Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
When To Call a Doctor
Call 911 , the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or other emergency services right away if:
- Your child is thinking seriously of committing suicide or has recently tried to commit suicide. Serious signs include these thoughts:
- Has decided how to kill himself or herself, such as with a weapon or medicines.
- Has set a time and place to do it.
- Thinks there is no other way to solve the problem or end the pain.
- Your child feels he cannot stop from hurting himself or someone else.
Call a doctor right away if:
- Your child hears voices.
- Your child has been thinking about death or suicide a lot but does not have a plan to commit suicide.
- Your child is worried a lot that the feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide are not going away.
Seek care soon if:
- Your child has symptoms of depression, such as:
- Feeling sad or hopeless.
- Not enjoying anything.
- Having trouble with sleep.
- Feeling guilty.
- Feeling anxious or worried.
- Your child has been treated for depression for more than 3 weeks but is not getting better.
Who to see
It is best to establish a long-term relationship with your child's care providers so that when a depressive or manic episode occurs, the care providers can recognize the changes in the child's behavior and provide quick treatment advice.
You may wish to find a doctor who has special training in children's mental health conditions or experience treating bipolar disorder in young people. Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed and treated by a health professional such as a:
- Reference Psychiatrist Opens New Window, preferably a child psychiatrist.
- Reference Pediatrician Opens New Window.
- Reference Family medicine physician Opens New Window.
- Reference Nurse practitioner Opens New Window.
- Reference Physician assistant Opens New Window.
Your child may also benefit from professional Reference counseling Opens New Window to help deal with mood changes and the effects bipolar disorder has on your child's life. A counselor with special training in child mood disorders or experience treating child bipolar disorder may be most helpful. Counseling for bipolar disorder can be provided by a:
Other health professionals who also may be trained in counseling include:
- Reference Social workers Opens New Window.
- Reference Licensed mental health counselors Opens New Window.
- Reference Psychiatric nurses Opens New Window.
Who to see for family member support
If you are a family member of a child with bipolar disorder, it is very important to get the support and help you need. Living with or caring for someone who has bipolar disorder can be very disruptive to your own life. Manic episodes can be particularly difficult. It may be helpful to seek your own counselor or therapist to help you.
Also, some national support organizations may have a local chapter in your area or provide information on the Internet. Examples of such groups include the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Reference Making the Most of Your Appointment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 16, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference David A. Axelson, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry