Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents
All parents can relate to the many changes their kids go through as they grow up. But sometimes it's hard to tell if a child is just going through a "phase," or showing signs of something more serious.
In the last decade, the number of children receiving the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, sometimes, called manic-depressive illness, has grown substantially.1 But what does the diagnosis really mean for a child?
This booklet discusses bipolar disorder in children and teens. For information on bipolar disorder in adults, see the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) booklet Bipolar Disorder in Adults.
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. It can also make it hard to carry out day-to-day tasks, such as going to school or hanging out with friends. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and many people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder often develop in the late teens or early adult years, but some people have their first symptoms during childhood. At least half of all cases start before age 25.2
Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. Children with a parent or sibling who has bipolar disorder are up to six times more likely to develop the illness, compared with children who do not have a family history of bipolar disorder.3 However, most children with a family history of bipolar disorder will not develop the illness.
What are the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents?
Youth with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." The extreme highs and lows of mood are accompanied by extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior. Each mood episode represents a drastic change from a person's usual mood and behavior.
An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode. An extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are described below.
|Symptoms of mania include:||Symptoms of depression include:|
It's normal for almost every child or teen to show some of these behaviors sometimes. These passing changes should not be confused with bipolar disorder.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are not like the normal changes in mood and energy that everyone has. Bipolar symptoms are more extreme and tend to last for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 1 week. Also, depressive or manic episodes include moods very different from a child's normal mood, and the behaviors described in the chart generally all come on at the same time. Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder are so severe that the child needs to be treated in a hospital.
Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme. For example, sometimes a child may have more energy and be more active than normal, but not show the severe signs of a full-blown manic episode. This is called hypomania. It generally lasts for at least 4 days in a row. Hypomania causes noticeable changes in behavior, but does not harm a child's ability to function in the same way that mania does.
Note on Misdiagnosis: Rapidly Shifting Moods and High Energy
Findings from the NIMH-funded Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study suggest that most young children with rapid mood swings and extremely high energy levels do not actually have bipolar disorder. However, these symptoms do cause significant problems at home, school, or with peers. The LAMS researchers re-assessed the children periodically to determine which children with rapid mood swings and high energy develop bipolar disorder later in life.4
Rapid mood changes and high energy are common among youth, but some researchers suggest these symptoms are hallmarks of mania in children. Other experts believe that over-diagnosis and misdiagnosis may play a role in the sharply rising numbers of children being diagnosed with and treated for this disorder.5
How does bipolar disorder affect children and adolescents differently than adults?
Bipolar disorder that starts during childhood or the early teen years is called early-onset bipolar disorder, and seems to be more severe than the forms that first appear in older teens and adults.6 Youth with bipolar disorder are different from adults with bipolar disorder. Young people with the illness appear to have more frequent mood switches, are sick more often, and have more mixed episodes.7
Watch out for any sign of suicidal thinking or behaviors. Take these signs seriously. On average, people with early-onset bipolar disorder are at greater risk for attempting suicide than those whose symptoms start in adulthood.8,9 One large study on bipolar disorder in children and teens found that more than one-third of study participants made at least one serious suicide attempt.10 Some suicide attempts are carefully planned and others are not. Either way, it is important to understand that suicidal feelings and actions are symptoms of an illness that must be treated.
For more information on suicide, see the NIMH publication, Suicide in America: Frequently Asked Questions.
Note on Misdiagnosis: Chronic Irritability and ADHD
Children with chronic, severe irritability and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder. However, researchers believe that it is more appropriate to label these types of symptoms as severe mood dysregulation (SMD). Evidence suggests that SMD should not be considered a form of bipolar disorder. Studies show that children with SMD differ from children with bipolar disorder in a number of ways.11,12,13 For example, children with SMD do not tend to develop manic episodes as they age, while children with bipolar disorder do develop mania. Rather, children with SMD are more at risk for developing anxiety disorders or depression.14 In addition, children with bipolar disorder tend to have strong family histories of bipolar disorder, but children with SMD do not.15 More recently, imaging studies have shown that children with SMD differ from those with bipolar disorder in the way their brains process facial emotions and manage attention.16,17
It is important to determine if a child has bipolar disorder or a different illness to ensure he or she gets the appropriate treatment.
How is bipolar disorder detected in children and adolescents?
No blood tests or brain scans can diagnose bipolar disorder. However, a doctor or health care provider may use tests like these to help rule out other possible causes for your child's symptoms. In addition, they may recommend testing for problems in learning, thinking, or speech and language.18 A careful medical exam may also detect problems that commonly co-occur with bipolar disorder and need to be treated, such as substance abuse.
Health care professionals who have experience with diagnosing early-onset bipolar disorder will ask questions about changes in your child's mood. They will also ask about sleep patterns, activity or energy levels, and if your child has had any other mood or behavioral disorders. They may also ask whether there is a family history of bipolar disorder or other psychiatric illnesses, such as depression or alcoholism.
Doctors diagnose bipolar disorder using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). To be diagnosed, the symptoms must be a major change from your child's normal mood or behavior. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder:
- Bipolar I Disorder—defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks.
- Bipolar II Disorder—defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
- Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS)—diagnosed when symptoms of the illness exist but do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person's normal range of behavior.
- Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia—a mild form of bipolar disorder. People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania as well as mild depression for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.
When children have manic symptoms that last for less than 4 days, experts may diagnose BP-NOS. Some evidence indicates that many of these young people will develop longer episodes within a few years and then meet the criteria for bipolar I or II.19
What illnesses often co-exist with bipolar disorder in children and adolescents?
People with bipolar disorder may develop other mental illnesses as well, including:
- Alcoholism. Adults with bipolar disorder are at very high risk of developing a substance abuse problem. Young people with bipolar disorder may have the same risk.
- ADHD. Mania and ADHD share some symptoms, such as distractibility, hyperactivity, and the tendency to engage in impulsive and risky behavior. However, mania is episodic, so that the behaviors are uncharacteristic of the child. They start at a time when he or she is experiencing a dramatic change in mood. In contrast, ADHD symptoms are persistent and typical for that child, although they may wax and wane to a certain degree. Many children with bipolar disorder also have a history of ADHD.20
- Anxiety Disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as separation anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder, also commonly co-occur with bipolar disorder, in both children and adults.
- Other Mental Disorders. Some mental disorders cause symptoms similar to bipolar disorder. One example is major depression, sometimes called unipolar depression. Sometimes, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between major depression and a depressive episode in bipolar disorder. For this reason, if your child has bipolar disorder and becomes depressed, be sure that the doctor is aware of any past manic symptoms or episodes your child may have had.
What treatments are available for children and adolescents with bipolar disorder?
Currently, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, treatment with medications, psychotherapy, or both may help people recover from their episodes, and may help to prevent future episodes.
To treat children and teens with bipolar disorder, doctors often rely on information about treating adults. This is because there haven't been many studies on treating young people with the illness.
One large study with adults funded by NIMH was the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). This study found that treating adults with medications and intensive psychotherapy for about 9 months helped them get better. These adults got better faster and stayed well longer than adults treated with less intensive psychotherapy for 6 weeks.21 Combining medication treatment and psychotherapies may help young people with early-onset bipolar disorder as well.22 However, children sometimes respond differently to psychiatric medications than adults.
Before starting medication, your doctor will want to determine your child's physical and mental health. This is called a "baseline" assessment. Your child will need regular follow-up visits to monitor treatment progress and side effects. Most children with bipolar disorder will also need long-term or even lifelong medication treatment. This is often the best way to manage symptoms and prevent relapse, or a return of symptoms.23
It's better to limit the number and dose of medications. A good way to remember this is to "start low, go slow." Talk to the doctor about using the smallest amount of medication that helps relieve your child's symptoms. To judge a medication's effectiveness, your child may need to take a medication for several weeks or months. The doctor or specialist needs this time to decide whether the medication is working or if they need to switch to a different medication. Because children's symptoms are usually complex, they commonly need more than one type of medication.24
Keep a daily log of your child's most troublesome symptoms. Doing so can make it easier for you, your child, and your doctor to decide whether a medication is helpful. Also, be sure to tell your doctor about all other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or natural supplements your child is taking. Combining certain medications and supplements may cause unwanted or dangerous side effects.
Some of the types of medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder are listed below. Information on medications can change. For the most up-to-date information on use and side effects of medications, see the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website . You can also find more information about medications in the NIMH Mental Health Medications booklet.
Mood stabilizers, such as lithium are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium is approved for the treatment and prevention of manic symptoms in children ages 12 and older.25 In addition, lithium might act as an antidepressant and help prevent suicidal behavior.26 However, FDA's approval of lithium was based on treatment studies in adults, not children.
Anticonvulsant medications, originally developed to treat seizures, are also sometimes used as mood stabilizers. They are not approved by the FDA for treating bipolar disorder in children, but your doctor may prescribe one on an "off label" basis. They may be very helpful for difficult-to-treat bipolar episodes. For some children, anticonvulsants may work better than lithium. Examples of anticonvulsant medications include valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).
What are the side effects of mood stabilizers?
Lithium can cause side effects such as:
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
- Bloating or indigestion
- Joint or muscle pain
- Brittle nails or hair.
Lithium may cause other side effects not listed here. Tell the doctor about bothersome or unusual side effects as soon as possible.
If your child is being treated with lithium, it is important for him or her to see the doctor regularly. The doctor needs to check the levels of lithium in your child's blood, as well as kidney function and thyroid function.
Some common side effects of lamotrigine and valproic acid include:
- Mood swings
- Stuffed or runny nose, or other cold-like symptoms.
Children may be showing early signs of lithium poisoning if they develop the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
Take your child to the emergency room if he or she is taking lithium and has these symptoms. The risk of lithium poisoning goes up when a child becomes dehydrated. Make sure your child has enough to drink when he or she has a fever or sweats a lot during very active play or work.
These medications may also be linked with rare but serious side effects. Talk with the doctor or a pharmacist to make sure you understand signs of serious side effects for the specific medications your child is taking.
In addition, valproic acid, lamotrigine, and other anticonvulsant medications carry an FDA warning. The warning states that their use may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People taking anticonvulsant medications for bipolar or other illnesses should be closely monitored for new or worsening symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior. People taking these medications should not make any changes without talking to their health care professional.
Should girls take valproic acid?
Valproic acid may increase levels of testosterone (a male hormone) in teenage girls. It could lead to a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women who begin taking the medication before age 20.27,28 PCOS can cause obesity, excess body hair, an irregular menstrual cycle, and other serious symptoms. Most of these symptoms will improve after stopping treatment with valproic acid. Young girls and women taking valproic acid should be monitored carefully by a doctor.29
Atypical antipsychotics are sometimes used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Those approved by the FDA to treat youth with bipolar disorder are risperidone (Risperdal), aripiprazole (Abilify), quetiapine (Seroquel), and olanzapine (Zyprexa). Short-term treatment with risperidone can help reduce symptoms of mania or mixed mania in children ages 10 and up. Some research has indicated that risperidone is more effective in treating mania in young children than other medications.30 Aripiprazole and quetiapine are approved to treat mania symptoms in children 10–17 years old who have bipolar I, while olanzapine is approved for use in children ages 13–17.31
What are the side effects of atypical antipsychotics?
Side effects of many atypical antipsychotics include:
- Dizziness when changing positions
- Blurred vision
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Skin rashes
- Menstrual problems for girls
- Weight gain.
Atypical antipsychotics can cause major weight gain and changes in metabolism, especially in children. This may increase the risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol.32 While taking an atypical antipsychotic, your child's weight, glucose levels, and lipid levels should be monitored regularly by a doctor.
In rare cases, long-term use of atypical antipsychotics may lead to a condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD). The condition causes uncontrollable muscle movements that commonly occur around the mouth. TD can range from mild to severe. Sometimes people with TD recover partially or fully after they stop taking the drug, but others do not.
Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft) are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. Doctors who prescribe antidepressants for bipolar disorder usually prescribe a mood stabilizer or anticonvulsant medication at the same time. If your child takes only an antidepressant, he or she may be at risk of switching to mania or hypomania. He or she may also be at risk of developing rapid cycling symptoms.33 Rapid cycling occurs when someone has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year.34
However, results on effectiveness of antidepressants for treating bipolar depression are mixed. The STEP-BD study showed that, in adults, adding an antidepressant to a mood stabilizer is no more effective in treating depression than using a mood stabilizer alone.35
What are the side effects of antidepressants?
Antidepressants can cause:
- Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
- Sleep problems, such as sleeplessness or drowsiness
- Agitation (feeling jittery)
- Sexual problems, which can affect both men and women.
Some antidepressants are more likely to cause certain side effects than other antidepressants. Your doctor or pharmacist can answer questions about these medications.
Antidepressants carry an FDA warning. Although they are generally safe and popular, some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional side-effects in some people, especially teens and young adults. The FDA warning says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Possible side effects to look for are depression that gets worse, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as trouble sleeping, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. Families and caregivers should report any changes to the doctor. The latest FDA information can be found here .
Unusual or severe side effects of any medication should be reported to a health care provider right away. Your child may need a change in the dose or a different medication.
Children and teens being treated for bipolar disorder should not stop taking a medication without talking to a doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to "rebound," or worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms, or other uncomfortable or possibly dangerous withdrawal effects.
Sexual Activity, Pregnancy, and Adolescents with Bipolar Disorder
Many teens make risky choices about sex. But having bipolar disorder is also linked with impulsive and risky choices. Teenage girls with bipolar disorder who are pregnant or may become pregnant face special challenges because medications for the illness may have harmful effects on a developing fetus or nursing infant.36 Specifically, lithium and valproic acid should not be used during pregnancy. Also, some medications may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.37 For more information on managing bipolar disorder during and after pregnancy, see the NIMH booklet Bipolar Disorder in Adults.
In addition to medication, psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. When treating bipolar disorder, psychotherapy is usually prescribed in combination with medication. Studies in adults show that it can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Psychotherapy may also help children continue taking their medications to stay healthy and prevent relapse.
Some psychotherapy treatments used for bipolar disorder include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps young people with bipolar disorder learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.
- Family-focused therapy, which includes a child's family members. It helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their child. This therapy also improves communication and problem-solving.
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, which helps children and teens with bipolar disorder improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines. Regular daily routines and sleep schedules may help protect against manic episodes.
- Psychoeducation, which teaches young people with bipolar disorder about the illness and its treatment. This treatment helps people recognize signs of an impending relapse, allowing them time to seek treatment early, before a full-blown episode occurs. Psychoeducation also may be helpful for family members and caregivers.
Other types of therapies may be tried as well, or used along with those mentioned above. The number, frequency, and type of psychotherapy sessions should be based on your child's treatment needs.
A licensed psychologist, social worker, or counselor typically provides these therapies. He or she should work with your child's doctor to monitor care. In addition to getting therapy to help reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder, children and teens may also benefit from therapies that address problems at school, work, or in the community. Such therapies may target communication skills, problem-solving skills, or skills for school or work. Other programs, such as those provided by social welfare programs or support and advocacy groups, can help as well.38
Some children with bipolar disorder may also have learning disorders or language problems.39 Your child's school may need to make accommodations that reduce the stresses of a school day and provide proper support or interventions.
You can find more information about psychotherapy on the NIMH website.
What can children and adolescents with bipolar disorder expect from treatment?
There is no cure for bipolar disorder, but it can be treated effectively over the long term. You and your child's doctor should keep track of your child's symptoms and treatment effects to decide whether changes to the treatment plan are needed. One way to do this is by creating a mood or daily life chart, where you and the doctor can track your child's moods, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events. The chart can help you track and treat the illness more effectively. Be sure to work closely with your child's treatment providers. Talk openly and frequently with them about treatment choices.
Sometimes a child may switch from one type of bipolar disorder to another. This calls for a change in treatment. In the NIMH-funded Course and Outcome of Bipolar Illness in Youth (COBY) study, researchers found that roughly 30 percent children with BP-NOS later switched to bipolar I or II. Also, roughly 20 percent of children who started out with a diagnosis of bipolar II switched to bipolar I.40 Because different medications may be more helpful for one type of symptom than another (manic or depressive), your child may need to change medications or try different treatments if his or her symptoms change.
The COBY study also showed that treatment helped around 70 percent of children with bipolar disorder recover from their most recent episode (either manic or depressive) over the course of about a year and half. However, within the next year or so, symptoms returned in half of the children who recovered. Children with bipolar I or II tended to recover faster than those with BP-NOS, but their symptoms returned more frequently as well.
If your child has other psychiatric illnesses, such as an anxiety disorder, eating disorder, or substance abuse disorder, he or she may be more likely to experience a relapse—especially of depressive symptoms.41 Scientists are unsure how these co-existing illnesses increase the chance of relapse.
As we work to find ways to better understand and treat the disorder in children, NIMH is also spearheading the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project, which in an ongoing effort to map our current understanding of the brain circuitry that is involved in behavioral and cognitive functioning. By essentially breaking down mental disorders into their component pieces—RDoC aims to add to the knowledge we have gained from more traditional research approaches that focus solely on understanding mental disorders based on symptoms. The hope is that by changing the way we approach mental disorders, RDoC will help us open the door to new targets of preventive and treatment interventions.
Where can families of children with bipolar disorder get help?
As with other serious illnesses, taking care of a child with bipolar disorder is very hard on the parents, family, and other caregivers. Caregivers often must tend to the medical needs of their child while dealing with how it affects their own health and the health of their other children. The stress that caregivers are under may lead to missed work or lost free time. It can strain relationships with people who do not understand the situation and lead to physical and mental exhaustion.
Stress from caregiving can make it hard to cope with your child's bipolar symptoms. One study shows that if a caregiver is under a lot of stress, his or her loved one has more trouble sticking to the treatment plan, which increases the chance for a relapse of symptoms.42 It is important to take care of your own physical and mental health. You may also find it helpful to join a local support group. If your child's illness prevents you from attending a local support group, try an online support group.
If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor. Others who can help are listed below.
- Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
- Health maintenance organizations
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
- Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
- State hospital outpatient clinics
- Family services, social agencies, or clergy
- Peer support groups
- Private clinics and facilities
- Employee assistance programs
- Local medical and/or psychiatric societies.
You can also check the phone book under "mental health," "health," "social services," "hotlines," or "physicians" for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor can also provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.
What if my child is in crisis?
If you think your child is in crisis:
- Call your doctor
- Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor
- Make sure your child is not left alone.
1. Moreno C, Laje G, Blanco C, Jiang H, Schmidt AB, Olfson M. National Trends in the Outpatient Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Youth. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;64(9):1032–1039.
2. Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):593–602.
3. Nurnberger JI, Jr., Foroud T. Genetics of bipolar affective disorder. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2000 Apr;2(2):147–157.
4. Findling RL, Youngstrom EA, Fristad MA, Birmaher B, Kowatch RA, Arnold E, Frazier TW, Axelson D, Ryan N, Demeter CA, Gill MK, Fields B, Depew J, Kennedy SM, Marsh L, Rowles BM, Horwitz SM. Characteristics of Children With Elevated Symptoms of Mania: The Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) Study. J Clin Psychiatr. 2011 Aug;21(4):311–319.
5. Moreno C, Laje G, Blanco C, Jiang H, Schmidt AB, Olfson M. National Trends in the Outpatient Diagnosis and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Youth. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;64(9).1032–1039.
6. Perlis RH, Miyahara S, Marangell LB, Wisniewski SR, Ostacher M, DelBello MP, Bowden CL, Sachs GS, Nierenberg AA. Long-term implications of early onset in bipolar disorder: data from the first 1000 participants in the systematic treatment enhancement program for bipolar disorder (STEP-BD). Biol Psychiatry. 2004 May 1;55(9):875–881.
7. Birmaher B, Axelson D, Strober M, Gill MK, Valeri S, Chiappetta L, Ryan N, Leonard H, Hunt J, Iyengar S, Keller M. Clinical course of children and adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;63(2):175–183.
8. Perlis RH, Miyahara S, Marangell LB, Wisniewski SR, Ostacher M, DelBello MP, Bowden CL, Sachs GS, Nierenberg AA. Long-term implications of early onset in bipolar disorder: data from the first 1000 participants in the systematic treatment enhancement program for bipolar disorder (STEP-BD). Biol Psychiatry. 2004 May 1;55(9):875–881.
9. Bellivier F, Golmard JL, Henry C, Leboyer M, Schurhoff F. Admixture analysis of age at onset in bipolar I affective disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001 May;58(5):510–512.
10. Goldstein TR, Birmaher B, Axelson D, Ryan ND, Strober MA, Gill MK, Valeri S, Chiappetta L, Leonard H, Hunt J, Bridge JA, Brent DA, Keller M. History of suicide attempts in pediatric bipolar disorder: factors associated with increased risk. Bipolar Disord. 2005 Dec;7(6):525–535.
11. Tillman R, Geller B. Definitions of rapid, ultrarapid, and ultradian cycling and of episode duration in pediatric and adult bipolar disorders: a proposal to distinguish episodes from cycles. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2003 Fall;13(3):267–271.
12. Brotman MA, Kassem L, Reising MM, Guyer AE, Dickstein DP, Rich BA, Towbin KE, Pine DS, McMahon FJ, Leibenluft E. Parental diagnoses in youth with narrow phenotype bipolar disorder or severe mood dysregulation. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;164(8):1238–1241.
13. Rich BA, Schmajuk M, Perez-Edgar KE, Fox NA, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Different psychophysiological and behavioral responses elicited by frustration in pediatric bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;164(2):309–317.
14. Brotman MA, Schmajuk M, Rich BA, Dickstein DP, Guyer AE, Costello EJ, Egger HL, Angold A, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Prevalence, clinical correlates, and longitudinal course of severe mood dysregulation in children. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Nov 1;60(9):991–997.
15. Brotman MA, Kassem L, Reising MM, Guyer AE, Dickstein DP, Rich BA, Towbin KE, Pine DS, McMahon FJ, Leibenluft E. Parental Diagnoses in Youth With Narrow Phenotype Bipolar Disorder or Severe Mood Dysregulation. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;164(8):1238–1241.
16. Brotman MA, Rich BA, Guyer AE, Lunsford JR, Horsey SE, Reising MM, Thomas LA, Fromm SJ, Towbin K, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Amygdala activation during emotion processing of neutral faces in children with severe mood dysregulation versus ADHD or bipolar disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Jan;167(1):61–9.
17. Rich BA, Holroyd T, Carver FW, Onelio LM, Mendoza JK, Cornwell BR, Fox NA, Pine DS, Coppola R, Leibenluft E. A preliminary study of the neural mechanisms of frustration in pediatric bipolar disorder using magnetoencephalography. Depress Anxiety. 2010 Mar;27(3):276–86.
18. McClellan J, Kowatch R, Findling RL. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;46(1):107–125.
19. Axelson D, Birmaher B, Strober M, Gill MK, Valeri S, Chiappetta L, Ryan N, Leonard H, Hunt J, Iyengar S, Bridge J, Keller M. Phenomenology of children and adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;63(10):1139–1148.
20. Tillman R, Geller B, Bolhofner K, Craney JL, Williams M, Zimerman B. Ages of onset and rates of syndromal and subsyndromal comorbid DSM-IV diagnoses in a prepubertal and early adolescent bipolar disorder phenotype. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Dec;42(12):1486–1493.
21. Miklowitz DJ, Otto MW, Frank E, Reilly-Harrington NA, Wisniewski SR, Kogan JN, Nierenberg AA, Calabrese JR, Marangell LB, Gyulai L, Araga M, Gonzalez JM, Shirley ER, Thase ME, Sachs GS. Psychosocial treatments for bipolar depression: a 1-year randomized trial from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program (STEP). Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;64(4):419–426.
22. McClellan J, Kowatch R, Findling RL. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;46(1):107–125.
23. McClellan J, Kowatch R, Findling RL. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;46(1):107–125.
24. Bhangoo RK, Lowe CH, Myers FS, Treland J, Curran J, Towbin KE, Leibenluft E. Medication use in children and adolescents treated in the community for bipolar disorder. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2003 Winter;13(4):515–522.
25. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pediatric Exclusivity Labeling Changes http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/sda/sdNavigation.cfm?sd=labelingdatabase . Accessed on September 8, 2011.
26. Freeman MP, Freeman SA. Lithium: clinical considerations in internal medicine. Am J Med. 2006 Jun;119(6):478–481.
27. Vainionpaa LK, Rattya J, Knip M, Tapanainen JS, Pakarinen AJ, Lanning P, Tekay A, Myllyla VV, Isojarvi JI. Valproate-induced hyperandrogenism during pubertal maturation in girls with epilepsy. Ann Neurol. 1999 Apr;45(4):444–450.
28. Joffe H, Cohen LS, Suppes T, McLaughlin WL, Lavori P, Adams JM, Hwang CH, Hall JE, Sachs GS. Valproate is associated with new-onset oligoamenorrhea with hyperandrogenism in women with bipolar disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Jun 1;59(11):1078–1086.
29. Joffe H, Cohen LS, Suppes T, Hwang CH, Molay F, Adams JM, Sachs GS, Hall JE. Longitudinal follow-up of reproductive and metabolic features of valproate-associated polycystic ovarian syndrome features: A preliminary report. Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Dec 15;60(12):1378–1381.
30. Geller B, Luby J, Josh P, Wagner KD, Emslie G, Walkup JT, Axelson DA, Bolhofner K, Robb A, Wolf DV, Riddle MA, Birmaher B, Ryan ND, Severe J, Vitiello B, Tillman R, Lavori P. A randomized controlled trial of risperidone, lithium and divalproex sodium for initial treatment of bipolar I disorder, manic or mixed phase, in children and adolescents. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 May;69(5):515–528.
31. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pediatric Exclusivity Labeling Changes http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ScienceResearch/SpecialTopics/PediatricTherapeuticsResearch/UCM163159.pdf . Accessed on September 8, 2011.
32. Lieberman JA, Stroup TS, McEvoy JP, Swartz MS, Rosenheck RA, Perkins DO, Keefe RS, Davis SM, Davis CE, Lebowitz BD, Severe J, Hsiao JK. Effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in patients with chronic schizophrenia. N Engl J Med. 2005 Sep 22;353(12):1209–1223.
33. Thase ME, Sachs GS. Bipolar depression: pharmacotherapy and related therapeutic strategies. Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Sep 15;48(6):558–572.
34. Akiskal HS. "Mood Disorders: Clinical Features." in Sadock BJ, Sadock VA (ed). (2005). Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins:Philadelphia.
35. Sachs GS, Nierenberg AA, Calabrese JR, Marangell LB, Wisniewski SR, Gyulai L, Friedman ES, Bowden CL, Fossey MD, Ostacher MJ, Ketter TA, Patel J, Hauser P, Rapport D, Martinez JM, Allen MH, Miklowitz DJ, Otto MW, Dennehy EB, Thase ME. Effectiveness of adjunctive antidepressant treatment for bipolar depression. N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 26;356(17):1711–1722.
36. Llewellyn A, Stowe ZN, Strader JR, Jr. The use of lithium and management of women with bipolar disorder during pregnancy and lactation. J Clin Psychiatry. 1998 59(Suppl 6):57–64.
37. Yonkers KA, Wisner KL, Stowe Z, Leibenluft E, Cohen L, Miller L, Manber R, Viguera A, Suppes T, Altshuler L. Management of bipolar disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Apr;161(4):608–620.
38. McClellan J, Kowatch R, Findling RL. Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;46(1):107–125.
39. McClure EB, Treland JE, Snow J, Dickstein DP, Towbin KE, Charney DS, Pine DS, Leibenluft E. Memory and learning in pediatric bipolar disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005 May;44(5):461–469.
40. Birmaher B, Axelson D, Strober M, Gill MK, Valeri S, Chiappetta L, Ryan N, Leonard H, Hunt J, Iyengar S, Keller M. Clinical course of children and adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;63(2):175–183.
41. Perlis RH, Ostacher MJ, Patel JK, Marangell LB, Zhang H, Wisniewski SR, Ketter TA, Miklowitz DJ, Otto MW, Gyulai L, Reilly-Harrington NA, Nierenberg AA, Sachs GS, Thase ME. Predictors of recurrence in bipolar disorder: primary outcomes from the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;163(2):217–224.
42. Perlick DA, Rosenheck RA, Clarkin JF, Maciejewski PK, Sirey J, Struening E, Link BG. Impact of family burden and affective response on clinical outcome among patients with bipolar disorder. Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Sep;55(9):1029–1035.
For more information on bipolar disorder
Visit the National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus
For information on clinical trials
National Library of Medicine clinical trials database
Information from NIMH is available in multiple formats. You can browse online, download documents in PDF, and order materials through the mail. Check the NIMH website for the latest information on this topic and to order publications. If you do not have Internet access, please contact the NIMH Information Resource Center at the numbers listed below.
National Institute of Mental Health
Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Science Writing, Press and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 6200, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301-443-4513 or 1-866-615-NIMH (6464) toll-free
TTY: 301-443-8431 or 1-866-415-8051 toll-free
This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from NIMH. We encourage you to reproduce it and use it in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated. However, using government materials inappropriately can raise legal or ethical concerns, so we ask you to use these guidelines:
- NIMH does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services, and our publications may not be used for advertising or endorsement purposes.
- NIMH does not provide specific medical advice or treatment recommendations or referrals; our materials may not be used in a manner that has the appearance of such information.
- NIMH requests that non-Federal organizations not alter our publications in ways that will jeopardize the integrity and "brand" when using the publication.
- Addition of non-Federal Government logos and website links may not have the appearance of NIMH endorsement of any specific commercial products or services or medical treatments or services.
- Images used in publications are of models and are used for illustrative purposes only. Use of some images is restricted.
If you have questions regarding these guidelines and use of NIMH publications, please contact the NIMH Information Resource Center at 1-866-615-6464 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
NIH Publication No. 12-6380