Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in children include extreme sadness, a lack of interest in play, explosive and destructive outbursts, separation anxiety, and defiance, according to PsychCentral. Children with bipolar disorder may also experience bed wetting, night terrors, hyperactivity, agitation and frequent food cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.
Children with bipolar disorder also exhibit symptoms that include impulsive and racing thoughts, risky physical behavior, irritable moods, inappropriate sexual behavior, and excessive involvement in multiple activities and projects, explains PsychCentral. Children with bipolar disorder often alternate between sleeping too much and sleeping too little. In severe cases, bipolar disorder causes children to believe they can defy the laws of logic such as believing they have the ability to fly.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder cycle rapidly in young children, alternating between manic stages with extreme hyperactivity and depressive stages characterized by low energy and extreme bouts of sadness, according to WebMD. The disorder is often difficult to diagnose in children because the symptoms are similar to mood disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
Bipolar disorder is more common in teenagers and young adults, but children as young as 6 years old can exhibit symptoms of the disorder, explains WebMD.