For many years, bipolar disorder was considered an adult illness. But in the 1990s, researchers started to accept the idea that bipolar disorder could manifest in childhood, in a rare form known as pediatric bipolar disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this form of bipolar disorder is often more severe than the adult-onset variety, and “young people with the illness appear to have more frequent mood switches, are sick more often, and have more mixed episodes.”
Early-onset bipolar disorder is rare, affecting just 0.5 percent of children in the U.S. It can begin as young as 6, and many children with the condition are initially misdiagnosed with ADHD, ODD, or depression — depending on how their symptoms most often present.
Could your child’s extreme changes in mood, temperamental outbursts, and vacillating energy levels be a sign of bipolar disorder? Take this self-test and then take the results to a mental health professional for evaluation.
Adapted from the Child Bipolar Questionnaire (CBQ) designed to screen for the possibility of bipolar spectrum disorders in juveniles. If you answer Yes to a significant number of these questions, consult a licensed mental health practitioner. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. Screener for personal use only.