A child with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of mania and depression or mixed states. This can greatly interfere with daily functioning. Typical symptoms include the following.
Mania may cause a child to:
Depression may cause a child to:
Manic children may be more irritable and prone to temper tantrums than manic adults, who are more likely to be elated or have high energy during these episodes. In a depressive episode, children may complain of headaches, muscle aches, or stomachaches, or of being tired. They often miss school or talk about running away from home. They become socially isolated and sensitive to any kind of rejection or criticism. A child or teen who has bipolar disorder may abuse alcohol or drugs and have difficulty with relationships.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder in children may be confused with those of other disorders, such as depression. These symptoms often occur along with another disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Children who develop bipolar disorder before adolescence may have a more severe form of the illness.
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