Comorbidity is common with pediatric bipolar disorder

June 3, 2002

According to Janet Wozniak, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass, children with pediatric bipolar disorder are likely to have comorbid psychiatric conditions.

 

Comorbidity is common with pediatric bipolar disorder

Children with pediatric bipolar disorder are likely to have comorbid psychiatric conditions. This overlap with other disorders may lead to underdiagnosis.

So warned Janet Wozniak, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School speaking at a media briefing sponsored by the American Medical Association in New York City last month.

"For example, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and bipolar disorder can both present with some identical symptoms, such as increased physical activity, distractibility, and talkativeness. Children with both ADHD and mania may be mistakenly diagnosed as having only 'bad ADHD' while the mania goes unrecognized."

Wozniak and her colleagues conducted a study that found 42 of 43 children with pediatric bipolar disorder also had a complete set of symptoms associated with ADHD. These ADHD symptoms do not include a mood component, however, which appears to be characteristic of pediatric bipolar disorder. The investigators also found that more than half of the children with bipolar disorder had coexisting anxiety disorders; 88% of the children with bipolar disorder also had oppositional defiant disorder; and 37% had conduct disorder.

Wozniak said that the different psychiatric disorders seen in those with pediatric bipolar disorder might each require their own individual diagnosis and treatment.

Charlotte LoBuono

 



Charlotte LoBuono. Comorbidity is common with pediatric bipolar disorder.

Drug Topics

2002;11.