Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
- What is bipolar disorder?
- Who develops bipolar disorder?
- Why does someone develop bipolar disorder?
- What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
- Can children and teens with bipolar disorder have other problems?
- How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?
- How is bipolar disorder treated?
- What can children and teens expect from treatment?
- How can I help my child or teen?
- How does bipolar disorder affect parents and family?
- Where do I go for help?
- I know someone who is in crisis. What do I do?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. It is also called manic-depressive illness or manic depression. Children with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy or "up," and are much more energetic and active than usual, or than other kids their age. This is called a manic episode. Sometimes children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and "down," and are much less active than usual. This is called depression or a depressive episode.
Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. The mood swings are more extreme and are accompanied by changes in sleep, energy level, and the ability to think clearly. Bipolar symptoms are so strong, they can make it hard for a child to do well in school or get along with friends and family members. The illness can also be dangerous. Some young people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.
Children and teens with bipolar disorder should get treatment. With help, they can manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.
Who develops bipolar disorder?
Anyone can develop bipolar disorder, including children and teens. However, most people with bipolar disorder develop it in their late teen or early adult years. The illness usually lasts a lifetime.
Why does someone develop bipolar disorder?
Doctors do not know what causes bipolar disorder, but several things may contribute to the illness. Family genes may be one factor because bipolar disorder sometimes runs in families. However, it is important to know that just because someone in your family has bipolar disorder, it does not mean other members of the family will have it as well.
Another factor that may lead to bipolar disorder is the brain structure or the brain function of the person with the disorder. Scientists are finding out more about the disorder by studying it. This research may help doctors do a better job of treating people. Also, this research may help doctors to predict whether a person will get bipolar disorder. One day, doctors may be able to prevent the illness in some people.
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