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Bipolar Disorder In Your Child : Signs, Causes & Cure

Urvashi Shah
3 to 7 years

Created by Urvashi Shah
Updated on Apr 25, 2021

Bipolar Disorder In Your Child Signs Causes Cure
Reviewed by Expert panel

Have you ever noticed your child experiencing sudden mood swings, which you simply tend to brush off, thinking it to be normal or an act of tantrum thrown at you? If yes then you might want to be careful the next time, as these mood swings can also indicate signs of Bipolar Disorder in your child. If your child experiences bouts of extreme mood swings, where at one point he/she may be bursting with energy, thus, making them unable to sleep or sit still, on the other hand he/she may have crippling depression, thus, urging them to withdraw. These are the indicators of Bipolar Depression. If you have got a gist of this disorder, let us get to know more about it in depth.

What Is Bipolar Depression?

Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic-depressive illness or bipolar affective disorder, is a chronic mental health condition that derives its name from extreme mood patterns, which are highly disruptive at times, causing serious emotional, behavioural and physical problems at times. These bouts occur in cycles, which can lasts for up to days or even weeks. With no permanent cure to this disorder, which is linked to both biological and life experience factors, it is treatable with evidence based interventions.

With life experience factors playing a vital role in the rise of this disorder, you might come to a conclusion that children are far from catching this disorder. While it may not be as common in children, Bipolar disorder has been diagnosed in children as young as 5 years. When young children experience symptoms, this is called early-onset bipolar disorder.

Let Us Come To Terms With The Causes Of Bipolar Disorder

Nobody knows the cause of Bipolar Disorder, but as said above, biological and life experience factors have a role to play in the same.

  1. Genetic factors:

    Genetic factors are 50% as much responsible for contributing to Bipolar Disorder. But it is important to note that only 6 percent of children with a parent who has bipolar disorder also develop the condition. The vast majority of parents who have been diagnosed as bipolar do not have a child with the disorder
  2. Environmental factors:

    Environmental factors such as poverty, harsh or abusive parents, ongoing trauma, violence, substance abuse, family history or depression are the causes of a rise in this disorder
  3. Development factors:

    The brain has special chemicals, called neurotransmitters that carry messages back and forth and control all of the brain’s activities, including emotions. As per study neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine are the most likely to be involved in the onset of bipolar disorder; consequently, the medications used to treat the disorder target these chemical imbalances

Look out for the below mentioned signs in order to notice whether or not your child has Bipolar Disorder. The early signs of Bipolar Disorder in children are as follows:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Explosive temper tantrums
  • Irritability
  • Oppositional behaviour
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Hyper activity
  • Lack of sleep
  • Racing thoughts
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Risk taking behaviours
  • Depressed mood
  • Lethargy
  • Low self esteem
  • Rapid speech
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder In Children Include-

  • Experiences manic, hypomanic or mixed episodes, accompanied by depressive episodes
  • Experiences manic symptoms that last for the majority of the day, every day, for at least a week at a time in the case of bipolar I (or for at least four days in the case of bipolar II)
  • Experiences depressive episodes that last for at least two weeks at a time (and often last much longer)
  • Experiences symptoms that are cyclical, waxing and waning over time

How To Cure Bipolar Disorder In A Child?

Right now there is no cure for Bipolar Disorder, however medications and therapy helps to a great extent. Children and teens who have developed this disorder are treated in the same manner as adults. The treatment options include-

  • Medications:

    With several types of medications made available, every child suffering from this disorder will respond differently to medications. Some children might need more than one type of medicine due to their complex symptoms, while some need to try out different medications to see which works the best for them. However, medications must be given to children in low doses to avoid any reaction. You must not stop giving medications to your child without consulting a doctor as it can make the disorder worse
  • Therapy:

    Different kinds of psychotherapy can help a child with Bipolar Disorder. Therapy can help children manage their behaviour and routine

With treatment, children and teens having Bipolar Disorder can get better with time. At times a Bipolar Disorder changes, which might require a change in the treatment too. Though treatment can take time, sticking to them is the best solution.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| May 08, 2018

very useful information

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| May 10, 2018

nice and valuable info

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| May 14, 2018

thank you :)

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