Pediatric bipolar disorder: Recognition in primary care

Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1250, USA.
Current opinion in pediatrics (Impact Factor: 2.53). 11/2008; 20(5):560-5. DOI: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32830fe3d2
Source: PubMed


Bipolar disorder (BPD) is increasingly diagnosed in youth in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Research on BPD in youth has also increased dramatically; this paper summarizes issues of clinical relevance in primary care, advancements in the last year, and areas in which more research is needed.
Key issues and new developments are summarized in the following areas such as epidemiology and relevance, assessment and differential diagnosis, patient and family decision support, shared decision making and triage, treatment, and monitoring and collaboration with mental health professionals. Recent practice guidelines have important implications for diagnosis and treatment.
Early-onset BPD appears to have a more severe course and more comorbidity than later life onset, as well as longer delays in treatment seeking. Affected children show differences in cognitive functioning and neuroanatomy compared with the general population. Assessment of BPD in children needs to be comprehensive and longitudinal, as diagnosis remains a debated topic. Medications are a primary part of treatment, but more double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are needed. Psychosocial adjunctive treatment is important. Children with a family history of BPD are at risk for impaired functioning and psychopathology; high-risk studies will increase our understanding of the onset and course of BPD.

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