Bipolar Disorder In Children
Bipolar disorder is less common in children and teens than in adults, but it has been diagnosed in children as young as 5.
Nearly all children and teens have emotional outbursts, mood swings, and exhibit challenging behaviors. The difference between normal behavior and bipolar disorder lies in the duration and degree of mood swings.
In bipolar disorder, extreme moods are sustained for several days and are accompanied by radical shifts in energy levels, the need for sleep, and a person’s ability to focus and think clearly. The shift is severe enough that it impairs a child’s or teen’s ability to interact with others and to function normally at school and at home.
In addition, the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents sometimes overlap with those of attention deficit hyperactive disorder , anxiety disorders, other mood disorders, or conduct disorders. As is true for adults, a careful and thorough evaluation by a trained mental health professional is essential for proper diagnosis.
Natural Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
How to bipolar disorder treated? Treatment for bipolar disorder is aimed to reduce depressive and manic symptoms, and will include mood stabilizers like lithium and certain anticonvulsants. Other drugs for bipolar disorder include second-generation antipsychotics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , and electroconvulsive therapy.
There are also natural ways to treat bipolar symptoms. For instance, counseling or body-center psychotherapy can help a person heal the emotional blocks associated with bipolar disorder. Other natural therapies include hypnosis, acupuncture, reiki healing, tai chi, qigong, yoga, and meditation. It also helps to avoid stimulants such as cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine.
Natural bipolar remedies also include omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, magnesium with calcium, 5-hydroxytryptophan , S-adenosyl-L-methionine , vitamin D, vitamin C with bioflavoids, B complex vitamins, high-potency multivitamins, GABA, turine, and L-tyrosine.
Changes In Thought Patterns
Changes in thought patterns are easily spotted by those with whom the person has regular interactions. They may manifest as a sudden burst of creative insight or appear fractured and nonsensical.
- An increased focus on religion or religious activity
- Disorientation or disjointed thinking
- Enhanced creativity or inventiveness
- Flight of ideas
- Racing thoughts
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Early Warning Signs Of Psychosis
Some early warning signs of psychosis include:
- Consistently worrying about grades or job performance
- Experiencing strong, inappropriate feelings or no feelings at all
- Failure to keep up with personal hygiene
- Having unwarranted suspiciousness of others
- Struggling to concentrate or think clearly
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Getting help for psychosis sooner rather than later can make the recovery process faster and easier, so early indicators should not be ignored. That said, people close to the person experiencing psychosis are usually the ones to detect these symptoms.
How Does It Affect People
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women. For many people, the first symptoms show up in their early twenties. However, research has shown that the first episode of bipolar disorder is occurring earlier: It often shows up in adolescence, and even children can have the disorder.
Recent research suggests that kids and teens with bipolar disorder don’t always have the same behavioral patterns that adults with bipolar disorder do. For example, kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. But they may not show other symptoms that are more commonly seen in adults.
Because brain function is involved, the ways people with bipolar disorder think, act, and feel are all affected. This can make it especially difficult for other people to understand their condition. It can be incredibly frustrating if other people act as though someone with bipolar disorder should just “snap out of it,” as if a person who is sick can become well simply by wanting to.
Bipolar disorder isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw it’s a serious medical condition that requires treatment, just like any other condition.
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Related Mental Health Conditions
These mental health disorders can run in families and may have an overlap with bipolar disorders, meaning researchers have linked genes for these disorders with bipolar. So, if someone in a family has bipolar disorder, its common that other family members may have any of the following mental health conditions. A few include:
ADHD, a chronic condition that begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood in which someone has difficulty paying attention, controlling impulses and hyperactivity. Restlessness distracted behavior and constant activity are hallmark signs.
Autism spectrumdisorder is a neurological and developmental condition related to brain development that appears early in childhood and impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in their social interactions and communication.
Related Mental Health Conditions
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a mental disorder thats characterized by excessive and persistent worry and nervous feelings.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety-based mental health disorder where people have recurring unwanted thoughts and ideas that signal them to act repetitively and compulsively like constant cleaning, handwashing, or checking door locks or appliances.
Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mood disorder which causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in everyday activities. It can interfere with daily life and can include suicidal ideations.
Does Your Teenager Have Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder commonly begins to show itself in the late teens. Bipolar disorder in the teenage years is serious it’s often more severe than in adults. Adolescents with bipolar disorder are at high risk for suicide.
Unfortunately, bipolar disorder in teens frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated. Partly, this is because while symptoms may begin in adolescence, they often don’t meet the full diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. Some experts think that bipolar disorder also can be over diagnosed in children or younger adolescents, especially when symptoms involve just mood swings or disruptive behaviors rather than changes in energy or sleep patterns. Partly for that reason, the diagnosis of “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” has come into use to describe teens who mainly have persistent irritability and severe temper outbursts or mood swings.
Some symptoms that suggest a teenager might have bipolar disorder are:
- Uncharacteristic periods of anger and aggression
- Grandiosity and overconfidence
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What Is The Treatment For Mania Hypomania And Depression
You can check what treatment and care is recommended for bipolar disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.
NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. You can download these from their website at:
The NHS doesnt have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.
What medications are recommended?
Mood stabilisers are usually used to manage mania, hypomania and depressive symptoms.
The mood stabilisers we talk about in this factsheet are:
- Certain benzodiazepine medication
Mania and hypomaniaYou should be offered a mood stabiliser to help manage your mania or hypomania. Your doctor may refer to your medication as antimanic medication.
If you are taking antidepressants your doctor may advise you to withdraw from taking them.
You will usually be offered an antipsychotic first. The common antipsychotics used for the treatment of bipolar disorder are:
If the first antipsychotic you are given doesnt work, then you should be offered a different antipsychotic medication from the list above.
If a different antipsychotic doesnt work, then you may be offered lithium to take alongside it. If the lithium doesnt work you may be offered sodium valproate to take with an antipsychotic. Sodium valproate is an anticonvulsive medication.
Sodium Valproate shouldnt be given to girls or young women who might want to get pregnant.
How Does Bipolar Disorder Affect Women
Women and men are equally likely to have bipolar I disorder, but women are more likely to have and may experience more rapid cycling between highs and lows.
Women with bipolar disorder are also more likely than men with bipolar disorder to have other physical and mental health conditions, including problems with alcohol use, depression caused by bipolar disorder, thyroid disease, obesity caused by medicines that treat bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches.
Changing hormones during the menstrual cycle and menopause can also affect how severe a womans bipolar disorder is, but they do not cause bipolar disorder.
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Surprising Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder symptoms will last for days, weeks, and even months at a time. Unlike ordinary mood swings, the depressive and manic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder can get so intense that they interfere with a persons everyday activities.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are dysfunctional. The problem is many people dont understand the actions and manic and depressive behaviors associated with bipolar disorder sufferers. It may surprise you to learn that bipolar symptoms can be mistaken for bad decision making, when in fact the persons behavior is a sign of the mental illness. The following are 12 major bipolar disorder signs and symptoms.
1. Having a great mood: As mentioned, a person with bipolar disorder experiences uncontrollable highs and lows. During the high times, the person is in a manic or hypomanic state. This is where the person feels good and has a lot of energy. They will appear highly enthusiastic, cheerful, and high-spirited by nature. At the same time, the person still has their grip on reality.
In this state, they also have a lot of creativity and they feel an intense euphoric state of excitement and happiness. The person also has an exaggerated self-esteem, which can be described as a superiority or God complex. In other words, the person will have too great of a mood.
What Increases Your Risk
Bipolar disorder can be passed down through families. If anyone in your family has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, your risk of having it is higher.
Some things can increase your risk of a manic episode or depression. These include:
- Changes in sleep or daily routines.
- Antidepressant medicine. This can happen if you haven’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and are seeking treatment for depression.
- Stressful events.
- Quitting your medicine for bipolar disorder. Even if you’re feeling better, it’s important to take your medicines as prescribed.
Alcohol or drug use or abuse puts you at a high risk for having a relapse of mood disturbances.footnote 6
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When Should I Call My Teens Healthcare Provider
Feels extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward him or herself or others
Feels out of control
Hears voices that others dont hear
Sees things that others dont see
Cant sleep or eat for 3 days in a row
Shows behavior that concerns friends, family, or teachers, and others express concern about this behavior and ask you to seek help
What Are The Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are three main types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes that last at least 7 days or manic symptoms so severe that you need immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes are also common. Those often last at least two weeks. This type of bipolar disorder can also involve mixed episodes.
- Bipolar II disorder involves depressive episodes. But instead of full-blown manic episodes, there are episodes of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe version of mania.
- Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, also involves hypomanic and depressive symptoms. But they are not as intense or as long-lasting as hypomanic or depressive episodes. The symptoms usually last for at least two years in adults and for one year in children and teenagers.
With any of these types, having four or more episodes of mania or depression in a year is called “rapid cycling.”
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What If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
What Is Bipolar Type Two
Your depression must last for at least two weeks, and while the symptoms may be the same as in bipolar 1 your hypomania is much more mild than the manic symptoms of Bipolar I.1
Hypomania in type 2 bipolar disorder also rarely requires hospitalization.
Some of the symptoms associated with hypomania include,
- Sleeping less
- Racing thoughts
- Rapid speech
Even though your symptoms might not be as severe, and some people even claim that theyre helpful, it is still important to have and follow a treatment plan.
Bipolar 2 is diagnosed more often than type one. It is also more common in women, especially if there is already a history of mental health problems in the family.
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What Is Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder was formerly called manic depression, and it affects over 10 million people in the U.S., according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Bipolar disorder symptoms in men and woman present differently, but the disorder affects both sexes in equal numbers. In over half of bipolar disorder cases, symptoms begin between the ages of 15 and 25 years old.The condition is thought to develop from certain genetic and environmental factors. People with bipolar disorder also have an issue with how the brain handles neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitter deficiencies related with bipolar disorder include serotonin, acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid , histamine, and norepinephrine or noradrenaline.
People with bipolar disorder will experience severe shifts in behavior, thinking, energy, and mood. The condition is more than just having good or bad moods for example, a bipolar person wont even get out of bed during a depressive episode.
Patterns Of Depression And Mania
If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa.
Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a “normal” mood.
The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:
- rapid cycling where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between
- mixed state where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of depression and mania together for example, overactivity with a depressed mood
If your mood swings last a long time but are not severe enough to be classed as bipolar disorder, you may be diagnosed with a mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia.
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Living With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a condition of extremes. A person with bipolar disorder may be unaware they’re in the manic phase.
After the episode is over, they may be shocked at their behaviour. But at the time, they may believe other people are being negative or unhelpful.
Some people with bipolar disorder have more frequent and severe episodes than others.
The extreme nature of the condition means staying in a job may be difficult and relationships may become strained. There’s also an increased risk of suicide.
During episodes of mania and depression, someone with bipolar disorder may experience strange sensations, such as seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there .
They may also believe things that seem irrational to other people . These types of symptoms are known as psychosis or a psychotic episode.
What Are The Long
Bipolar disorder is a life-long and often recurring illness. You may need long term support to help manage your condition.
What medication options are there?
Your doctor will look at what medication worked for you during episodes of mania or depression. They should ask you whether you want to continue this treatment or if you want to change to lithium.
Lithium usually works better than other types of medication for long-term treatment. Your doctor should give you information about how to take lithium safely. If lithium doesn’t work well enough or causes you problems, you may be offered:
- Olanzapine, or
Your doctor should monitor your health. Physical health checks should be done at least once a year. These checks will include:
- measuring your weight,
- checking your liver and heart, and
- checking your pulse and blood pressure.
What psychological treatments are recommended?
You should be offered a psychological therapy that is specially designed for bipolar disorder. You could have individual or group therapy.
The aim of your therapy is to stop you from becoming unwell again. This is known as relapse. Your therapy should help you to:
If you live with your family or are in close contact with them, you should also be offered family intervention.
Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships. This should be offered to people who you live with or who you are in close contact with.
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