Bipolar disorder Type 1
A child with this form of bipolar disorder has had at least one manic episode lasting 7 days ( look under "symptoms" for what is considered a manic episode.) and periods of major depression for about 2 weeks.
Bipolar disorder Type 2
Child exhibits periods of hypomania and depressive episodes, but it does not show enough symptoms for classification as manic episodes.
Child presents with hypomanic and depressive symptoms for 2 years, but is not considered "episodes."
If one parent has bipolar disorder, there is a 30-50% chance that their child will have bipolar disorder.
If both parents have bipolar disorder, there is over a 75% chance that their child will have bipolar disorder.
Signs and symptoms:
Increased energy and restlessness
Talk very fast
Acts very "jumpy"
An increased amount of activity
Be irritable when someone gets in their way
Feeling extremely hopeless and sad
Little energy and exhibits very little activity
Can not concentrate
Decreased interest in previous likes
Persistent feelings of tiredness
Feelings of worthlessness
Appears as having thoughts of death or suicide
During manic episodes, children and adolescents will make many rash, poor decisions, as well as acting very unusual, affecting daily life. Then, in a depressive episode they will have thoughts of hopelessness and possibly even thoughts of suicide.
Medication can be very helpful to people who suffer from bipolar depression because it is a chronic, long-lasting illness.
All different forms of therapy can be used to treat bipolar disorder because it helps erase negative thoughts about one's self and teach coping strategies to issues or major events in life.
How Can a Parent Help Their Kid with Bipolar Disorder?
It is very important for parents to keep a life chart, keeping track of any episodes, major factors that could cause an episode or more.
Source: NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)