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From Medicineworld.org: Bipolar Disorder In Preschoolers

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Bipolar Disorder In Preschoolers


Bipolar Disorder In Preschoolers Mania can be confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Child psychiatry scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a small group of preschoolers who appear to suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. The findings, presented this fall at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, highlight symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from other mental health problems in very young children.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is difficult because the manic phase of the illness can be confused with the more common attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The confusion arises because mania and ADHD both involve hyperactivity, irritability and distractibility. These issues may be even more difficult in young children who display some of these behaviors and emotions normally. However, Joan Luby, M.D., an associate professor of child psychiatry, found mania symptoms, as defined by psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), did not occur in healthy preschoolers and that three main symptoms distinguished bipolar disorder from ADHD in preschoolers: elation, grandiosity and hypersexuality.

Similar to the mania symptoms in older bipolar children - first outlined by Barbara Geller, M.D., professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine - young children who manifested elation, grandiosity and hypersexuality had dramatically higher odds of having bipolar disorder when compared to children with ADHD.

"This is different than the ordinary, energetic state of young children, even children with ADHD," Luby explains. "When you ask healthy young children what they're capable of doing, they are known to inflate their capabilities and say they can run very fast or jump very high or even fly like Superman. What's different about grandiose children is that they become delusional and actually believe they can do things like run the preschool. An extreme example that I've seen involved a manic preschooler who believed that she made the sun rise and set."


Source: Washington University in St.Louis - School of Medicine


Did you know?
Child psychiatry scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a small group of preschoolers who appear to suffer from bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. The findings, presented this fall at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, highlight symptoms that distinguish bipolar disorder from other mental health problems in very young children.

Medicineworld.org: Bipolar Disorder In Preschoolers

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