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What Is Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder?


Updated June 05, 2009

Definition: Childhood onset bipolar disorder (also known as early onset bipolar disorder, pediatric bipolar disorder or juvenile onset bipolar disorder) is a term used to describe a type of bipolar disorder that starts in childhood. While this may sound simple, it's actually a somewhat complicated and controversial diagnosis, for several reasons:

At present, there is no formal diagnostic definition or standardized criteria for diagnosing bipolar disorder in children. There also is considerable controversy surrounding what constitutes a diagnosis of childhood onset bipolar disorder. Required age ranges (i.e. under age 18, must be older than 2, etc.) and specific symptoms such as irritability or racing thoughts vary from one doctor or research study to another.

Therefore, this term – as with the other terms for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in kids – has a rather broad application and in some cases may not even be recognized by some practitioners.

Also Known As: COBPD
Early Onset Bipolar Disorder
Pediatric Bipolar Disorder
Juvenile Bipolar Disorder
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