Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder: Children And Young Adolescents

Learn how I beat Depression

Between 1 and 2% of the UK population suffers from a serious mental illness called bipolar disorder. Children comprise an even smaller percentage of that initial 1-2%. In most patients, bipolar symptoms begin to appear during late adolescence or young adulthood. However, recently, mental health professionals have begun to pay attention to the phenomenon of children with bipolar disorder.

Until a decade ago, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children has been very rare. Bipolar kids were often misdiagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADD), or were simply explained away as “hard to discipline” and not treated for mental illness at all.

The reason for this confusion is that bipolar disorder (otherwise known as manic depression) manifests differently in children than it does in adults.

Bipolar adults typically suffer from extreme, lasting, difficult-to-control changes in mood that lasts days, weeks, or even months. Adults with bipolar disorder can spend weeks in a state of bipolar mania, during which they become euphoric, infinitely ambitious, often delusional, and sometimes even psychotic (i.e. their senses stop accurately conveying external reality). Bipolar adults can also spend weeks in a state of bipolar depression, during which they contemplate suicide, end work or educational commitments, and sometimes refuse to get out of bed. Furthermore, bipolar adults often have periods of weeks or months during which they are free of bipolar symptoms, of either mania or depression.

Bipolar kids are very different from bipolar adults. Bipolar children undergo in a single day–or a single hours–the extreme shifts of mood that their adult counterparts undergo over the course of many months. Bipolar kids undergo bursts of manic energy that last only twenty or thirty minutes. Without any warning, these kids can feel themselves overcome with strange powers, powers that seem not entirely pleasant. Unlike in adults, the mania and elation of bipolar children can turn into white-hot anger within minutes. That anger, in turn, can transform into deep depression.

The main difficulty in diagnosis children with bipolar disorder lies in the fact that manic and depressive episodes, in young kids, are hard to distinguish. Bipolar kids can exhibit anger and disruptive behaviours during manic as well as depressive episodes. What gives bipolar children away is typically their varying energy levels, which range from being much higher than those of average kids (during “manic” periods) to being much lower than those of average kids (during “depressive” periods).

Learn how I beat Depression

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*