Bipolar Child Symptoms Checklist
If you suspect your child has bipolar disorder, a child bipolar symptoms checklist can be useful. You can use it to identify how many bipolar disorder symptoms you child has. It’s important to remember, though, that your child can have many of these pediatric bipolar disorder symptoms and still not warrant a diagnosis of bipolar. That said, if your child has many of the bipolar symptoms on this checklist, it’s worth checking with a professional, such as a psychiatrist, to rule out any possible mental illnesses. Print out the checklist and share it with your child’s doctor.
A Checklist for Bipolar Symptoms in Children
There are many possible childhood bipolar disorder symptoms. According to the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation, the following could be on a bipolar child symptoms checklist:
- My child has very irritable moods and/or throws age-inappropriate, protracted, explosive tantrums.
- My child is physically aggressive and/or curses in anger.
- My child shows severe mood changes and disruptive behavior with each major mood.
- My child shows excessive worry or anxiety.
- My child has difficulty waking in the morning.
- My child is hyperactive at night and/or has trouble getting or staying asleep.
- My child has nightmares or night terrors and/or wets the bed.
- My child craves sweet-tasting food.
- My child is easily distracted and/or fidgets and/or is intolerant of delays.
- My child can focus on things of innate interest.
- My child has poor handwriting.
- My child has difficulty organizing tasks and/or making transitions and/or estimating time.
- My child has trouble with auditory processing and/or short-term memory.
- My child is extremely sensitive to touch and/or sound and/or complains of extreme body temperature.
- My child is easily excitable.
- My child has periods of high, frenetic energy. In these periods, my child often:
- Has many ideas at once
- Interrupts others
- Has excessive and rapid speech
- Has exaggerated ideas about his or herself and his or her abilities
- Shows precocious sexual curiosity/displays sexual behavior
- Takes excessive risks
- My child complains of being bored.
- My child has periods of low energy where the child is withdrawn.My child experiences period of doubt or low-self-esteem and /or feels easily humiliated and/or shamed, criticized or rejected.
- My child relentlessly pursues his or her own needs and is demanding of others.
- My child is willful and refuses to be subordinated; argues with adults and/or is bossy and/or breaks the rules and/or angers in response to limit-setting.
- My child blames others for his or her mistakes and/or lies to avoid consequences.
- My child has difficulty maintaining friendships.
- My child has intentionally destroyed property.
- My child makes threats toward his or herself and/or others.
- My child has made threats of suicide.
- My child is fascinated with gore, blood and violent imagery.
- My child has experience hallucinations (typically auditory or visual).
- My child hoards or avidly collects food or objects.
- My child has concern with dirt, germs or contamination.
- My child is very intuitive and/or creative.
Note when considering whether a child has any of the given bipolar symptoms, it is only when the symptom shows up often or very often that it should be considered a possible symptom. Also, a subset of the above bipolar symptom checklist items can indicate another mental illness such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is why it’s critical to get a formal diagnosis from a qualified professional such as a psychiatrist.