Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children vs Adults

Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), discusses symptoms of bipolar disorder in kids vs. adults.

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Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), discusses symptoms of bipolar disorder in kids vs. adults.
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Featuring Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK)

Video Title: Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Children vs Adults Duration: 2 minutes, 16 seconds

 

So bipolar disorders typically start during the teenage years. They often start with depressive symptoms.

In some cases, they may start with manic symptoms as well, but the problem is, the symptoms that children and adolescents with bipolar experience are not very typical symptoms that we see in adults. Children and adolescents that have bipolar disorder may experience symptoms quite different from the symptoms that adults with bipolar may experience.

For example, some of the behaviors that we see that we think are typical for teenagers may be symptoms of bipolar disorder. So for example, if you have a teenager who is always irritable, not sleeping well, picking fights with other children or abusing substances, those may be symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The trick, I think, is if you’re in doubt, you do need to speak with a family physician or a get a referral to a psychiatrist, so that they can assess and see whether those symptoms are the teenage behaviors or whether they are in fact part of a more serious illness such as bipolar disorder.

There may be other behaviors that you might see in your children that may be part of bipolar disorder. For example, if you have a teenager who has lost interest in going to school or has stopped socializing with friends, those may be indications as well that your son or daughter may be experiencing a depressive episode.

The early diagnosis is critical, because if the condition is not treated early enough, the condition may not respond to treatment as well.

So if you’re in doubt, you need to make sure to speak with a family physician or a psychiatrist, so that your son or daughter can get the help at the appropriate time.

Presenter: Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, Psychiatrist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Psychiatrist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.