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Bipolar in Children

(15 Posts)
MyPastLife Mon 22-Jun-15 20:09:05

Can anyone help me understand what bipolar disorder would look like in a child of age 11 or 12?

Thank you

meandjulio Mon 22-Jun-15 20:16:28

Sorry I don't know, but bumping for you.

I understand that it would be VERY unusual to have a diagnosis like that preadolescence, but I am definitely no expert.

ApplesTheHare Mon 22-Jun-15 20:30:58

It would be hard/unusual to diagnose bipolar in somebody that young, especially as teens can struggle with feeling up and down anyway Diagnosis is usually made when patients are 20+. Saying that, a diagnosis will be based on past behaviour as well as whatever behaviour has triggered an evaluation.

Are you worried about somebody you know?

karbonfootprint Mon 22-Jun-15 20:33:34

Yes, the child would be American, as they are the only country which would give a diagnosis to this age range, other medical bodies in other countries agree it isn't possible in such an under developed brain. In USA there have been cases of 4 and 5 year olds diagnosed, ( and also dying from the medication prescribed)

MyPastLife Mon 22-Jun-15 20:51:48

My son

Dx of sensory processing disorder aged 6

Dx of anxiety and depression aged 10

Medicated for the anxiety - mediation helped

Recent behavior of episodes of great joy and laughter followed in same day by anger and aggression and wanting to die and saying he is useless and an idiot

As a mother this is so awful for watch

Everyday is an unexplored bomb just waiting to go off

And it's tearing the family apart because my husband things he is being difficult in purpose but I can't see how we could possibly want to act the way he does

Friend asked if we had thought about bipolar issues which I had not - just trying to get through each day

MyPastLife Mon 22-Jun-15 20:53:03

Sorry for typos - on phone

ApplesTheHare Mon 22-Jun-15 21:02:00

MyPastLife I'm so sorry you and your family are going through that. It sounds very stressful. Obviously it's not possible to diagnose anybody via the Internet but to reassure you, your son's shifts in mood don't sound like bipolar. Bipolar episodes take place over weeks and months rather than within a single day, and even rapidly cycling bipolar is usually diagnosed based on around 4 episodes per year.

meandjulio Mon 22-Jun-15 23:00:21

Apples having googled this a bit, isn't the rapid cycling exactly what is supposed to differentiate adult from paediatric bipolar?

My hackles rise hugely at the idea of an enduring mental health diagnosis in children but as I keep saying i don't know anything about this. I'm guessing you have got no support at all with this as CAMHS appears to be in shreds. Is your GP any good?

MyPastLife Tue 23-Jun-15 04:06:38

We have a pediatric psychiatrist and a separate behavioral therapist - both for the anxiety

I've just got off the phone from the psych but he cant see him again until mid July

so we cope until then

thanks everyone for answering - I actually didn't think anyone would :-(

mental illness seems to be some type of social disease - everyone avoids you - and some of them even blame you - and to be fair, often I blame myself - what if I was a better mother, what if I didn't get angry about that thing, what if I spent more time with him, what if what if what if what if

perhaps this is just the depression talking - but it just seems so extreme

anthropology Tue 23-Jun-15 18:27:26

as a parent of a DD who had lots of different diagnoses, I think sometimes when CAMHS are treating one thing they can possibly misread another. If possible keep a record of all behaviour and send to his psych weekly, so they cant ignore it. They do need to know what he is saying when, and with his history , later at 13/14 they need to keep a close eye on him when hormones add to the mix. My DD suffered severe depression at 14, despite showing signs of low mood much earlier which were ignored. If I could go back, I would have had an ed psych WISC test done at around 10/11 which would have alerted us to some of the ways she was thinking. I think you may have to pay, but in my experience, pieces of paper from other specialists can speed things along, it may reveal ASD traits for example. good luck.

aintgonnabenorematch Tue 23-Jun-15 18:36:42

I've worked in MH in the UK for many years and agree that no Psychiatrist I've ever known would even contemplate giving a child that age that diagnosis. And I would raise serious concerns if they did.

They do in the US but then they have an extremely disturbed view of potential childhood mental illness IMO.

And those rapid - cycling moods are absolutely not indicative of bi - polar in any DSM or ICD criteria.

Sensory processing issues and anxiety are far more likely to be the answer.

MyPastLife Wed 24-Jun-15 00:59:28

thank you very much for your advice - very helpful

we take a very very cautious approach to medication and only agreed to the medication for anxiety after a lot of research

given his little brain is still developing, and will be until 25, we want to give him all the help we can without doing anything damaging

anthropology - I think your diary approach is great advice - I will start that immediately documenting each day and issues and hopefully start tracking triggers and remedies, and that way when we see the doctor in july we will have something more concrete to be able to review

yorkshapudding Fri 26-Jun-15 11:43:04

I work in Mental Health and have come across children as young as 13 diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (and a couple who had their first manic episode around 12 but weren't given a formal diagnosis until later) so it does happen but it is rare. The children in question were diagnosed only after a period of intensive inpatient assessment by a highly specialist team and presented with a very clear picture of the disorder, the majority also had a strong family history of the illness. Bipolar tends to present in adolescence to early twenties (hence why Early Intervention in Psychosis Teams accept age 14+) but is not usually diagnosed in prepubescent children. There is nothing in your OP suggestive of Bipolar. It sounds as though your son is struggling to regulate and understand his emotions and this is causing him a lot of anxiety. When you see the Psyh in July ask about the possibility of being referred for one to one individual work with a CAMHS practitioner. They can work with your DS around understanding and managing his difficult thoughts and feelings.

MyPastLife Sat 27-Jun-15 19:34:18

Thank you Yorkshapudding - appreciate you taking the time to respond

Clarella Fri 10-Jul-15 18:04:41

I'm so sorry your son is struggling, it must be painful for you all.

Seek specialist help (as you've listed) and ask about autism. Sensory issues and anxiety / depression are two areas which people with ASD experience, and certainly teen hormones added to the mix can create highs and lows.

Has he ever been assessed for /given a sensory profile / sensory diet I wonder? To help him learn to self regulate sensory issues as well as his feelings?

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