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Although 20% to 40% of adults with bipolar disorder (BP) retrospectively report onset in childhood, there was previously debate about the onset of BP during childhood and adolescence.  Recent research provides overwhelming evidence that early-onset BP (here defined as prior to age 18) exists, can be reliably diagnosed, and is associated with substantial functional impairment. The prevalence of early-onset BP appears to increase during late adolescence with a prevalence as high as 6% in the United States.

Educational objectives:

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Improve skills for differential diagnosis of bipolar disorder in youth
  • Increase specificity when assessing for symptoms of early-onset bipolar disorder
  • Utilize evidence-based treatment recommendations for youth with bipolar disorder

Reading Resources:

  1. Birmaher, B., Gill, M. K., Axelson, D., Goldstein, B., Goldstein, T., Yu, H., . . . Keller, M. (2014). Longitudinal trajectories and assocaited baseline predictors in youths with bipolar spectrum disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171(9), 990-999.
  2. Axelson, D. A., Birmaher, B., Strober, M., Gill, M. K., Valeri, S., Chiappetta, L., . . . Keller, M. (2006). Phenomenology of children and adolescents with bipolar spectrum disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 1139-1148.
  3. West, A., & Pavuluri, M. N. (2009). Psychosocial treatments for childhood and adolescent bipolar disorder. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18(2), 471-482.


Doctor Goldstein reports grant and research support from NIMH, AFSP, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and royalties from Guilford Press.

All presenters disclosure of relevant financial relationships with any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients is listed above.  No other planners, members of the planning committee, speakers, presenters, authors, content reviewers and/or anyone else in a position to control the content of this education activity have relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Accreditation Statement:

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of .5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded (0.05) continuing education units (CEU) which are equivalent to .5 contact hour.

For your credit transcript, please access our website 4 weeks post-completion at and follow the link to the Credit Transcript page. If you do not provide the last 5 digits of your SSN on the next page you will not be able to access a CME credit transcript. Providing your SSN is voluntary.

Release Date: 10/23/2017 | Last Modified On: 10/23/2017 | Expires: 10/23/2018

This course has been expired.