Bipolar disorder: Overview

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Learn about the different types of bipolar disorder and how they differ from everyday mood swings.

Key points

  • Mood changes that are severe or sustained, interfere with everyday activities, pose a safety risk or include symptoms of psychosis can be a sign that a child or teen has developed bipolar disorder.
  • A manic episode (lasting at least seven days) must occur before a child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, type 1. A hypomanic episode (lasting at least four days) must be present before a child is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, type 2.
  • See your doctor if your child is experiencing symptoms of hypomania or mania.
  • Go to the nearest emergency department if your child is voicing suicidal thoughts, engaging in significant risk-taking behaviours or showing symptoms of psychosis.
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Last updated: July 15th 2016