How can I help my child get the right bipolar diagnosis?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed in young children, but it is about as difficult as it is to get a two year old to sit down for 20 minutes. We all know that children’s behavior and moods tend to change as fast and as often as a stoplight, especially when they are tired, sick, or hungry, so it can be hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the changes in their mood or behavior. Your child’s doctor will probably refer you to a developmental specialist, who will need to rule out factors such as trauma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or behavioral problems that often occur along with bipolar disorder.


You can help by being a detective yourself. Track your child’s mood changes and sleep patterns daily. Let your family and friends be part of the process, too. They have unique insight into the changes in your child’s mood and behavior. Don’t hide anything. Keep a journal to show your doc. The more information you reveal, the more help you provide your child’s doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.