Pediatric bipolar disorder is a psychiatric and behavioral disorder triggered in the brain. It is characterized by fluctuations in mood and instances of sadness and depression. This manic-depressive disorder can affect children of all ages, with symptoms manifesting in children as young as three years old. A pediatrician or child psychologist can properly diagnose pediatric bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of pediatric bipolar disorder may differ in individual children. This condition is marked by neurodevelopmental symptoms that may affect the child's ability to function in social situations and in school. During stages of mood inconsistencies, the child may become overly excited and extremely animated. Bouts of incessant talking may occur, along with hyperactivity. The child may become distracted and his attention span may be significantly impaired.
During a manic episode, the child often suddenly becomes depressed and lethargic. He may show lack of interest in activities in which he had been formerly involved. He may also become prone to bouts of crying or temper tantrums. Some children become enraged, with episodes of violent outbursts. A feeling of despair and suicidal intentions may occur.
Other symptoms of pediatric bipolar disorder in the manic-depressive stage are loss of appetite and insomnia. There have been children as young as pre-school age affected by this disorder who have attempted to do bodily harm to themselves or to others. Such displays of violent behavior should not be ignored, and parents should not attempt to be treat the child themselves. Many experts agree that early intervention can help offset detrimental behavior. Although there is no known cure for bipolar in children, seeking help from a pediatric psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar disorder is essential to helping manage the condition.
Some experts believe that childhood bipolar disorder may have genetic connections. If there has been a history of bipolar disorder in family members, there may be a greater risk for a child developing the same condition. Pediatricians recommend monitoring a child's behavior for signs of the disorder if one or both parents have been diagnosed with bipolar.
Diagnosing pediatric bipolar disorder may be difficult when symptoms first develop, as the condition tends to mimic various other disorders. Some children with pediatric bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed early on and believed to be suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While childhood bipolar disorder may occur in conjunction with ADHD or other psychiatric disorders, it is crucial for a child displaying any similar symptoms to be properly diagnosed by a professional.