Newswise — HOUSTON – (Feb. 11, 2013) – Filling a gap in health care in Houston, the Bipolar Program for Adolescents and Children has opened at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

“The clinic will provide children with this disorder the ability to benefit from evidence-based clinical practice,” said Oscar Bukstein, M.D., director of the program and professor and director of Child and Adolescent Service at the UTHealth Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Kirti Saxena, M.D., who specializes in bipolar disorder, will co-direct the clinic, which will include medication and therapeutic interventions. Counselors are Janki Amin, LPC, and Jillian Mitki, LCSW. The clinic manager/research assistant is Krisaun Jones, MSEd.

“We want this to develop into a community asset,” said Saxena, UTHealth associate professor of psychiatry. “Our team approach focuses on helping the child and providing support for the family. “There are a lot of misdiagnosed cases of bipolar disorder because it can manifest differently in children.”

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which people swing back and forth between periods of depression and mania (extreme excitement). Symptoms include feeling overly happy, extreme irritability, speaking very fast, being easily distracted, decreased need for sleep and restlessness. An earlier onset of the disorder is associated with higher rates of hospitalization and behavioral and academic problems, so early diagnosis and treatment are important.

The clinic, which treats children ages 6 to 17, is supported with a grant from the John S. Dunn Foundation, and is located on the second floor of the UTHealth Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Building, 1941 East Road (77054). For more information, call 713-486-2567 or visit