Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Often the first signs of bipolar disorder are severe moodiness, unhappiness, or other symptoms of depression. It is common for children with bipolar disorder to be diagnosed first with only depression and then later to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
A first manic or hypomanic episode can be triggered by a stressful situation or by certain medicines, or it may occur without an obvious cause.
Children with bipolar disorder may:
Children may have severe, seizure-like temper tantrums when they are told "no." A bipolar child may kick, bite, hit, and make hateful comments, including threats and curses. During tantrums, which may last for hours, a child may destroy property or become increasingly violent.
Young children with bipolar disorder may have more extreme happy or silly moods than most children have.
Manic behavior by a teen with bipolar disorder may result in such problems as:
During depressive episodes, a teen may do poorly in school and may stop participating in activities he or she enjoyed in the past, such as a sports team.
Watch for warning signs of suicide, which can include preoccupation with death or suicide or a recent breakup of a relationship.
Treating other conditions
Sometimes treatment for other conditions can make your child's bipolar disorder worse. For example:
Medicines that intensify bipolar symptoms may need to be stopped or changed to a different dose or medicine. Sometimes an additional medicine (such as a mood stabilizer) can solve the problem. But each child responds to medicines differently. And it may take several tries before your doctor can identify an effective medicine or combination of medicines for your child's conditions.
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