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May 27, 2005

Bipolar Disorder Harder for Children than Adults

A report from the American Psychological Association:

Bipolar disorder is a more severe illness for children than adults during the first few years after diagnosis, a landmark study suggested Monday.

The first research tracking a large group of bipolar children and teenagers over time finds that 2 1/2 years after diagnosis:

*Nearly one-third of them still have not recovered.

*It takes the rest about 17 months to recover.

*Four out of five have at least one recurrence.

During the study, children experienced serious symptoms about two-thirds of the time, says study leader Boris Birmaher of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. "They spend more time ill than adults with the same disease."

The study of 300 children ages 7 to 18 was released at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Atlanta.

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