Can a child have bipolar disorder?
Let's look at how emotional ups and downs in children can express a disorder.
Bipolar disorder (BD), also known as Manic Depressive Illness, occurs not only in adults but also in children and adolescents.However, it is often undiagnosed and sometimes confused with ADHD, as children are often very temperamental and difficult to handle.
With this psychological disturbance, irritation easily arises, as well as a tendency to become more emotional than other children. However, there are also extreme ups and downs: they switch easily from sadness to joy, either at school or at home.
Bipolar disorder in children
Symptoms of bipolar disorder cause unusual changes in a person's mood, activity levels and daily functioning.. Bipolar disorder causes the person to experience extreme changes in mood and behavior. Children who develop it sometimes feel very happy and energetic (this is called a manic episode) and sometimes children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and have low energy (this is called a depressive episode).
These mood swings are not similar to children who simply have ups and downs. In children with bipolar disorder the emotions are more extreme and not triggered or justified by specific elements in the environment, and are accompanied by changes in sleep, energy level and ability to think clearly. Bipolar symptoms make it difficult for young people to do well in school.
Bipolar disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed or confused with other disorders that may present similar symptomatology. It is often diagnosed as adhd (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.
In boys and girls, it is diagnosed as early onset bipolar disorder, something that occurs basically in boys and girls.which occurs mainly in older children and adolescents. This disorder is not very common in children but it does occur in this age group. It most commonly appears in adolescents in mid-adolescence.
The exact causes of bipolar disorder are not known at this time. However, there are factors that contribute to the development of the disease, such as hereditary factors, as well as serotonin and norepinephrine deficiency.
Neurotransmitters play an important role in regulating emotion. In manic phases dopamine is activated, and when there is depression serotonin is lacking. There are many genes involved according to studies, but there is no single gene that causes it.
Although it is known that bipolar disorder is more likely to develop if there has been a family member who has it, it is also important to note that environmental factors, trauma and stressful life events can increase the likelihood of developing bipolar disorder if there is a getotype that favors it. It is important to know that the hereditary factor plays an important role in the development of bipolar disorder.If one of the parents suffers from this disorder, the risk of suffering from it is 50%.
On the other hand, a risk factor that causes relapses is not taking the medication correctly prescribed by your psychiatrist and following his instructions. Another risk factor is the use of alcohol or drugs. In addition, sleeping less than 8 hours may be an indicator of entering the manic phase.
Gender differences and prevalence of bipolar disorder.
Studies of clinical populations establish that bipolar disorder occurs equally in children, adolescents and adults, and is equally common in men and women. Type II bipolar disorders and Adolescent Onset Bipolar Disorder are more prevalent in females.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world, and is recognized as a public health problem with a negative impact that affects family and social relationships, favoring poor academic and work performance.
According to several studies, the bipolar disorder becomes evident after several years, because in most cases it starts as a Depressive Disorder and in children as an ADHD.. However, there are 69% of people who receive a diagnosis other than TB. In cases like this it can take years before it is detected that there is a Bipolar Disorder, and therefore it is frequent that it becomes more complicated for not having detected the alteration in time and that in that period suicide attempts or consummated suicides arise.
What to do?
The recommendations in the face of bipolar disorder consist of being attentive to children's moods and, in the event of warning signs, to consult a specialist, either a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
Parents should be attentive to mood swings and stressors.. Treatment for children is similar to that of adults, and is based on psychological therapy and seeing their psychiatrist. Adults and children are usually medicated with mood stabilizers.
The strategies applied in therapy for patients with bipolar disorder are psychoeducation, family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and pharmacological therapy.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)