, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 71-88

Psychosocial Interventions for Children with Early-Onset Bipolar Spectrum Disorder

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Once considered virtually nonexistent, bipolar disorder in children has recently received a great deal of attention from mental health professionals and the general public. This paper provides a current review of literature pertaining to the psychosocial treatment of children with early-onset bipolar spectrum disorder (EOBPSD). Commencing with evidence of the emerging interest in this topic, we then focus on terminology, the rationale for studying EOBPSD in children, current research and clinical progress, possible explanations for the recent increase in recognition, and essential issues that form the foundation of effective psychosocial treatment. Next we explore areas of research with direct implications for psychosocial treatment. These include biological and psychosocial risk factors associated with bipolar disorder; and the psychosocial treatment of adult-onset bipolar disorder, childhood-onset unipolar disorder, and anger management in children. Following this, we discuss treatments being developed and tested for children with EOBPSD. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for future studies needed to move the field forward.