Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings and changes in an individual’s energy levels. While these symptoms are often ignored by many, they can have a serious impact on an individual’s life. As per the Mental Health America (MHA), over 3.3 million American adults suffer from bipolar disorder every year.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder begin to appear in childhood, however, they are often dismissed as normal. An old survey by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) highlights that almost one-third of the 3.4 million children and teenagers diagnosed with depression might actually be experiencing the early symptoms of bipolar disorder.
If the early signs of this disorder are not treated, they may become severe as the individual grows older. The patient’s condition can further get complicated if it is accompanied by other mental health disorders.
Recognizing symptoms of bipolar disorder in children
Children with bipolar disorder mostly experience shifts from extremely high moods to low moods and vice versa. Those who exhibit these symptoms are often described as unpredictable, withdrawn, or aggressive. Kids with bipolar disorder have a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). With two or more disorders occurring at the same time, diagnosing bipolar disorder may become difficult resulting in the mental condition of the child becoming severe and unmanageable.
It is important that parents or elders recognize the symptoms of bipolar disorder in their child as early as possible and seek the right treatment. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are divided into two categories: mania (extremely high moods) and depression (extremely low moods).
Symptoms of mania include:
- extreme shifts in mood, usually happy or silly to irritable, aggressive or angry
- engaging in several activities at the same time, i.e., getting easily distracted
- talking too much, very fast and on multiple topics
- excessive unrealistic self-esteem
- increase in energy levels
- rise in risk-taking behavior like attempting fearless stunts
Depressive symptoms include:
- sudden and frequent sadness and bouts of crying
- getting isolated from friends
- decreased energy levels
- lack of enthusiasm
- excessive guilt
- extremely sensitive to failure and denial
- sleeping too much or overeating
- self-destructive behavior
- complaints of headache and stomachache
Possible reasons contributing to bipolar disorder in children
There could be a host of factors that contribute to the development of bipolar disorder in children. Disturbing life events, brain development and neurotransmitters-the messengers for nerve cells are believed to influence the occurrence of bipolar disorder. Besides, the role of genetics cannot be overlooked, no specific link has been established so far by any research.
Getting mental disorder treated at the earliest
With people often dismissing symptoms of bipolar disorder as normal changes during childhood, they may fail to get the disorder treated at the right time. If left untreated, bipolar disorder may persist throughout one’s life, causing various obstacles in leading a healthy and fulfilling life.
If your child is exhibiting bipolar disorder symptoms, or a combination of mania or depressive symptoms, get in touch with a mental health professional. Contact the California Mental Health Helpline without wasting a minute, if you are in instant need of professional help to deal with mental health problems in your child or to know about bipolar treatment centers in California. Our experts will assist you in receiving advanced treatment options for bipolar disorder in the best mental health treatment centers in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online for an immediate response.