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Bipolar disorder in children

Bipolar disorder in children

Bipolar disorder is characterized by sudden changes in mood of a child in a combination of extremely severe depression and manic episodes. It is a manic-depressive disorder with symptoms that may appear from childhood and that differ from those of the affection in adults. Find out how to distinguish a sad child from a depressive or suffering from bipolar disorder!

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder has as the name says 2 poles in its component: one depressive and another manic. She is often confused with depression, but it should be clarified that her symptoms are absent from manic episodes specific to bipolar syndrome.

What are the symptoms of pediatric bipolar syndrome?

There are two types of symptoms that are interrelated with each other in diagnosing this condition. Some are specific to depression, others are connected with manic episodes. When they come together, it is called that child suffers from bipolar disorder.

Symptoms associated with depression

  • lack of interest or desire, often associated with sadness;

  • agitation and irritability;

  • Prolonged sleep or frequent insomnia;

  • significant changes in appetite;

  • changes in daily activity level, common;

  • lack of energy;

  • inability to concentrate;

  • frequent increased sadness;

  • crying suddenly and frequently;

  • memory loss;

  • manifestation of feelings of guilt or uselessness;

  • self-destructive behavior (thoughts of suicide, self-harm).

Symptoms associated with mania

  • frequently irritable / euphoric mood;

  • self-esteem (inflation of self-esteem that offers feelings of greatness and greatness);

  • low need for sleep;

  • hasty language (logoree - fast-talking, interspersed with words, etc.);

  • distractibility;

  • excessive involvement in various projects and activities (hyperactivity);

  • abuse of risky activities that offer pleasure (drugs, alcohol, sex);

  • disinhibition.

Controversies regarding the existence of bipolar disorder in children

Specialists in mental illness have not fully agreed that this disorder could occur in children and adolescents. Some experts argue that severe irritability, emotional instability and manic episodes are in fact characteristic of bipolar syndrome and can occur in childhood, requiring specific treatment. Other specialists argue that this approach is wrong and that it is actually about other disorders associated with the symptoms.

Forms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar syndrome is divided into several forms that differ depending on the severity of the symptoms and their preponderance:

  • bipolar disorder I - severe depression with mania;

  • bipolar disorder II - major depression concomitant with hypomania;

  • "fast cycling" - daily alternation between episodes of depression, manic and quiet.

What are the causes of bipolar disorder in children?

Specialists believe that genetic factors are the basis of the etiology of the disease. Although many considered that psychological, emotional or social factors are causes of bipolar syndrome, they are considered only to favor its triggering.

From a neurobiological point of view it is considered that there is an imbalance between neurotransmitters, as well as a modified density or sensitivity of the receptors underlying the syndrome.

How is bipolar disorder treated in children?

This condition is extremely serious and affects the quality of the child's life. It can trigger problems at school in the family and even in the community in which he lives. Untreated bipolar disorder leads to long-term hospitalization, drug abuse, accidents and even suicide.

Parents who only suspect that their baby may be suffering from bipolar syndrome should urgently go to a psychotherapist who is able to assess his condition and diagnose the disorder.

Therapy has a multiple approach and is generally based on symptom relief:

  • medication (stabilizers of the precautionary disposition in the administration of antidepressants - these can give rise to manic episodes);

  • psychotherapy.

Medication is meant to reduce the number and severity of manic symptoms. It also has the role of preventing depression. Psychotherapy helps the child regain self-confidence and improve the quality of social and personal life.

Tags Depression children Emotions children