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What is early-onset bipolar disorder?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Early-onset bipolar disorder defines bipolar disorder that begins during childhood or teen years. It can be diagnosed in children as young as first graders (six years old). In general, bipolar disorder in this age group is more severe and is associated with slightly different symptoms. Children tend to have more frequent mood swings, mixed episodes, and sickness.

 

Symptoms in children may occur suddenly or gradually. Often, early-onset bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed in children because it can mimic other illnesses such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

 

Be aware that it also can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior. Talk to your child’s doctor about symptoms, behavior, or mood changes, and learn how to recognize the warnings signs of suicidal thoughts and other bipolar symptoms sooner rather than delaying even one day.

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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.