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The Signs of Bipolar disorder

Learn what the signs of Bipolar disorder are. If your child has bipolar disorder, get help early.

If your child has bipolar disorder, she has two kinds of moods::

Mania means that:

  • Your child is very happy or very angry.
  • Your child has a lot of extra energy.
  • Your child is thinking and speaking fast.
  • Your child is moving around fast.
  • Your child talks about big plans for his future that sound strange.
  • Your child takes more risks.
  • Your child sleeps less and less.

Depression means that:

  • Your child is depressed or sad.
  • Your child has very little energy.
  • Your child speaks slowly.
  • Your child doesn't move around as much.
  • Your child doesn't care about her future.
  • Your child has low self-esteem.
  • Your child talks about hurting herself.
  • Your child stops eating or eats less.
  • Your child sleeps more or less.

If your child has mania and depression at the same time, this is called a mixed episode.

There are two types of Bipolar disorder

  • Bipolar I disorder. Your child has episodes of mania and depression, but not at the same time.
  • Bipolar II disorder. Your child has mostly episodes of depression.

How Bipolar disorder affects children
Both girls and boys have Bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar disorder usually begins when your child is in his early or late teens, between the ages of 12 and 21.
  • Sometimes even younger children have Bipolar disorder.

What causes Bipolar disorder
Doctors are not sure what causes Bipolar disorder. They think there are different causes:

  • Problems in the brain:
    • Problems in the nerves cells in the brain
    • Too much or too little of a chemical in the brain
  • Bipolar disorder runs in some families:
    • Genes passed down from parents to children
  • Certain problems are related to Bipolar disorder:
    • Problems at home or school
    • Depression and stress
    • Not getting enough sleep
    • Having a serious illness

Next: How you can help your child

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