Hello Everyone, I hope your doing well. Children can suffer from Bi Polar Disorder as well as adults. It is crucial to know the signs if there is a family history. At the same time it is a fine line between normal childhood behavior and what is not. So it can be difficult to diagnose. I feel the most important sign to watch for is that the symptoms last for long periods of time, then you would need to consult a Doctor for an evaluation, especially where they are at risk for suicidal behavior.
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Youth with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.
Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are described below.
Symptoms of mania include:
* Mood Changes
* Being in an overly silly or joyful mood that's unusual for your child.
It is different from times when he or she might usually get silly and have fun.
* Having an extremely short temper. This is an irritable mood that is unusual.
* Sleeping little but not feeling tired
* Talking a lot and having racing thoughts
* Having trouble concentrating, attention jumping from one thing to the next in an unusual way
* Talking and thinking about sex more often
* Behaving in risky ways more often, seeking pleasure a lot, and doing more activities than usual.
Symptoms of depression include:
* Mood Changes
* Being in a sad mood that lasts a long time
* Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
* Feeling worthless or guilty.
* Complaining about pain more often, such as headaches, stomach aches, and muscle pains
* Eating a lot more or less and gaining or losing a lot of weight
* Sleeping or oversleeping when these were not problems before
* Losing energy
* Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
It's normal for almost every child or teen to have some of these symptoms sometimes. These passing changes should not be confused with bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are not like the normal changes in mood and energy that everyone has now and then. Bipolar symptoms are more extreme and tend to last for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one week. Also, depressive or manic episodes include moods very different from a child's normal mood, and the behaviors described in the chart above may start at the same time. Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder are so severe that the child needs to be treated in a hospital.
In addition to mania and depression, bipolar disorder can cause a range of moods, as shown on the scale below. One side of the scale includes severe depression, moderate depression, and mild low mood. Moderate depression may cause less extreme symptoms, and mild low mood is called dysthymia when it is chronic or long-term. In the middle of the scale is normal or balanced mood.
Sometimes, a child may have more energy and be more active than normal, but not show the severe signs of a full-blown manic episode. When this happens, it is called hypomania, and it generally lasts for at least four days in a row. Hypomania causes noticeable changes in behavior, but does not harm a child's ability to function in the way mania does.
How does bipolar disorder affect children and teens differently than adults?
Bipolar disorder that starts during childhood or during the teen years is called early-onset bipolar disorder. Early-onset bipolar disorder seems to be more severe than the forms that first appear in older teens and adults. Youth with bipolar disorder are different from adults with bipolar disorder. Young people with the illness appear to have more frequent mood switches, are sick more often, and have more mixed episodes.
Watch out for any sign of suicidal thinking or behaviors. Take these signs seriously. On average, people with early-onset bipolar disorder have greater risk for attempting suicide than those whose symptoms start in adulthood. One large study on bipolar disorder in children and teens found that more than one-third of study participants made at least one serious suicide attempt. Some suicide attempts are carefully planned and others are not. Either way, it is important to understand that suicidal feelings and actions are symptoms of an illness that must be treated.