Pin Me

What Medication is Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder in Children?

written by: Joy Lynskey • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 9/24/2010

Figuring out what medication for bipolar disorder in children is required may lead you through a few of the most common medications for this condition. Often children may need to try more than one medication before finding the best match for them.

  • slide 1 of 10

    Often the child suffering from bipolar disorder, regardless of age, is the last to recognize their outbursts, moments of violence, depression, or mania as being a mental health issue. However, those closest to them including friends and loved ones are commonly the first to realize something is terribly wrong. For some of those children dealing with bipolar disorder, medication may be required.

  • slide 2 of 10

    Common Medication for Bipolar Disorder in Children

    There are a variety of medications that can be used for treatment of this mental illness. Other factors such as the presence of ADHD, or other issues on top of the bipolar disorder, can alter the type or strength of medications, but there is a basic overall set of preferred medication for bipolar disorder in children listed below.

  • slide 3 of 10

    Depakote

    Depakote or Valproic acid (Divalproex Sodium), is a newer anti convulsant used on children with bipolar disorder who suffer from rapidly cycling mood disorders. This medication acts as a calming mood stabilizer without the side effects of some previously prescribed medications for this mental illness.

  • slide 4 of 10

    Lithium

    Lithium has been used for mental health disorders in children for quite some time for many reasons. Also known as Eskalith, Cibalith-S, Lithobid, Lithium is a natural salt. This mood stabilizer is considered very effective for the treatment of depression and mania.

  • slide 5 of 10

    Neurontin

    This is also a highly commonly prescribed medication for bipolar disorder in children. Also a mood stabilizer, this as well as similar medications such as Topomax and Tegretol, are usually used for short term remedies to unstable or manic mood episodes.

  • slide 6 of 10

    Seroquel

    An anti psychotic medication, Seroquel is usually used to help control issues bipolar children may suffer from when they also have high anxiety or episodes of aggressive or violent behavior.

  • slide 7 of 10

    Medication Combinations

    Often children who suffer from bipolar disorder also have other underlying mental health issues such as attention deficiet disorder or general anxiety disorder. This is a common reason for the need to combine medications to achieve a stable and healthy mental state.

  • slide 8 of 10

    Additional Medication for Bipolar Disorder in Children

    Benzodiazepines can add additional mood stabilization and anxiety reduction to those who may need more than what is prescribed in other medications. Although it is far more uncommon these days for these narcotic medications to be prescribed to children, there are those who find great benefits in benzodiazepines that get little relief from the more commonly prescribed medications. The most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines are;

    • Xanax (alprazolam)
    • Klonopin (clonazepam)
    • Valium (diazepam)
    • Ativan (lorazepam)

    Additionally, a new alternative in medication for bipolar disorder in children is the usage of medications known as calcium channel blockers that are commonly prescribed to those who need to regular their blood pressure. These medications are thought to offer some mood stabilization properties to some children who suffer from bipolar disorder.

    Medications on this list can include;

    • Nifedipine
    • Verapamil
    • Diltiazem
    • Nimodipine

  • slide 9 of 10

    Continuing Treatment

    The treatment including medication for bipolar disorder in children may never be an exact science since not all children, or body chemistries, are created equally. This may require going through a series of medications until the right combination is found to best help the child and the loved ones close by that can be greatly effected by this mental health disorder as well.

  • slide 10 of 10

    References

    Read more about treatment options for Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.

    NIMH. (2009). Bipolar Disorder: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml National Alliance on Mental Illness http://www.nami.org/

    http://pediatrics.about.com/od/weeklyquestion/a/04_bipolar_kids.htm

    http://www.ehow.com/about_4796452_medications-used-treat-bipolar-disorder.html