60% of adults with bipolar 1 disorder report that they experienced their first symptom when they were an adolescent or younger, and approximately 500,000 children and teens have experienced some type of symptom of bipolar 1 disorder in their lives. According to renowned psychopharmacologist, Dr. Adelaide Robb (who is also Chief of the Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at the Children’s National Medical Center) bipolar 1 disorder is a complex disorder for children and teens because “it’s sometimes tough to know just normal moody adolescent behavior versus is this really bipolar 1, a mood disorder?”
Dr. Adelaide Robb was kind enough to join me this morning for an interview to discuss bipolar 1 disorder, common symptoms parents of children and teenagers need to look out for, a revolutionary new treatment option and where parents can go for more information.
Candace Rose: Why is bipolar 1 disorder such a complex disorder for children and teens?
Dr. Adelaide Robb: “I think what makes it complex is it’s sometimes tough to know just normal moody adolescent behavior versus is this really bipolar 1, a mood disorder? It takes asking the right questions, so looking for a kid going from a low sad depressed mood up into that manic behavior where they’re silly goofy, they’re not sleeping, they’re spending lots of money that they don’t have – like many they got a paycheck from their summer job and spent all of it on video games and candy or they’re taking the car without a driver’s license.”
Candace Rose: Are there any treatment options available for children and teens?
Dr. Adelaide Robb: “There are some treatment options and what’s really exciting is we just had the first new one out in five years and that’s called Saphris. It’s approved to treat that manic, silly, goofy behavior in kids 10 and up.
There are a couple things that are special that make Saphris even more helpful for our kids and teenagers – number one, the starting dose is the dose that works so you don’t have to spend several weeks increasing the dose for the right dose for your child and number two: a lot of times kids will pretend to take the medicine, hide it in their mouth and spit it out later. Saphris is actually a medicine that’s a tablet that dissolves under your tongue, that’s the way you’re supposed to take it, so when your child is hiding the medicine in his mouth, it’s actually going right into his system and doing what it needs to do.”
Candace Rose: What advice do you have for parents with children with bipolar 1 disorder?
Dr. Adelaide Robb: “My advice is to check in with your primary care doctor to make sure it’s not something else, and once you’ve finished checking in then to go to a psychiatrist and go ahead and have that diagnosis made and get started on treatment.
I think that parents are one of the most important parts of treatment. They need to support their teen, make sure they’re getting adequate sleep and nutrition because those are really important for keeping kids moods stable, and to make sure they’re taking their medicine as directed and that they’re going for their therapy appointments.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Adelaide Robb: “An additional tip would be the website where they can find out more information, and that’s Saphris.com. They can learn more about this medicine, side effects and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
If you have questions after visiting the website, I always tell people to loop back in with their treating physician.”
Dr. Adelaide Robb bio: Dr. Adelaide Robb is a psychopharmacologist with ongoing research studies in mood disorders, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and Chief of the Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at the Children’s National Medical Center, which aims to combine psychological and psychiatric services to treat medically ill children.
Dr. Robb, who trained at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been on the medical staff in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Children’s National Medical Center since 1996, rising to the rank of Professor (with tenure). She is an internationally known clinical researcher and has led or participated in multiple therapeutic trials for children with a variety of behavioral and psychiatric conditions.
****Candace Rose Anderson was not compensated in any way for this interview. She did not pay for this interview, she was not paid for this interview! ***** She was not aware at the time of posting that Dr. Robb was a spokesperson for Allergan for this particular interview or she would have included that initially.