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September 13, 2005

Childhood Mania is Chronic & Severe

Children with bipolar disorder tend to have chronic episodes of mania, and their episodes are usually for long periods of time. Researchers developed a 4-year longitudinal study that examined the history of mania in 86 children with bipolar disorder. The children were at an average age of 10.8 years and were checked up on at 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48 months.

All of those in the study suffered from bipolar I disorder, with either manic or mixed episodes. To qualify for the study they also had to have one or more symptom of grandiosity and or elation; this was to ensure that they were not actually suffering from ADHD. Manic episodes usually lasted on average 79.2 weeks in a row.

Mild, major, or dysthymic depression happened during 47.1% of total weeks and their polarity switched at an average of 1.1 times a year. Children had a faster relapse after recovering from mania if they received little "maternal warmth." Having psychosis increased the amount of time that kids were ill with mania or hypomania.

Researchers noted that children seemed to suffer from highly chronic and severe episodes of mania, and therefore there is a need for better prevention and intervention when mania occurs. They also mentioned that how this affects children once they become adolescents and then adults should also be examined.

Original Source: Child mania 'chronic and severe'. PsychiatryMatters.MD.

This research article was published in Arch Gen Psychiatry 2004; 61: 459-467

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