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Bipolar Teen

Mark-

The diagnoses is in - he's got bipolar. This is what we thought all along based on the info on your site and your emails. Do you know how this is treated?

Thanks,

F.

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Hi F.,

Once the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made, the treatment of children and adolescents is based mainly on experience with adults, since as yet there is very limited data on the efficacy and safety of mood stabilizing medications in youth.

The essential treatment for this disorder in adults involves the use of appropriate doses of mood stabilizers, most typically lithium and/or valproate, which are often very effective for controlling mania and preventing recurrences of manic and depressive episodes.

Research on the effectiveness of these and other medications in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder is ongoing. In addition, studies are investigating various forms of psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, to complement medication treatment for this illness in young people.

Lithium is a naturally occurring substance. As a medication, lithium reduces chemicals in the body that cause excitation or mania. Lithium is used to treat manic episodes of manic-depressive illness. Lithium helps to prevent and control symptoms of mania such as hyperactivity, rushed speech, poor judgment, reduced need for sleep, aggression, and anger.

Valproate is also an excellent mood stabilizer and is superior to lithium for mixed, chronic, or atypical forms of bipolar disorder in children. It has also been successfully used to treat aggression in patients with FXS and in children with autism.

Good luck - stay in touch,

Mark

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