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April 27, 2005

Bipolar Disorder in Children

There is a good article in this month's Contemporary Pediatrics magazine on "The importance of recognizing a child with bipolar disorder"

A brief excerpt of the article suggests that "too often, confusion clouds the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in pediatric patients. To help ensure that these children get the treatment they desperately need, pediatricians must understand the unique way that this illness manifests in the young; Bipolar Disorder."

Some key points that the article makes about Bipolar disorder in children include the following:

* Bipolar disorder is a chronic disorder that often begins in childhood

* Most children with bipolar disorder do not have a classic adult presentation, but rather a mixed-symptom state characterized by frequent, short periods of intense mood lability and irritability

* Children and young adolescents with bipolar disorder have a high rate of relapse and a relatively poor outcome compared to those with adult-onset bipolar disorder

* An early-onset mood disorder is often associated with an increased risk of other psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide and with poor academic, work, and social functioning

* The risk of bipolar disorder is high in a child in a family with a strong history of bipolar illness

read the full article

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