The Symptoms of Early-Onset Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder involves marked changes in mood and energy. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV), requires that, for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, adult criteria must be met. Although there is no professional consensus on diagnosis, behaviors reported by parents may include:

  • an expansive or irritable mood
  • extreme sadness or lack of interest in play
  • rapidly changing moods
  • explosive, lengthy and often destructive rages
  • separation anxiety
  • defiance of authority
  • hyperactivity, agitation and distractibility
  • sleeping little or, alternatively, sleeping too much
  • bed wetting and night terrors
  • strong and frequent cravings, often for carbohydrates and sweets
  • excessive involvement in multiple projects and activities
  • impaired judgment, impulsivity, racing thoughts and pressure to keep talking
  • daredevil behaviors (such as jumping out of moving cars or off roofs)
  • inappropriate or precocious sexual behavior
  • delusions and hallucinations
  • grandiose belief in own abilities that defy the laws of logic (ability to fly, for example)

Research suggests that there may be a strong genetic component to bipolar disorder, so a history of mood disorders or substance abuse in the family can be an important clue. Certain behaviors by a child should raise an immediate red flag:

  • destructive rages that continue past the age of four
  • talk of wanting to die or kill themselves
  • trying to jump out of a moving car

Diagnoses That Can Mask or May Occur Along With Bipolar Disorder:

  • depression
  • conduct disorder (CD)
  • oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD)
  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • panic disorder
  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Tourette’s syndrome (TS)
  • intermittent explosive disorder
  • reactive attachment disorder (RAD)

In Adolescents, Bipolar Disorder Is Often Misdiagnosed as:

  • borderline personality disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • schizophrenia

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.