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bipolar in toddlers?

What are the signs of bipolar in a toddler. My 4 yr. old is very moody and seems unhappy.
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Avatar universal
It is very difficult to diagnose bipolar in people this young. Some parents report the following in diagnosed children:

    * an expansive or irritable mood
    * extreme sadness or lack of interest in play
    * rapidly changing moods lasting a few hours to a few days
    * 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
    * dare-devil 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)

It is important to keep in mind that having one or more of these symptoms in NO way signifies a disorder, less so a specific disorder. The following behaviors should be of concern, however:

    * 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

If you are truly concerned, speak to a board-certified child psychiatrist. A regular pediatrician is not qualified for behaviors such as the three above.
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When you say moody and unhappy, what specifically do you mean?
Avatar universal
Thanks and that sounds like him. I know that these things could be normal and that he could be going thru a stage, but it's been way to long to be a stage for him at this point. I am still waiting till about five yaers old to see how things go with him. As of right now things are going real bad at home at school every where. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
When I say moody I mean he will go from on mood to the next in a split secound and other times he'll it will take him a while. The unhappy thing well he just seems gloomy like blah at times.
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Watch for cycles.  One cycle full of energy, then can cycle to low energy.  Bad sleeping habits are a big sign that young.  Also if they are picky about certain things like won't wear a shirt if it has buttons, or tags things like that.  I remember when my son (who is BP) was young we would have to build him up just to have his picture taken.  He HATED having his picture taken (professionally).
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when I say young, I mean 3 or 4...he is almost 8 now...
Avatar universal
An example of my 2 sons, both are bipolar, when they were that age:

lifting the end of the couch and placing a match box car under the leg, dropping the couch on it to see it smash

not sleeping more than 2-4 hours a night, sometimes not sleeping an entire night

climbing out of the upstairs window onto the roof

get a toy for Christmas and have it broken by that evening

unable to sit at the table to eat, constantly getting up and running around

throwing things at people if they told them to do something

urinate anywhere at anytime, toy sinks, bedroom, closet

hurt animals purposely, swing cats around by their tails, jump on pets, sit on them (plopping)

put holes in walls when mad

jumping off furniture

cry uncontrolably for no reason, out of the blue

hit his head on the walls or tables, hard surfaces when they are mad or if they are told no

These are just a few things that we went through when they were about that age.  It increased as they got older and the episodes became more extreme.  If you are seeing any of these types of symptoms, I would suggest taking him to a psychiatrist now and don't wait.  

Avatar universal
Just wanted to say that the last post sounded more like ODD (positional defiant disorder)
Rather than BP. But anyways I have a son who was diagnosed with BP at 5 ½. He is now 7 years old. I do have a lot of behavior problems out of him, but at times he behavior is good. My son seems sad most of the time and very little makes him really happy. With my son the biggest thing that got him diagnosed with this disorder was because he
Have meltdowns, which lasted up to hours and hours (over really nothing or very simple things)  

He would say he would hurt / kill his teachers, friends and sister.

He would cry for no reason

His moods changed from happy to sad to silly to angry in seconds

Since the age of two never has sleep through night/ went to bed without medication.

Hit, kick, bite, yell, scream, when he losses control over himself.

But truly the list could go on I knew something was wrong with him I guess around 18months he didn’t respond well to discipline. He had many delays in his milestones, (developmental delays, speech, fine motors, ect) also I wanted to let you be aware of sensory integration disorder also know as sensory processing disorder. My son has benefited greatly when he started O.T. He was diagnosed early and is still getting the treatment that is needed to help this disorder.   You should read my post (Does this sound like what other BP parents are going through?) check it out and see if it sounds like your child. I will say that there are times when I must take him a day at a time and when it gets really bad we take it a moment at a time.  I have really learned to really enjoy the good time that I get to spend with him, I cherish those moments because I have learned with dealing with a child suffering from Bp that its like being on a real life roller coaster that will soon crash but you have to learn how to fix what’s wrong. I will stress to you if your child isn’t on a schedule get him/her on one. Put down rules and be consistent that’s really important with helping these kids. This will help greatly.  Is your child violent or verbally violent? Does your child sleep?   Does your child do well at daycare out in public, with grandparents, ect.?

Hope this helps ………………Rozanna
Avatar universal
aren't most 4 year olds moody and unhappy? :) Everyone who posted after this question, seems to have had experiences with kids with serious problems, but I hope you don't end up medicating them..isn't it too young to start giving them pills?
Avatar universal
Hi I have a 6 year old little girl and we cannot seem to get a diagnosis or help. We are desperate!!!!! Your comments interested me. This all started at 5 years old. She cannot tolerate clothes at all and will no longer let me dry or brush her hair. Getting dressed for school sends her into awful tantrums where she screams and rips at her clothes. It is AWFUL!!!!! We have been to 2 Occupational Therapist and they say she does NOT have Sensory Processing Disorder because it starts at birth (and her clothes issues started at 5). Within the past 4 months she has become very angry with mood swings. She says she wishes she was not alive. She is very mean to her little sister and we have had to put them in separate bedrooms. She has become very defiant and disrespectful - and yes we discipline. She makes good grades, but is having social problems at school because she gets her feelings hurt so easily. At times she is happy but that can change in an instant. She sleeps fine. She has always been such a happy, fun-loving child - it is so sad to see this happening to our sweet little girl. We have been to several psychologist, pediatricians and are now seeing a Psychiatrist... still no answers????? They all say she is not A-typical of any one thing so it is hard to say. NEED HELP.
Avatar universal
I'm sorrry to here that another child is suffering the way my son and our family has with this disorder.( or what we think is BP disorder) my son is in the hospital right now so i only came home to get some clean cloths i will Post a new post about him when i get in some time tomorrow afternoon.. thanks rozanna
Avatar universal
You are correct that my post snded like ODD, that is included.  These are just a few of the things that they did.  One would say stuff like killing someone like your son did.  The mood swings could be within a matter of minutes from manic to depressed.  Sometimes they were at the same time and go into rage and crying.  It is so hard.  It alsoisn't easy to diagnose kids with the right diagnosis.  We have heard more initials for diagnosis than I ever knew existed.  
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