European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 510–516 | Cite as

Differences between prepubertal- versus adolescent- onset bipolar disorder in a Spanish clinical sample

  • Luisa Lázaro
  • Josefina Castro-Fornieles
  • José Eugenio de la Fuente
  • Immaculada Baeza
  • Astrid Morer
  • Montserrat Pàmias



To examine patients attended and diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD) at a child and adolescent psychiatry service; to record age of diagnosis and age of onset, and to study clinical differences between prepubertal and adolescent onset groups.


All patients currently attended for BD type I, type II or non specified BD were reviewed and divided into two age groups: prepubertal onset (beginning before age 13) and adolescent onset (beginning at or above age 13).


The sample were 43 patients with BD. Fourteen (32.6%) with prepubertal onset and 29 (67.4%) with adolescent onset. Time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis was longer in the prepubertal onset group (1.2 years versus 0.8 years respectively, P = .05). Patients with prepubertal onset BD more frequently presented previous symptoms such as irritability and conduct problems and had a higher rate of comorbidity (more frequently attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder–ADHD). The adolescent onset group more often presented psychotic symptoms.


The clinical characteristics of patients with bipolar disorder differ according to whether onset is prepubertal or adolescent.

Key words

bipolar disorder children adolescents mania 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Lázaro
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Josefina Castro-Fornieles
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • José Eugenio de la Fuente
    • 1
  • Immaculada Baeza
    • 1
  • Astrid Morer
    • 1
  • Montserrat Pàmias
    • 1
  1. 1.Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology Department, Clinical Institute of NeurosciencesHospital Clínic Universitari of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Institut d’investigacions biomèdiques, August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology Department, Health Sciences DivisionUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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