The onset of bipolar disorder can be gradual but it usually appears suddenly, emerging in adolescence or even childhood, “often between the ages of 15-24, with 90% of cases diagnosed by the age of 30” (Ballas, 2005). Research is presently underway by NIMH (Child, 2006) to better understand diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in youths.
Is Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a form of bipolar disorder or is it a different illness? ADHD manifests some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which makes it difficult to know at an early age whether a child actually has a bipolar disorder or just ADHD. The stimulant medications used to treat ADHD may worsen manic symptoms, and antidepressant medication may induce manic symptoms. Since ADHD does not show manic symptoms as a rule, it is important to follow up with a physician if these symptoms occur. It should be noted that the manic symptoms in young people might not show euphoria but instead can be disruptive (NIMH: Child, 2006).
The symptoms of bipolar disorder go beyond manic and depressive behavior. There are degrees of symptoms such as severe depression, mild to moderate depression, normal mood, hypomania and severe mania. A person in a severe depressed state may sleep more than usual, refuse to get out of bed, have crying bouts, become unable to make simple decisions, feel hopeless for a sustained period of time, and wish to die. ...