Contact person: Dr. K. Horn
- Prof. A. Pfennig, Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Dresden
- Prof. M. Holtmann, Department for Child Psychiatry and –psychotherapy at Ruhr-University Bochum
Recently considerable progress has been made in the field of early diagnosis of schizophrenic disorders. Neuropsychological research as well as brainimaging methods indicate that in bipolar disorders, similar to schizophrenic disorders, structural and functional alterations are pervasive. In the past, bipolar disorders have often not been diagnosed until adolescence or early adulthood. Nevertheless there is evidence that affective disorders manifest in earlier age than previously assumed. Twenty % to 60 % of adult patients with bipolar disorder retrospectively date the onset of the disease in their adolescence or earlier. During childhood and adolescence it is, due to overlapping criteria, in some cases difficult to distinguish clearly between ADHD and BPD. This problem led to international debates about the diagnosis “Pediatric Bipolar Disorder”. These debates proceed in different directions. In the U.S., there has been a considerable increase of this diagnosis for children and adolescents, whereas European therapists continue to rarely diagnose a Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.
In our study we are collecting information concerning the course and predictors of the onset of bipolar disorders, using data of children and adolescents seeking help. Our goal is to compile a catalogue of criteria and features of a bipolar prodrome that is valid for young people between the age of 12 and 18.