How to Identify Bipolar Disorder in Children


Pay attention to extreme aggression.

Bipolar disorder in children manifest itself somewhat differently than adults. Adults have learned to modify and adjust their external behavior so that usually internal clues are more telling. With children, they often let it all hang out. In manic phases bipolar children may bite and draw blood, swing dangerous objects, hit with clear intent to harm, or turn ordinary objects into weapons.


Watch for rapid mood shifts.

Especially for children with rapid cycling bipolar disorder you may notice a shift from silly or even giddy behavior to suddenly sullen, down, or despondent moods.


Take note of any reckless activity.

During manic phases of bipolar disorder a sense of grandiosity or invincibility overcomes many victims. If high levels of risk are being taken by your child combined with other symptoms seek experienced diagnosis for bipolar disorder.


Report drastic changes in sleep patterns.

In the depressive state you may feel it is impossible to get children with bipolar disorder out of bed. During manic phases getting them to sleep is the nightmare. If you feel you are bouncing between extremes in many categories with your child every day or every week, you may very well be dealing with bipolar disorder.


Watch for other accompanying signs of mania or depressive states.

Bipolar disorder in children will exhibit itself in clusters of symptoms that will vary in degree and nature from child to child. But with mania, expect excitability, hyperactivity, rapid thinking patterns, talkativeness, and explosions of energy. With depressive moods look for lethargy, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, social anxiety, and severe crying or sensitivity.

* See more tips on bipolar disorder in children below.

Tips and Warnings

  • As with any disorder, bipolar disorder should be diagnosed by a qualified physician with treatment options explored.
  • Medication if any is prescribed must be taken regularly without fail or doubling.
  • Psychological treatment in art or play therapy may also help your child with bipolar disorder.
  • See related articles above for more information on bipolar disorder and other conditions.
  • Bipolar disorder in children is hard to identify, even harder to live with. Many parents of children with early onset bipolar disorder are in a state of absolute desperation before anyone suggests bipolar disorder. If you are exasperated by your child, run through these diagnosis steps since bipolar disorder in children is becoming more commonly diagnosed.