An individual with bipolar disorder has moods that swing from one extreme to the other. This disorder is being diagnosed more frequently, either because the condition is more known, and therefore easier to diagnose, or because of other unknown factors.
Some children with autism have bipolar-like symptoms due to hyperactivity, talking rapidly, or repeatedly changing from subject to subject. These symptoms may not necessarily indicate bipolar disorder; however, rapid mood swings in any child should always be brought to the attention of a child psychiatrist who can make the diagnosis. Some of the new medications used to treat this disorder can be extremely effective in controlling these mood swings. However, no child or teen should be started on medication without a complete physical examination, basic blood tests including a complete blood count, and a thyroid panel. A urinalysis should also be part of the diagnostic testing.