What happens to children with bipolar disorder?
Boris Birmaher, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues at UCLA and Brown University, followed 367 of children with the disorder for an average of eight years to find out.
45% of the subjects had had a stable mood for most of the follow-up period.
Birmaher reported the findings at a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation symposium in New York, where he was honored for outstanding achievements in childhood-onset bipolar disorder research.
The research by Birmaher and colleagues also showed that youth whose bipolar illness developed later in adolescence; who at intake had less-severe depressive and manic symptoms, less suicidality, and less substance abuse; and who lived in families with a higher socioeconomic status were more likely to do well. These findings suggest that treatments that could delay the onset of the disorder or that target other factors related to illness course might increase the likelihood that youth with bipolar disorder will be able to maintain a long-term stable mood, the researchers concluded.