Imaging Studies Help Pinpoint Child Bipolar Circuitry
New studies have found the inner workings of pediatric bipolar disorder by capturing brain images in children. Studies also suggest that another condition -- severe mood dysregulation (SMD) -- may be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.
While studies suggest that nearly 2% of all adults suffer from
While our learning continues on pediatric BD, doctors have made a breakthrough by distinguishing brain operations for pediatric BD from another disorder afflicting children called severe mood dysregulation.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Ellen Leibenluft and her colleagues discovered this SMD. They believe the disorder has often been misdiagnosed as BD due to similarities between the two. Side effects shared by both SMD and BD include tendencies of being easily frustrated and difficulty distinguishing facial expressions.
When a child grows up with SMD, they are likely to grow out of SMD and develop depression or problems with anxiety, as opposed to pediatric BD patients who are prone to carry BD into their adult years. It is said that SMD affects approximately 3.2% of U.S. children, which is believed to be more common than pediatric BD.
Episodes of SMD can be characterized as intense mood swings or bouts of rage that may seem out of context to the situation, according to Dr. Gabrielle Carlson of the American Psychiatric Association. However, these episodes may potentially be related to other disorders common to children such as attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and autism. Current studies centered around SMD are attempting to more specifically define the disorder to distinguish it from others.