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Hidden Symptoms of Childhood Bipolar Disorder

The Core Phenotype - A Better Way to Diagnoise Bipolar in Children

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder

Diagnosing mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder (previously considered an adult only disorder), in children is very complex. While many questions about what bipolar disorder really looks like in children still remain unanswered, especially those regarding co-morbid (co-occurring) diagnoses, researchers have started to define a list of symptoms and behavioral traits that range from "very common" to "less common" that have been observed consistently in children with early-onset bipolar disorder. This list of childhood bipolar symptoms includes:



  1. Separation anxiety
  2. Rages and explosive temper tantrums
  3. Marked irritability
  4. Oppositional/defiant behavior
  5. Rapid cycling (frequent mood swings, occurring within an hour, a day, or several days) or mood lability
  6. Racing thoughts
  7. Aggressive behavior
  8. Distractibility
  9. Hyperactivity
  10. Impulsivity
  11. Restlessness and/or fidgetiness
  12. Risk-taking behaviors
  13. Elation as represented by periods of extremely silly, giddy, or goofy behavior
  14. Night terrors
  15. Difficulty getting to sleep
  16. Difficulty getting up in the morning (sleep inertia)
  17. Grandiosity
  18. Periods of low energy and withdrawal
  19. Low self-esteem
  20. Carbohydrate cravings
  21. Hoarding or avidly collecting objects or food
  22. Lying to avoid consequences of his or her actions
  23. Easily humiliated or shamed
  24. Complaints of body temperature extremes
  25. Hallucinations and delusions



  1. Rapid or pressured speech
  2. Hypersexuality
  3. Obsessive behavior
  4. Compulsive behavior
  5. Excessive daydreaming
  6. Learning disabilities
  7. Poor working memory
  8. Lack of organization
  9. Fascinations with gore or blood or morbid topics
  10. Manipulative behavior
  11. Extremely bossy behavior with friends and/or bullying
  12. Self-mutilating behaviors
  13. Destruction of property
  14. Suicidal thoughts
  15. Paranoia



  1. Bedwetting
  2. Bingeing and/or eating disorders
  3. Motor and vocal tics
  4. Cruelty to animals










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