As a mental health counselor who works with children diagnosed with bipolar disorder and author of a book on the subject, parents often ask me to evaluate their elementary-school-age children for the presence of bipolar disorder.
Not only are parents confused by some of the literature that describes bipolar disorder in children, they are also worried that their child is not getting the needed early intervention at home and at school, if indeed the child has bipolar.
People from all walks of life manifest the illness in varying degrees, even when treated: depression, hypomania (mild mania) or mixed states.
An untreated bipolar person can suffer the extremes of these moods until they achieve stability through a proper medication regimen.
The three criteria described below are based on research conducted at the U. National Institute of Mental Health and the clinical opinion of other researchers.
Mood shift: Children who have bipolar disorder typically experience dramatic shifts in mood ranging from calm to manic states to marked depressions.
Making my recommendation includes talking with the child, his/her parents, teachers, and other counselors, and identifying the presence of mood shifts, sudden rage, and a family component.In the Healthy Bipolar Community, we have authoritative, in-depth information on all aspects of bipolar disorder in adults and children; from bipolar signs and symptoms to diagnosis and bipolar treatments.We believe that the more you understand about bipolar disorder and issues like bipolar medications, the more likely you are to get the full benefit of treatment.In my evaluation, I distinguish bipolar disorder from two look-alike conditions, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).I determine if the child fits into any of the three diagnostic categories.