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Bipolar disorder in children should consider irritability a symptom

New research adds to mounting evidence that when diagnosing bipolar disorder in children doctors and clinicians should consider irritability as a possible symptom.

New research adds to mounting evidence that when diagnosing bipolar disorder in children doctors and clinicians should consider irritability as a possible symptom.

The study, by researchers at the Bradley Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, both in Rhode Island, and colleagues from other centers, is published online in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Lead author Dr. Jeffrey Hunt, a child psychiatrist and training director at Bradley Hospital, and colleagues, write that a small proportion of children with bipolar disorder have manic episodes without extreme elation, which is normally a distinguishing characteristic of bipolar disorder, and these are diagnosed on the basis of irritable mood only.

Bipolar disorder manifests as dramatic changes in mood that swings from the manic phase where euphoria, elation and irritability are present, to severe depression.

The disorder usually starts in the late teens to early adult, although it can also appear during preschool years.

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