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Expert Rev Neurother. 2007 Mar;7(3):259-70.

Pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder among children and adolescents.

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  • 1Stony Brook State University of New York, NY, USA. joseph.blader@stonybrook.edu

Abstract

There is growing recognition that bipolar disorder frequently first presents in adolescence. Preadolescents with volatile behavior and severe mood swings also comprise a large group of patients whose difficulties may lie within the bipolar spectrum. However, the preponderance of scientific effort and clinical trials for this condition has focused on adults. This review summarizes the complexity of bipolar disorder and diagnosis of the disease among young people. It proceeds to review the principles of pharmacotherapy, assess current treatment options and to highlight areas where evidence-based guidance is lacking. Recent developments have enlarged the range of potential treatments for bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, differences in the phenomenology, course and sequelae of bipolar disorder among young people compel greater attention to the benefits and liabilities of therapy for those affected by this illness' early onset. By summarizing current research and opinion on diagnostic issues and treatment approaches, this review aims to provide an update on a clinically important yet controversial topic.

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