In the past, people considered bipolar disorder in children as an unusual occurrence. However, in today’s world, this is becoming known that bipolar usually presents in children and adolescents. The diagnostic process of bipolar disorder in children is complex as well. The specific presentation which typifies pediatric bipolar can lead to diagnostic confusion even the critical impact of bipolar on the psychological plus psychosocial development of a child.
Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Children:
Experts call bipolar mood changes ‘mood episodes’. A child may go through depressive episodes, manic episodes, or even mixed episodes. The mixed episodes have both depressive and manic symptoms. Teenagers and children with bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer from mixed episodes than matures and adults with this mood disorder.
A child or an adolescent having a manic episode usually:
- Feels so happy, or acts silly in such a way that is not usual.
- Has a short temper.
- Talks fast about many more different things.
- Has trouble sleeping, but doesn’t feel tired.
- Has trouble concentrating.
- Talks and thinks about sex very often.
- Does lots of risky things.
A child or an adolescent having a depressive episode usually:
- Feels very sad.
- Complains about pain more often, such as headaches, stomachaches, etc.
- Sleep too much, or even too little.
- Feels guilty as well as worthless.
- Eats too much, or even too little.
- Is not interested in fun activities, and has little energy.
- Thinks about suicide.
Illnesses Those May Co-exist in Children with Bipolar Disorder
- Alcoholism: Adults those who suffer from bipolar disorder are at risk of taking drugs and alcohol. Children with bipolar might have the same risk.
- ADHD: ADHD and mania share several symptoms, like hyperactivity, distractibility, and a propensity to engage in risky, impulsive behavior. Mania is usually episodic, and, so, a child’s behaviors can be uncharacteristic. These start at a time as a child is going through a dramatic change in his/ her mood. Lots of children with bipolar may have a history of ADHD as well.
- Anxiety Disorders: Some anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety and separation anxiety may also co-occur in both adults and children with bipolar disorders.
- Other Mental Disorders: Some other mental disorders may cause symptoms those are similar to bipolar. The best example could be a major depression, and sometimes, it is called ‘unipolar depression’. At times, it is actually very difficult to differentiate the major depression from the depressive episode in bipolar. That is exactly why, in case your child suffers from bipolar disorder as well as becomes depressed, make sure that your doctor is conscious of the past manic episodes, or symptoms your child might have had.
How You Can Help Your Child
Help your child get the accurate diagnosis, plus treatment.
Here are some good things you can do to make your child feel better:
- Give your teen confidence to talk.
- Listen to your child very carefully.
- Try to understand his/ her mood episodes.
- Help him/ her participate in fun activities.
- Make your teen understand that treatment will help him/ her get better.
Medications and Therapy:
In children, it is so difficult to classify different episodes of depression and mania. Various kinds of medications could assist to back them. A child may respond to meds in diverse ways, therefore, the sort of medication relies on the child. On the other hand psychotherapy or “talk” therapy could help children those who suffer from bipolar disorder.
It could be worrying, upsetting, and challenging for parents of children with bipolar to take care of their children. They commonly create many problems, such as risky activities as well as short tempers. When you notice these types of activities in your loving child, don’t be late to call your family doctor, or admit your child in a hospital.