Pediatric bipolar disorder: Comorbidity
- Boris Birmaher, MD
Boris Birmaher, MD
- Endowed Chair in Early Onset Bipolar Disease, Professor of Psychiatry
- University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is characterized by recurrent episodes of elevated mood (mania or hypomania), which exceed what is expected for the child’s developmental stage and are not better explained by other psychiatric and general medical conditions [1-4]. In addition, youth with bipolar disorder usually have recurrent episodes of major depression; however, depressive episodes are not necessary for making the diagnosis. Pediatric bipolar disorder severely affects normal development and psychosocial functioning and increases the risk for behavioral, academic, social, and legal problems, as well as psychosis, substance abuse, and suicide [1,2,5].
Pediatric bipolar disorder is usually characterized by psychiatric comorbid conditions, and many bipolar patients have multiple comorbid illnesses [6,7]. The presence of comorbidities in youth with bipolar disorder may hinder clinicians from recognizing bipolar disorder. Clinicians should identify and treat comorbidities because they may adversely affect response to treatment of bipolar disorder and the course of illness [6,8,9].
This topic describes the comorbid psychiatric and general medical illnesses that commonly occur in pediatric bipolar disorder. The epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents are discussed separately.To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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