Bipolar Symptoms In Children

Bipolar Symptoms In Children | Difficult To Differentiate From ADHD So Professional Advice Necessary

Bipolar symptoms in children: Norms of diagnosis, early signs, behaviour, link to ADHD, 6 Key characteristics of diagnosis

Please invest a few minutes of your time to watch the bipolar symptoms in children video. Or if you prefer to read, then feel free to skip the video and go straight to the text below:

Bipolar symptoms in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

Introduction

Bipolar symptoms in children are difficult to differentiate from typical tantrums of childhood and from ADHD. However, very intense or prolonged tantrums, chronic irritability, sleep problems, pressured speech and too many ideas at once should alert one to  Childhood Bipolar Disorder or Juvenile Bipolar Disorder.

This diagnosis has gained ground over the last 15 years and yet remains controversial. It has not acquired a separate diagnosis in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual DSM 5. It is considered to be part of adult Bipolar Disorder.

Nonetheless, Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation established by Demitri Papolos who has also written a book had done intensive research to claim JBD to present somewhat differently in children.

  • most children do not exhibit the manic behaviors described in the DSM.
  • most children do not shift their moods in the clearly defined patterns which meet the duration thresholds described by the DSM.
  • Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is characterized by less clearly defined mood episodes, shorter duration of these episodes (e.g., ultradian cycling), and different hallmark symptoms (e.g., elevated mood vs. irritability) than in adults.

Most children fall in the sub-classification of bipolar disorder called Bipolar Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) in DSM 5.

Another diagnosis, called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) also has 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.

Bipolar symptoms in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

Mood episodes

Many children show signs early in life. They may be cranky babies with sleep problems, toddlers who are insistent and have frequent tantrums or difficult preschoolers.

Bipolar “mood episodes” include unusual mood changes along with unusual sleep habits, activity levels, thoughts, or behavior. In a child, these mood and activity changes must be very different from their usual behavior and from the behavior of other children. Children may show abrupt swings of mood and energy that happen several times a day, unlike adults who have well-defined episodes.

High moods

Explosive outbursts of temper, poor frustration tolerance, and oppositional defiant behaviors are not unusual. These kids veer from being irritable, easily annoyed and angry to being silly, goofy, excitable…or they may fluctuate closer to one pole or the other.

During a manic episode children may:

  • Feel very happy or act silly in a way that’s unusual for them and for other people their age
  • Have a very short temper
  • Talk really fast about a lot of different things
  • Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired
  • Have trouble staying focused
  • Talk and think about sex more often
  • Do risky things – such as driving too fast or spending too much money

Low moods

They can also have periods of low energy, intense boredom, depression and social withdrawal, with low self-esteem and suicidal ideation. This is a depressive episode and children may:

  • Feel very sad
  • Complain about pain a lot, such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Sleep too little or too much
  • Feel guilty and worthless
  • Eat too little or too much
  • Have little energy and no interest in fun activities
  • Think about death or suicide

Bipolar symptoms in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

Similarity to ADHD

Many children behave like ADHD. In fact, 80% of children suffering from JBD have concurrent ADHD. The difference is that their irritability and explosive outbursts are intense and prolonged.

Family history is important in helping with diagnosis.

Associated problems

Young people with bipolar disorder can have several problems at the same time. These include:

  • Oppositional Defiance Disorder: The child or teen will argue or oppose all suggestions made by authority figures. They may often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules.
  • Substance abuse. Both teens and kids with bipolar disorder are at risk of drinking or taking drugs.
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children who have both bipolar disorder and ADHD may have trouble staying focused.
  • Anxiety disorders, like separation anxiety.

Sometimes behavior problems go along with mood episodes.

Bipolar symptoms in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

Why is diagnosis important?

Most importantly stimulant medications used for ADHD may make matters worse. Also, SSRI and typical antidepressants may cause manic episodes if given without Antimanic or mood stabilizer medications.

Key characteristics of childhood bipolar disorder

Washburn et al (2011)have recommended the following key characteristics in Childhood bipolar Disorder

Decreased need for sleep

For example, a child may refuse to go to bed, or play, sing, or watch television late into the evening/early morning. An adolescent may play video games, watch television, talk or “text” on the phone, or sneak out of the house. Despite substantially less sleep than usual, the child or adolescent denies feeling tired in the morning.

Unstable self-esteem and grandiosity 

For example, the child or adolescent may make unsubstantiated statements that indicate inflated self-esteem or grandiosity beyond what is expected for her or his developmental level. The inflated self-esteem or grandiosity should fluctuate with mood episodes and should be in contrast with low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness during depressive episodes.

Hypersexuality

This symptom is characterized by pleasure-focused sexual behavior that is either developmentally atypical or unusual and uncharacteristic of the child or adolescent. The hypersexuality should fluctuate with mood episodes.

Elated mood

For example, the child or adolescent may demonstrate excessive and developmentally inappropriate excitability, silliness, and giddiness, and may demonstrate uncontrollable laughter and excessive joking. They may describe feeling “overwhelmed” by their affective experiences.

Pressured speech and racing thoughts

Children with this symptom may indicate that their mind is going so fast that they cannot stop it and their mouth cannot keep up. Parents may describe their child and adolescent as constantly talking, never letting others have a say, domineering conversations, and constantly seeking attention by talking or “entertaining” excessively at home or school.

Goal-directed activity

For example, parents may identify their child or adolescent as constantly fiddling with everything at home and making a mess. Goal–directed behavior is also possible, such as constantly feeding the dog, playing games, or fighting with siblings.

Teachers may see a flurry of academically-oriented activity, although the activity may not be productive or of high-quality. Children may describe experiencing “crazy maniacal spells.”

Bipolar Symptoms In Children | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/treatment-for-bipolar-disorder-in-children/bipolar-medication-for-children/bipolar-symptoms-in-children/ Difficult To Differentiate From ADHD So Professional Advice Necessary

Bipolar Symptoms In Children

Bipolar symptoms in children: Enter your details in the form below and get answers to the top 12 questions prospective patients ask or clicking here

If you like what you have seen or read about bipolar symptoms in children, please share it with your friends by clicking on one of the social media buttons below.

Go from bipolar symptoms in children to Singhania Clinic homepage

Bipolar Symptoms In Children was last modified: March 22nd, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

Get answers to the top 12 questions asked by patients