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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Concerning Behavior in Daughter

01/28/2008

Question:

Hello, our daughter a twin of fourteen has ben problematic for the last three years,she is now lying, above what is normal for her age ,sneaking out denying even when discovered and has recently snuck out again and has had sexual intercourse with a boy whom she does not know well,two nights later she snuck out again.Prior to this drinking,and using drugs we have tried just about everything,she has been to a youth counselor and we monitor her behavior and her wherabouts,she also rages and has anxiety. As a health practioner myself I am concerned that it may be bipolar disorder, her twin is difficult but does not seem to exhibit any of these traits, I have been mindful of typical teenage angst but this is above and beyond this any suggestions?

Answer:

Hello,

Thank you for your e-mail and excellent question. Although I can't say if this is "above and beyond" "typical teenage angst" from your e-mail, it does sound like it is cause for concern, as it may well lead (or be leading) to significant impairment in her life at home, school, with peers and her physical health.

The only way to know if your daughter's behavior is caused by bipolar disorder, or any psychiatric disorder for that matter, or other situation in her life is to get a comprehensive and detailed psychological assessment from a trained mental health professional. Because symptoms can mimic several other disorders and many disorders occur together (comorbidity), it's essential that a comprehensive and detailed psychological assessment of ALL the psychiatric diagnoses be conducted to identify which diagnoses and symptoms are present and which can be ruled-out and any other conditions that may be triggering this behavior.

I would suggest calling your local university, community mental health center, or National Association of Mentally Ill chapter to ask for names, locations and phone numbers of mental health professionals who have expertise assessing and treating adolescents.

I hope this answer is helpful.

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Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University