Many youngsters of toddler age are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. NAMI outlines the symptoms that may lead to this diagnosis. Hyperactivity, impulsiveness, high anxiety, irritability, rages are a few. Do you feel that 3 and 4 years of age is too young to make this diagnosis and place these children on psych meds. Some of these young children are even being placed on the newer anti-psychotics.
The 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association stipulates that there must be manic or hypomanic episodes, before one can make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, regardless of the patient's age.
A manic episode is characterized by a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary). During the period of mood disturbance, 3 or more of the following symptoms will have persisted (4 if the mood is only irritable), and have been present to a significant degree, causing marked impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning: inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, increased or pressured speech, flight of ideas or racing thoughts, distractibility, increased activity (either socially, at school or work, or sexually) or agitation, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g. shopping sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).
Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes, but the symptoms only need to have been present for at least 4 days.
Available data suggest that the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorders is about 0.5-1.5% of the general population, with the onset of the illness usually being in the teenage years onwards. However, bipolar disorder may be diagnosed in younger individuals such as those you refer to, with a great deal of caution, provided they meet the diagnostic criteria mentioned above. One would take into consideration the presence of symptoms (such as irritability, or mood lability) that significantly exceeds that expected for the child's developmental stage. Bipolar disorder in children may be treated with medications, under the care of a physician with expertise in child psychiatry.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. MedHelp is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.