• bipolar-disorder-children

    My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.

    - Patty Duke

  • Depression and Bipolar Disorder

    Children and teenagers with Bipolar Disorder have manic and/or depressive symptoms. Some may have mostly depression and others a combination of manic and depressive symptoms. Highs may alternate with lows.

    Research has improved the ability to diagnose Bipolar Disorder in children and teens. Bipolar Disorder can begin in childhood and during the teenage years, although it is usually diagnosed in adult life. The illness can affect anyone. However, if one or both parents have Bipolar Disorder, the chances are greater that their children may develop the disorder. Family history of drug or alcohol abuse also may be associated with greater risk for Bipolar Disorder.

    Manic symptoms include:

    • Severe changes in mood-either unusually happy or silly, or very irritable, angry, agitated or aggressive
    • Unrealistic highs in self-esteem – for example, a teenager who feels all powerful or like a superhero with special powers
    • Great increase in energy and the ability to go with little or no sleep for days without feeling tired
    • Increase in talking – the adolescent talks too much, too fast, changes topics too quickly, and cannot be interrupted
    • Distractibility – the teen’s attention moves constantly from one thing to the next
    • Repeated high risk-taking behavior; such as, abusing alcohol and drugs, reckless driving, or sexual promiscuity

    Depressive symptoms include:

    • Irritability, depressed mood, persistent sadness, frequent crying
    • Thoughts of death or suicide
    • Loss of enjoyment in favorite activities
    • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches or stomach aches
    • Low energy level, fatigue, poor concentration, complaints of boredom
    • Major change in eating or sleeping patterns, such as oversleeping or overeating

    Some of these signs are similar to those that occur in teenagers with other problems such as drug abuse, delinquency, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or even schizophrenia.

    Teenagers with Bipolar Disorder can be effectively treated. Treatment for Bipolar Disorder usually includes education of the client and the family about the illness, mood stabilizing medications such as Lamictal, Abilify, Seroquel, Lithium and Valproic acid; and psychotherapy. Mood stabilizing medications often reduce the number and severity of manic episodes, and also help to prevent depression. Psychotherapy helps the child understand himself or herself, adapt to stresses, rebuild self-esteem and improve relationships.


    Call us at 301.984.9791 to discuss your needs or to schedule an appointment. At Potomac Psychiatry our psychiatrists and therapists specialize in treating childhood and adolescent bipolar disorders. 

    Our offices are conveniently accessible from the following communities:

    Maryland (MD):
    Bethesda 20814 - Bethesda 20816 - Bethesda 20817 - Chevy Chase 20815 - Colesville 20904 - Cabin John 20815 - Glen Echo 20812 - Gaithersburg 20855 - Gaithersburg 20877- Gaithersburg 20878 - Gaithersburg 20879 - Garrett Park 20896 - Kensington 20895 - Montgomery Village 20886 - Olney 20830 - Olney 20832 - Potomac 20854 - Potomac 20859 - Rockville 20850 - Rockville 20852 - Rockville 20853 - Silver Spring 20903 - Silver Spring 20905 - Silver Spring 20906 - Silver Spring 20910 - Takoma Park 20912 - Wheaton 20902

    Washington DC:
    Crestwood 20011- North Capitol Hill 20002 - Cathedral Heights 20016 - American University Park 20016 - Columbia Heights 20010 - Mount Pleasant 20010 - Downtown 20036 - Dupont Circle 20009 - Logan Circle 20005- Adams Morgan 20009 - Chevy Chase 20015 - Georgetown 20007 - Cleveland Park 20008 - Foggy Bottom 20037 - Rock Creek Park - Woodley Park 20008 - Tenleytown 20016

    Northern Virginia:
    McLean 22101- McLean 22102 - McLean 22106 - Great Falls 22066 - Arlington 22201 - Arlington 22202 - Arlington 22203 - Arlington 22205 - Falls Church 22041 - Vienna 22181 - Alexandria 22314