Monday, February 28, 2011

Severe Childhood Mood Disorder

I recently read this article from a link provided by CABF and wanted to pass it on to you if you missed it. This article discusses the possibility of a childhood mental illness that is very similar to early onset bipolar disorder that may be affecting a lot of kids previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

I found the description of the child with Severe Mood Disorder to be very similar to our situation. I appreciated that this condition was described as being extraordinarily disabling to the child and their families. In previous reports of this illness,  I never felt that they truly appreciated the seriousness of the symptoms and the affect it had on children. I found it interesting that they found that these kids were just as impaired as those with bipolar disorder and I was also glad to see that they did acknowledge that bipolar disorder can occur in children.

Maybe this is the missing link we’ve been looking for. This would explain a lot if they determined that there was an illness that resembled bipolar disorder in children that would later become depression or anxiety as an adult.

I also thought it was interesting that in this article, Ellen Leibenluft M.D., mentioned that bipolar disorder in children may have a spectrum, that there may be overlapping brain dysfunction between severe mood disorder and bipolar disorder. (Moran, 2011)

The only question that is bugging me after reading this article is where does Bipolar II fit into all of this. Isn’t Bipolar II Disorder a bipolar illness without the mania? I understand it has hypomania, but that isn’t as easy to see. Hmmm...

So where does my son fit into all of this, I think only time will tell.

It’s exciting to see new research and steps towards better understanding and treatment, check out the article below:

Severe Childhood Mood Disorder May Be Unique Syndrome

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Psychiatric News
Volume 46 Number 2 Page 4

Severe Childhood Mood Disorder May Be Unique Syndrome
By Mark Moran
January 21, 2011


  1. Thanks for posting this!

  2. I just read this same article last night before seeing your post this morning! Even though my daughter has had two separate diagnoses of BP, I kind of feel like the severe mood disregulation disorder is a better fit for her. And I agree, this is the first article I've seen that seems to view this disorder as a serious illness.

  3. Ironically, I read about this last week in an article by Mark Moran in the Psychiatric News:
    I printed it and plan to share it w/ our doctor on Thursday and ask for her opinion. Yes, I too, am thrilled to read more (and to know there's ongoing research of our children's issues).

  4. Leigh- Let us know what your doctor says about this article if you care to share, I would be interested in the buzz going around in the office about it.

  5. Trying to deal with this horrendous cycle of being on the medication and getting off the medications is the biggest challenge that bipolar individuals and their families have to deal with on a daily basis.
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