Bipolar Disorder has received increasing attention in the past decade as research has shown the offspring of parents with Bipolar Disorder may also be at risk for Bipolar Disorder. Recent studies have indicated that the incidence of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents can be as high as 1%.
Although classic descriptions in adults involve distinct episodes of depression and mood elevation, the diagnostic criteria for children and adolescents had been less consistently described. Common symptoms that have been documented in the literature have included mood lability, anxiety, attention difficulties, hyperarousal, elevated moods alternating with periods of depressions, . In addition, in children the periods of mania and depression are not always as clearly defined as they are in adults. Children tend to experience rapid fluctuations in mood and behavior. For this reason some experts question whether pediatric bipolar disorder is the same illness as adult bipolar disorder or another type of mental illness.