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Manic depression or bipolar disorder has only recently been diagnosed in children. In the past, the condition was only thought to affect adults.

However, medical experts now recognize that even very young children can suffer from the disorder. Bringing up a bipolar child can be both terribly worrying and extremely challenging.

The main symptoms of bipolar in children are typically the same as those experienced by adults. Dramatic changes in mood and energy levels, as well as bouts of severer anger are common. Other symptoms may include bed wetting, nightmares, hallucinations, impulsiveness, and a disinterest in play. The behavioral swings experienced by bipolar children are often more extreme than those displayed by adults.

Testing for bipolar in children is the same as that in adults with the focus on the length of manic episodes the child experiences. However, it can be very difficult to differentiate between bipolar and regular depression in children. The disorder in children often follows a cyclical path which can be mistaken for normal depression.

Treatment for children with bipolar will comprise medications, counseling, and symptom management techniques. A great deal of support is needed both from within the family, and from outside groups.

Living with a bipolar child can be very difficult for parents and siblings. The disorder can cause immense disruption to daily family life. Relationships can become strained, and unhealthy feelings of resentment or hopelessness can develop. This is why it's so important for everyone to pull in the same direction, and to seek and accept as much outside help as you can. It can sometimes seem like a nightmare, but focus on the fact, that things will get better.

Where to now?

Symptoms - the main signs of the problem.
Treatment - how bipolar is typically treated.
Testing - how to test for the condition.
Children with bipolar - dealing with the problem in children.
Medication - drugs used to treat the problem.
People with the disorder - celebrities with bipolar.
Support - getting help in the UK.
Depression and bipolar - the similarities and the differences.

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