There is still ongoing research to help doctors and parents recognize when their child may begin showing signs of psychological disturbances and not simply behavioral problems.
Most of the medications for bipolar disorder are designed to treat adults not children.
At present there is still ongoing tests to try and distinguish bipolar disorder from behavioral disorders in young children.
There have been some disputes about how well this medication works for children because it is normally prescribed for adults. A study was done on 150 patients (ages 10 to 17) who were diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder were randomly assigned to 28 days of treatment with extended-release divalproex or a placebo. At the end of the study, the drug proved to be no better than the placebo at improving symptoms. Only 16% of patients taking the drug had remission of their symptoms compared with 19% who took the placebo (Wagner, 2009).
There is still research being done on properly diagnosing this disorder and hopefully some day doctors and parents will have an answer on how to distinguish bipolar disorder from other behavioral problems.
Mood stabilizers seem to work well for children with bipolar disorder.
After taking a drug called divalproex, more than three-quarters of the at-risk kids showed an improvement in their mood or behavioral disorders.
After 12 weeks, 78% were very much improved in their mood or behavioral disorders and 82% showed at least a 50% decrease in their ratings of depressive or manic symptoms, they even reacted positively to the medication in as little as one week after treatment (Chang, 2004).
This drug is better for children because the medication that adults use to treat bipolar disorder is not effective for children and may cause an early onset of manic episodes.
The treatment options for children still remain a mystery, but mood stabilizers remain the most commonly used drug for children.
There was a study done on 115 children ages 7 to 16 that were diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder, between 1995 and 1998. A follow-up was done in 2008, where 44% of patients, who reached age 18, continue to experience manic episodes into adulthood, while 35% develop substance abuse disorders (Geller, 2008). At the beginning of the study, 79% of children were experiencing daily mood cycling, and after reaching age 18, 67% continued to do so.
Some children who have parents with bipolar disorder who did not show any symptoms of having the disorder themselves.
There is still some argument over whether or not bipolar disorder in children can be identified properly.
The main problem is that children are being misdiagnosed by doctors and put on medication that they don’t really need.
There are a number of children who have ADHD as well as other types of behavioral problems and this makes diagnosing them with bipolar disorder much more challenging due to the fact that many of the symptoms of behavioral disorders are the same as bipolar disorder.