New Study Shows that Bipolar Symptoms May Begin in Adolescence

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

teen girlMental health clinicians and researchers have debated about the average onset age of bipolar disorder.  A study published in the May 2012 Archives of General Psychiatry may have another clue towards solving this debate.  The study, led by Kathleen Ries Merikangas, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health, showed that 2.5% of the 10,123 teenagers surveyed (approx. 253 teens) met the criteria for lifetime bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.

Because the percentage is so close to that of adults diagnosed with bipolar disorder (2.6%), these findings may suggest that bipolar disorder first manifests in one's teen years rather than their 20s or 30s.


Read the study abstract

Read an interview with Dr. Merikangas

Get our Depression and Bipolar Wellness Guides for Parents and Teens

Family Profiles