Bipolar disorder is not usually diagnosed in young children; however, children may show the signs of a developing Bipolar Disorder. A child may experience manic and depressive episodes, which are different from normal mood swings and accompanied by noticeable changes in activity level, eating, and sleep patterns. During manic episodes a child may become hyperactive, have a shorter temper than usual, and engage in riskier behaviors, whereas during depressive episodes a child may be lethargic, feel intense guilt or helplessness, or even express thoughts of suicide.
In recent years, many children previously diagnosed with a developing bipolar disorder are now classified as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD). A qualified professional can differentiate between the two, and identify an appropriate treatment plan.