Adolescent Mania and Bipolar Disorder

Scott A. West, MD


Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health eJournal. 1997;2(5) 

In This Article


Bipolar disorder commonly begins in childhood and adolescence, and the phenomenology of early-onset bipolar disorder is becoming better understood, with mixed mania and chronic mood instability being 2 apparent hallmarks. Additionally, ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms are extremely common in this group, which may add to an already confusing diagnostic picture. At this time, controlled data on the pharmacologic management of these patients are lacking. However, modest data from open trials suggest that lithium and valproate may be effective in controlling mood symptomatology, although valproate may be better tolerated in adolescents. More rigorous treatment studies have recently begun and will provide necessary data on the safety and efficacy of mood stabilizers in the treatment of early-onset bipolar disorder. This will hopefully result in an improved quality of life for patients with this devastating illness.


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