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What Is Childhood
Bipolar Disorder?

Childhood bipolar disorder is a psychological condition where your child experiences extreme mood swing.

Childhood Bipolar Disorder

When your child is feeling 'up' he has intense emotional outbursts, which might be extreme joy or irritability.

These episodes of 'mania' happen several times a day. Children with bipolar disorder then inevitably swing to a depressed sad state.

Parents often blame themselves when their child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but parenting style has nothing to do with this condition.

Bipolar disorder is a genetic condition and you have absolutely no control over causing or preventing your child from developing it, just as you have no choice as to what colour eyes your child has or the shape of his nose.

The symptoms of child bipolar disorder are different from adult bipolar disorder, and children with this condition require different treatment than adult patients.

A child with bipolar disorder can quickly change from a manic state to a depressed state several times a day.

Some children have periods of normal behavior between episodes of extreme behaviour.

In some cases of childhood bipolar disorder, children have symptoms of mania and depression at the same time.

It is typical for your child to express strong emotions throughout his growth and development.

But behaviours of child bipolar disorder are extreme; such as throwing violent temper tantrums, wandering around the house late at night and sleeping very little, and even touching himself or others in inappropriate ways.

A child who swing to a depressed state may say he feels sad or empty, may have frequent headaches, stomachaches or muscle aches, and may be extremely sensitive to how others react around him.

A child who is depressed often spends time alone.

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are very similar to other childhood conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .

A physician will ask your child a series of questions to try and determine how severe his mania and depression is.

A physician will also do a physical exam to rule out any other health problems.

It is important that children with bipolar disorder receive treatment as soon as possible.

Children growing up with this condition are more likely to get in trouble at home, at school, and eventually with the law.

They are more likely to run away, to attempt suicide and to battle with drugs and alcohol. Bipolar disorder can be effectively treated with medication as well as counseling.

A child with childhood bipolar disorder will need lifelong care and should be watched regularly.

Because the medication takes away the bipolar behaviours, patients sometimes feel they are cured, and stop taking the medication.

But once your child stops taking medication the symptoms and behaviours associated with bipolar disorder return.

Click here to learn more about What Works for Bipolar Kids: Help and Hope for Parents.

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