Children at Risk
The lifetime risk for developing this disorder is about 1 percent in the general population but can be much higher in families in which other members have mood disorders. Although this disorder is highly treatable, 90% of those who discontinue medication have a recurrence within 18 months, and overall an alarming 15% of those with Bipolar Disorder commit suicide. Without treatment, individuals with Bipolar Disorder are at risk for alcohol and drug abuse.
Bipolar Disorder is uncommon in children under the age of twelve, and is most often diagnosed during adolescence between the ages of 15 and 19 years. There is, however, increasing belief that the signs are present, but unrecognized, early in life.