Bipolar disorder can occur in children. It is most often diagnosed in older children and teenagers, but this does not mean that it cannot occur in younger children.
As adults, bipolar disorder in children causes <- break-> sharp swings in mood as the child transitions from high levels of hyperactivity, intense vitality and irritability, termed as (obsession), to mood regression represented by extreme sadness and despair, which is what It was called (depression) and then it revives again. Between the two cases, the patient may be in a normal, stable mood.
The severe emotional states of mania and depression experienced by patients with bipolar disorder are called “mood attacks”. Sometimes a single mood episode includes symptoms of mania and depression together, and this is called a “mixed episode”, in which the patient feels at the same time severe sadness or hopelessness with maximum levels of hyperactivity and vitality.
It is well known that childhood and adolescence is punctuated by different feelings and behaviors such as feelings of frustration, ease of excitement, anger, excessive activity, and stubbornness. But if the child’s symptoms are serious, persistent, or cause important or infinite problems … here it is more than just a stage.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children:
Bipolar changes in mood are called “mood episodes,” and these episodes can be manic, depressive, or “mixed.” It is usual for a mood episode to be preceded by a lack of sleep or an early morning awakening. Knowing about patterns of changes in sleep can also help predict an episode of mood disorder. Episodes of mood disorders are severe, in which feelings are strong and with them severe changes in behavior. Symptoms of mood attacks also last for a week or two, and sometimes more, and during the episode, symptoms persist daily almost throughout the day.
During a manic episode, a child may feel:
- Feeling always thrilled and excited.
- Feeling angry at people who do not agree with him.
- Feeling of self-importance in an exaggerated way.
- New and exciting ideas emerge.
- Confusion of ideas means thinking with several ideas at one time and moving from one to the other.
- Hearing voices that others do not hear in some cases.
- Feeling of super energy.
- Inability or lack of need to sleep.
- Excessive activity, impulsivity, aggression.
- Feeling great is like planning for things that are beyond a child’s realistic ability.
- Speaking so quickly that others sometimes do not understand the content of the conversation.
- Exaggerated self-confidence, such as believing that he can do many things at once.
- Dealing with strangers in an inappropriate manner.
- Taking quick arbitrary decisions that may lead to serious consequences.
- Uncontrolled behavior in general.
- Find fun without counting the consequences.
During a depressive episode, a child may feel:
- Feeling sad and hopeless.
- Feeling anxious and empty.
- Being bored of things he used to enjoy.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Impaired ability to remember.
- Poor ability to think optimistically, and a dark vision of the future.
- Thoughts of suicide.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Sleep disturbance.
- Feeling tired.
- Difficulty doing normal daily tasks and tasks properly.
- Crying a lot, or the feeling of being unable to cry.
- Stay away from communicating with people.
And because a number of other childhood disorders are similar to bipolar disorder in symptoms such as: ADHD, behavior disorder, anxiety disorders and major depression, the diagnosis can be challenging because these conditions may be associated with bipolar disorder.
In general, the causes of this disorder are not clear, but there are possible reasons that explain the emergence of bipolar disorder in children, including:
- Genetics: Children who have parents who have had this disorder are more likely than other children to have it.
- The abnormal structure of the brain and its functions.
- Anxiety disorders, hyperactivity and attention deficit: Children who have anxiety disorders may develop bipolar disorder.
- Environmental factors surrounding the child.
2- Psychological, cognitive and behavioral interventions.
3- Family intervention.
Important advice for parents dealing with their child with bipolar disorder:
- Patience and practicing the behavior of unconditional acceptance of the child.
- Encouraging the child to speak and listen to him with love and concern.
- Understand the nature of the mood cycles that the child goes through.
- Helping the child to have fun and entertainment.
- Try to maintain a steady sleep level.
- Maintaining the balance of salts in the body by following a healthy diet based on drinking adequate quantities of unsweetened fluids.
- Developing the child’s motivation for treatment by understanding that his condition will be better by continuing with treatment.
- One of the most important things that parents advise in our article is to present the child to a psychologist to differentiate between the diagnostic possibilities mentioned in the article and arrive at an accurate diagnosis, and then draw up a treatment plan and cooperate in helping the child who may fall into many behavioral problems due to his condition.
A child with bipolar disorder can live a successful life by managing the symptoms of his illness by initiating early treatment with the help and love of the family.