.

Read More: More on Bipolar Disorder | Natural Health Remedies for Various Ailments and Conditions | Home Page | Site Search

Are you married to a bipolar spouse or in a relationship with someone suffering from the disorder? Click here for a help manual that you may need.

Click here to learn more about the 4-step "Joy Equation" to help cure your depression without drugs.

Click here for natural, herbal and homeopathic remedies for bipolar disorder.

Get Quality Natural Health Supplements at Reasonable Prices. $5 or $10 discount for new customers

Get natural, herbal and
homeopathic remedies
for hundreds of
health conditions and ailments. GO.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read. Leave a comment in the box below.

Some Related Bipolar Disorder Pages

Click here for more pages and articles on Bipolar Disorder.

Return from this page to Natural Health Remedies, Natural Health Cures, Organic Remedies & Organic Cures

Return from this page Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Diagnosis, Symptoms, and Other Information to All 4 Natural Health... attaining good health naturally... Home Page

Get Quality Natural Health Supplements at Affordable Prices. $5 or $10 discount for new customers

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Quality Natural Health Supplements at a Reasonable Price - iHerb Coupon and Referral Code

Follow this site

Site Search

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

This website's content must not be reproduced or republished without express permission.

Site Search

The information provided on this website is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.
It is to be taken as suggestions or educational material and not to be considered professional advice.

Copyright© 2007-2014 All Rights Reserved.
Home | Links & Resources | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Subscribe to E-zine | Site Search | Contact Us
Return to top