Response To Diagnosing Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.

Posted: December 6th, 2022

Response To Diagnosing Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.


I agree that pediatric bipolar disorders have for a long time posed challenges to mental healthcare providers and primary care physicians to diagnose. Apart from this challenge being attributed to the fact that it takes up to 10 years for signs and symptoms to be accurately diagnosed, the fact that some of the signs and symptoms overlap with those of other systemic illnesses adds to the challenge and difficulty in diagnosis (Jenkins & Youngstrom, 2016).   It is for this reason that mental healthcare providers use the adult criteria to diagnose it Response To Diagnosing Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.


The controversy that surrounds pediatric bipolar disorder and the fact that it may take approximately 10 years to diagnose it is an indicator to lower likelihoods of recovery. Universally, it is acceptable that bipolar disorder in children presents clinically different from adults. However, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the criterion for diagnosing adults has always been used for children.  For the purposes of illustrating the extent to which it is difficult in using this criterion to diagnose children, the manual states that, a maniac episode needs a separate timeframe   that a child displays expansiveness, elevated and irritable mood which  is continuous for at least four days (Kessing, Vradi & Andersen, 2015). On the other hand, most children with this disorder tend to have energy and mood shifts numerous times in a day.

Major diagnostic challenges may also be presented with children who have delayed to attain the neurocognitive, emotional and physical maturity. However, for mental healthcare providers and primary care physicians who may have observed and followed up children for quite some time, it will be easier to differentiate maniac symptoms from normal development behavior. This is quite an advantage in the accuracy of diagnosing pediatric bipolar disorder.


Diagnosing pediatric bipolar disorder is a challenge in itself mainly because it takes on average 10 years before bipolar clients are accurately diagnosed and treated. Also symptoms vary drastically in bipolar in children than adults, but they use the same adult criteria to diagnose children with bipolar. Also children are still tackling developmental milestones that may exhibit symptoms of bipolar but later on these symptoms are no longer present (Renk, et al., 2014). It is extremely difficult to distinguish manic symptoms form normal developmental behavior in children. Also there is a high rate of comorbidities diagnoses that overlap symptoms in bipolar causing difficulty in diagnosing. It is highly recommended that comprehensive longitudinal evaluations of children who may have bipolar be done before making an actual diagnosis. If there is no doubt that the child has bipolar then immediate treatment should be initiated to avoid delay in care and to have better outcomes. Many children are misdiagnosed with bipolar, but there are many children who go undiagnosed and untreated Response To Diagnosing Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.

The criteria must be better defined to objectively and accurately diagnose a child with bipolar (Birmaher, 2013).  Adverse consequences occur from misdiagnosis and underdiagnoses of bipolar diagnosis, patients are diagnosed with major depression who actually have bipolar disorder are only treated with an antidepressant and this increases the risk for manic behavior and mood swings (McCormick, 2015).  Bipolar in children is a highly controversial topic that I do not fully support unless there is no uncertainty proven by family history and consistent persistent symptoms.

There is definitely a gray area when diagnosing a child with any psychiatric disorder, but through assessments, allowing room for normal developmental growth, and consistent follow up with patients will greatly assist the advanced clinician with accurately diagnosing a patient Response To Diagnosing Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.

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