Childhood Maltreatment: Linked to Bipolar Disorder in Children

bipolar disorder in children

Childhood Maltreatment: Linked to Bipolar Disorder in Children

A Common Connection to Bipolar Disorder in Children and Maltreatment

bipolar disorder in children

Childhood maltreatment is defined by the potential or actual harm to a child, resulting from an act or failure to act, whether intentional or not. Childhood maltreatment involves emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and witnessing of domestic violence. The results of childhood maltreatment can have drastic effects on mental health later on in life. Most children who have suffered through childhood maltreatment are diagnosed with severe mental disorders in adulthood. An article by National Elf Service, discusses research that shows a link in bipolar disorder in children and childhood maltreatment.

Childhood Maltreatment: More Common Than Expected

On average, 40 to 50 percent of diagnoses of bipolar disorder in children experienced a form of childhood maltreatment.

Research on bipolar disorder in children has regularly shown that maltreatment may be linked with a range of negative clinical outcomes, including: adverse illness progression, younger age of onset, impaired cognitive function, increased risk for suicide attempts, increased number of depressive episodes, or increased panic disorders or substance use.


To test the theory that childhood maltreatment causes negative clinical outcomes for bipolar disorder in children, researchers conducted a study that reviewed previous studies pertaining to childhood maltreatment and bipolar disorder. In total, researchers evaluated 30 eligible studies. What they found was that bipolar disorder in children who had experienced maltreatment was significantly worse clinical outcomes than bipolar disorder in children who hadn’t experienced maltreatment. The largest negative occurrence from clinical outcomes was risk of suicide attempt and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Bipolar disorder in children who had experienced maltreatment were found twice as likely to attempt suicide, and over three times more like to have PTSD.


In a society where childhood maltreatment is highly predominant, the research reveals the extreme negative effects that it can have on children long term. A history of childhood maltreatment could be an indicator for not only bipolar disorder in children but also other mental disorders. Therapists who have a better knowledge of previous maltreatment can provide a more targeted and specific form of treatment. Looking at childhood trauma for children with bipolar disorder could reveal a better understanding of current issues and treatment.

ViewPoint Center Can Help!

ViewPoint Center is a mental health hospital for teens, ages 12 to 17. At ViewPoint Center, we provide superior assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and stabilization–all in a personalized environment for your child.

For more information about how ViewPoint Center handles teen eating disorders, contact us today at 801-825-5222!


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