Tantrums or Toddler Bi-Polar?

by Jacqui Chavez
(Prescott, AZ, USA)

My grandson is 20 months old, red hair and delightful most of the time. Recently however, he has taken to rages where he will bang his head on the tile floor...seek out tile over carpet to inflect self harm. There is a history of mood disorder on both sides of the family. If there weren't enough, he has spent the last year with me while his parents drive a tractor trailer rig coast to coast; coming in intermittently for brief visits. Mom is home now and they are both with me for the time being. He has had a stable and wonderful babysitter for the past year and overall his life is stable. I don't want to jump the gun with a psychiatric diagnosis, but I worry we may not be addressing his tantrums appropriately. So far, we mom, grandma, babysitter are simply redirecting him and trying to keep him safe. He quickly responds and the storm is over as soon as it began. Could this just be a transitional behavior in response to mom being at home all the time?


Hi Jacqui

This is a great question!

Tantrums in and of themselves, even with a history of Bipolar disorder do not mean that a child has bipolar disorder. Parents will often bring children to me just on the basis of tantrums alone. Tantrums in children happen for many reasons, they can be one of the many symptoms of bipolar disorder, but also of many other things. It could absolutely be that his tantrums are a response to the other situations in his life. The fact that you are addressing his tantrums in a way that is keeping him safe and controlling them is good. Often tantrums in children that are bipolar are protracted and cannot be redirected. In any child, it can be merely a demonstration of unhappiness and frustration and not necessarily a sign of bipolar disorder. Obviously I cannot make a diagnosis of your child over the internet. That takes a professional in your state that is trained to diagnosis early onset bipolar disorder in young children. If you feel strongly that your grandson may be bipolar, please take him to a professional in your area.

Click here to read or post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Bipolar Toddler Symptoms? Ask the Expert.

Check out our online facebook support community for parents of kids with mood disorder. 

Search my site with google custom search!

Schedule and appointment below. 

Medical information obtained from our website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.

Schedule online now

Please subscribe to my newsletter for interesting information in your inbox related to mental health issues.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Kristen Mcclure Newsletter .

Search this site for whatever you are looking for!