Clinical picture and treatment of bipolar affective disorder in children and adolescents

Psychiatr Pol. 2020 Mar 29;54(1):35-50. doi: 10.12740/PP/OnlineFirst/92740. Epub 2020 Mar 29.
[Article in English, Polish]


Bipolar disorder (BD) is characterized by pathological changes in mood as well as recurring episodes of mania, hypomania, depression and mixed symptoms. In recent years, the number of BD diagnoses has risen considerably in children and adolescents. Itis believed that anaverage rate of prevalence of bipolar spectrum disorder in the pediatric population is 1.8%, and BD type I - 1.2%, and the prevalence of the disorder increases with the age of patients. Despite the same diagnostic criteria, there are premises that suggest thatthe symptoms of the disorder are present with a different frequency among children and adolescents than in adults. The most frequent manic symptom in persons with childhood-onset of the illness is thought to be irritability, and in adolescence -hyperactivity. BD in children and adolescent population is accompanied by a high rate of comorbid psychiatric conditions. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline personality disorder constitute particular diagnostic challenges. Early onset of BP is linked with a more severe course of the illness, worse prognosis, and a higher suicidal rate. Pharmacotherapy of BD in the pediatric population includes 1st and 2nd generation mood stabilizers, while their efficacy and safety profiles are different than in adults. The American Food and Drug Administration recommends treating manic episodes in young persons with lithium, aripiprazole, quetiapine, risperidone, olanzapine and depressive episodes with a combination therapy of olanzapine and fluoxetine.

Keywords: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; bipolar disorder; therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / prevention & control
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complications
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Antipsychotic Agents