Children and teenagers with Bipolar Disorder have manic and/or depressive symptoms. Some may have mostly depression and others a combination of manic and depressive symptoms.
Bipolar Disorder can begin in childhood and during the teenage years, although it is usually diagnosed in adult life. The illness can affect anyone; however, if one or both parents have Bipolar Disorder, the chances are greater that their children may develop the disorder. Family history of drug or alcohol abuse also may be associated with greater risk for Bipolar Disorder.
Schizophrenia is rare in children under 12. Schizophrenia may have a gradual onset, with symptoms of withdrawal and disordered language seen over time, or it can have a sudden onset in adolescence. Schizophrenia is characterized by the distorted thinking associated with delusions and hallucinations.
Delusions are ideas that seem real, but are not based in reality. Hallucinations occur when a person sees, hears, or feels things that are not there.
Youngsters diagnosed with this disorder should get help as soon as possible. Medication is the most effective treatment for the symptoms and improves the day-to-day functioning of individuals with schizophrenia.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) usually begins in adolescence and young adulthood and is seen in as many as 1 in 200 children and adolescents. OCD is characterized by repeated obsessions and/or compulsions that are extreme enough to cause severe discomfort.
Obsessions are unrealistic or irrational thoughts, impulses or images that are recurrent and persistent and cause extreme anxiety or distress. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals (like hand washing, hoarding, excessively keeping things in order, checking something over and over) or mental acts (like counting, or repeating words silently).
Eating disorders are serious disturbances in eating behavior. These include unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight. Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior. Rather, they are real treatable medical illnesses in which certain patterns of eating take over a person’s life.
The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third type, binge-eating disorder has been suggested but not approved as a psychiatric disorder.