Children With Bipolar Disorder – A Family Concern

 

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Despite the fact that bipolar disorder is more common in older teens and young adults, it may present in children younger than seven years old. In the past years, it has become a provocative diagnosis. Some scientists believe that it is very uncommon and just over-diagnosed, while others would suggest the opposite. Currently, it isn’t easy to know for sure how rare or common it really is.

Another illness referred to as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, or DMDD, has also been considered to describe kids from 6 to 18 who manifest with extreme and insistent irritability and temper flare-ups that do not have concrete definitions for it to be considered bipolar. Hence, it is vital not to jump into conclusions. If a child in your family has bipolar disorder, it is wise to get another opinion prior to deciding on what treatment plan to utilize. Be sure that you are confident of the healthcare professional that your child will be dealing with.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

Making a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children is not easy at all, as several of the symptoms are comparable to that of ADHD and other behavioral conditions. One concern is that prescription medications that are indicated for ADHD are usually stimulants that could possibly induce mania in kids with bipolar disorder. Young children that present with mania may be more aggressive and short-tempered compared to adults, and they have a higher likelihood of having psychotic symptoms as well. When they are experiencing a depressive episode, on the other hand, they are most likely to complain of body aches and pains.

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A remarkable difference is that bipolar disorder in the young has more quick cycles compared to that of the adults. While depressive and manic episodes might present separately by months or years in young adults, they can also occur within one day in children.

Helping Your Child With Bipolar Disorder

As parents of a bipolar child, there are things you can do to help your child maintain his mental and emotional well-being.

  • Monitor strict medication instructions. You definitely must be sure that your bipolar child takes the medication that she needs. Utilize pillboxes, timers, or notes to help you remember the schedule. If she must take a pill at school, communicate with her teacher or the school nurse to assist your child in taking the medication – that is their responsibility.

 

  • Keep track of the side effects. Most prescription medications for bipolar disorder – which include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants – were previously experimented on adults, and only very few were studied on young kids and adolescents. Some children are more susceptible to getting side effects from these drugs, like weight gain and alterations in cholesterol and blood sugar due to some antipsychotics. Talk to your child’s doctor and discuss what symptoms you should be watchful for.

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  • Communicate with your child’s teachers. There are bipolar cases where your child might require special support and allowances at school. They may require more breaks or fewer assignments during their manic or depressive episodes. Discuss and develop a plan with the teachers of your child. There will be times when your child may need to be taken out of the school premises for a while, just for the bipolar symptoms to be pacified and controlled.

 

  • Maintain a routine. Bipolar children do benefit from keeping a routine. Please help your child get up from bed, eat her meals, do some physical activity, and go to sleep at similar times every day as possible. Try your best to lessen the stress in the family.

 

  • Talk about family therapy. Having a bipolar child can be problematic and disrupting the entire family. It places extra stress on a couple’s marriage, and your other kids might not be able to understand the condition of their sibling. They may even feel annoyed because of the attention that their sibling is getting. Consulting a family therapist can certainly help everyone acknowledge and manage the effects of bipolar disorder on the family.

 

  • Do not ignore suicidal threats. Parents do not want to think that their children can hurt themselves. Sadly, things like this could happen even with your young child. So if your beloved child starts expressing the desire to hurt herself or presents with deadly behaviors, do not in any way neglect it. Get rid of all dangerous pills or weapons inside your house. And don’t forget to seek help immediately.

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Bipolar Teens

The symptoms and management for older teens with the disorder are more or less the same as with the adults, although a bipolar teen manifests with more definite problems. As they grow older, teens may feel resentful if they notice that you are trying to impose treatments on them. You can try to prevent this by allowing them to join your conversations regarding their management. Talk freely – together with your child’s healthcare provider – about their treatment preferences. Avoid creating a confrontational relationship with your teen because of their treatments or medications.

As for the adults, it is vital to let your bipolar teen avoid drugs and alcohol, as these will adversely react with the medications that he is taking. They have a higher likelihood of developing problems such as substance abuse. It is also crucial to keep the usual routines associated with sleeping and waking and to be able to learn efficient coping skills for dealing with stress, anxiety, and other problems arising from bipolar disorder.

 

 

Helping Your Teenage Kid Overcome The Stress Of Potentially Having Bipolar Disorder

For a teenager to learn that he or she has a psychological illness – a bipolar disorder, no less – it can only be devastating. The initial set of words that you might get out of them is, “How can my schoolmates look up to me if they find out I’m unstable mentally?” or “My crush will never want me now!” Most adolescents tend to worry about mundane issues like that with or without an incurable disease, however, so that’s not super shocking.

“Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of medications (including mood stabilizers and antidepressants) and talk therapy.” – Kathleen Cairns, PsyD

What they don’t comprehend is how lucky they are for getting a diagnosis at an early age. Many individuals are not that fortunate as their doctors can’t or won’t even give a name to their real problem until adulthood. Thus, folks who assume they have bipolar disorder but still haven’t received confirmation may become confused and stressed out because of it.

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According to Robin Mohilner, LMFT, “Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by mood instability that includes both depressed mood and manic or hypomanic mood.”

Considering your teenage kid is in a relatable situation, and you don’t know how to make things better for him or her, you should check out these tips.

  1. Distinguish Your Strengths

The first thing you have to reflect on is yourself. Notably, your strong points as a parent. Say, are you good at consoling your children with words alone? Do they perceive you as the cool mom or dad who can take them to any place they want to visit?

If the response is yes in any of the two queries above – or you can think of other parenting stuff you are excellent at – then you need to stick with that. It is more favorable than pulling a new stunt; if the latter fails massively, it might trigger your child’s depression. So, it is vital for you to recognize your strengths immediately to help your kid who potentially has a bipolar disorder forget about it once in a while.

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“When it comes to successfully treating a mental health disorder, it’s important that you have the correct diagnosis—which is easier said than done.” – Kathleen Cairns, PsyD

  1. Accept Their Weaknesses

At the same time, you cannot overlook to figure out what their weaknesses may be. You have to do that not because it will keep them on their toes but because it will stop you from pushing your child to work on something he or she thinks is impossible. You want him or her to overcome such fears – that’s understandable. However, it’s plain wrong to stress the kid out and not let him or her conquer those weak spots in their own time.

  1. Open Every Communication Line Possible

Many teenagers are the same in the sense that they don’t feel like burdening their elders with their worries. As a result, they end up bottling up all the negative feelings, or worse, self-harming or attempting suicide to ease their pain.

Before that happens in your household, you should reassure your kid daily that he or she can talk to you about anything. Perhaps you can start by telling him or her about your day too until he or she warms up and converses with you. This way, you’ll be able to relieve some of their stress and connect with your beloved son or daughter.

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Don’t ever assume that paying for your teenage child’s medical bills is enough to help him or her get through their ordeals. Showing your love and giving your 100% attention to them is only a couple of things you should do to help them get rid of stressful thoughts brought by potentially having bipolar disorder. In truth, you can even pay for their online counseling (via BetterHelp perhaps) so that mental health professionals can reassure them and keep them from going down the depression lane.

Good luck!

“Sometimes referred to as manic depression, bipolar depression ranges from “depression so low you can’t get out of bed” to manic highs of euphoria and “talking so fast and furiously, you can’t follow the train of thought.” – Beth Esposito, MS, LPCC-S, LSW

COVID-19: Protect Kids From The Virus

Everything about COVID-19 is creating unprecedented challenges for most people. Understandably, it is reasonable to feel anxious and stressed because no one is in control right now. But the emotional and mental problems caused by the virus are not limited to adults only. Yes, children, at any particular age, can also experience behavioral and psychological issues. But there is nothing too much to worry about that because there are actions we can take to protect our children. We can help them understand their emotional and mental issues better, adapt to the situation, and recover from the traumatic experience.

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Stay Calm And Positive

It is entirely essential to remember that in terms of protecting our kids, we must stay positive and calm. That way, we can avoid associating our adverse reaction to our fear and anxiety. We have to be truthful and honest with the kids about everything that has been going around, no matter what the situation is. We have to admit to the children that we are uncertain about what the pandemic can do in the future. Thus, it is okay to tell them we are also frightened; however, not in a way that our emotions will negatively influence them.

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Keep An Active Routine

With all the drastic changes that our children need to deal with during this pandemic, we must help them establish better routines. We have to make sure that our kids go to sleep on time so that they get the necessary hours of sleep for the rejuvenation of mind and body. We have to set a schedule where there is a time for self-care, leisure, and family time. We need to come up with better things to do at home to secure our children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.

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Focus On Healthy Activities

One of the best ways we can protect our kids from getting infected is by helping them manage a better lifestyle. Kids nowadays are stagnant at home. Most are often binge-watching and spending too much time on their computers and smartphones. Therefore, we need to ensure they still get the right amount of physical health they need. We have to give our children enough time to run and play inside the house or on our lawn if that is available. Or we can ask them to do simple chores so they can still move their bodies from time to time.

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Give Them Proper Nourishment

The virus affects our immune system. With that, we need to make sure that our kids’ bodies can handle the infection. To do that, we need to give our kids proper nourishment. They must eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, there will be a time that organic products are not available. So we need to supply our children with multivitamins to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients they need for immune system enhancement. In addition, we must encourage the children to keep themselves hydrated all the time. Thus, we need to constantly remind them to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day.

Be An Example

All of us want our kids to listen and obey us. So as much as possible, we want them to wash their hands frequently and practice social distancing. However, there are times that kids’ curiosity is unpredictable. As a result, some of them won’t listen to what we tell them. With that, we need to be mindful of handling this stressful situation smoothly. So, if we want our kids to follow instructions, we should set as an example. We need to show the children the proper way of taking safety precautions.

My Son Died Of COVID-19

As a mom, all I can care about is my child’s safety. That is why, after the outbreak, I did my best to keep my son away from the virus. I often watched the news to get the latest updates on how the virus is progressing. I thought to myself that if I have all the information I need, I will be able to protect my child from the disease.

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The Safety Measures

Since I thought I am well-aware of what is going on concerning the Coronavirus, I made it clear not to allow my child to all sorts of exposure. It is already hard for him to maintain better health due to his bipolar condition, and this pandemic made it worse. With that, I managed to teach him the essence of social distancing, and he obeyed every single reminder diligently. I made sure that my son always washes his hands every time he touched something. That is regardless if I already disinfected the item or not. I often told my son that prevention is better than cure. And since there is no cure yet to the disease, preventing the spread is our best option.

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The eagerness to protect my child didn’t stop there. I made sure that he eats healthy and nutritious food since I heard that the disease targets the immune system. I also encouraged him to exercise and work on some little physical activities from time to time. I let him play in the house, and sometimes do chores together with him. I also managed to motivate to sleep 8 to 10 hours a day. I was confident that with everything I know about the virus, I could protect my son at all costs. But I was wrong.

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The Painful Agony

It was on March 23rd when my son got a fever. Honestly, I was having thoughts about him getting infected, but I shrug it off. I was confident that I am following every single safety measure out there that can protect him from the virus. So I thought there’s no way it could happen. However, after a few more days, he asked me to get him tested. My son was certain that he was infected, but I didn’t buy it. I told my son that insisting on going to the hospital will make his situation worse since there are a lot of cases of infection in that particular place. But as I maintained my stubbornness, my son’s health continued to deteriorate.

It was April 6th, almost two weeks since he suffered from a fever. I went to my son’s room to check up on him because he was lying in bed for two days already. When I got to his room, I saw him gasping for air as he was about to open his bedroom window. At that particular moment, I knew I messed up. Then I ran towards my son and called 911. I immediately asked for medical assistance. After a few minutes, the help arrived.

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The Moment Of Truth

They took my son in an ambulance. As I was about to hop in, but the medical provider told me not to come because I wasn’t allowed. I was in a rage because that is my son’s life on the line. But the woman insisted that I should follow the social distancing protocol. I realized I would not win an argument against her, so I stayed. I watch the vehicle from afar, taking away my precious son.

After 2 hours, I received a call from the hospital. The woman on the line told me that my son is positive with the virus and didn’t make it. It was so emotionally and mentally painful. But the worse part, I wasn’t there with him even on his last breath.

In case of loss, feel free to go to BetterHelp. Talking to a licensed therapist is the best way to deal with grief.

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Why Some Bipolar Adults Feel Anxiety Over Having Kids

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Being able to create a child is what most men and women consider as a blessing. It is of no relevance how the baby came to them, e.g., through adoption, natural conception, or in-vitro fertilization. Quite a few even think of surrogacy in case their bodies are incapable of carrying an infant in the womb. The procedure doesn’t come cheap, of course, but many look past that if it means that they will have an innocent angel to pour all their love to after several months.

Despite all that, there are still adults who try everything to avoid becoming a parent. Some have lame excuses, saying they are enjoying singlehood, they fear of not being a good example to the kids, et cetera. Others, however, opt for that because they feel anxiety over the thought of taking care of a fragile human being while dealing with an irreversible illness like bipolar disorder.

According to Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC , “People with anxious distress often feel tense, restless, and have trouble concentrating because they worry so much.”

Below are the possible answers to the “Why?” that you may be dying to ask.

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  1. They Worry About Passing On The Disease

This appears to be the #1 issue of folks whose ailment does not have extensive documentation in the medical field. Since the doctors cannot figure out whether a person inherited the gene that causes bipolar disorder or he or she somehow developed it over time, many are afraid of passing it on to their future child. To thwart the probability of seeing their own flesh and blood suffer like them in the future, therefore, some of them even undergo sterilization.

Aarti Gupta, PsyD said “Some stress on a person is a normal part of everyday life.”

  1. They Won’t Have Time For Self-Care

Becoming a mom or dad is a physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing job. Although you likely have the capacity to get a nanny, a growing kid still needs their parent to look after them more than anyone. This fact, however, tends to discourage ill individuals from having children as they cannot leave self-care on the back burner.

Isn’t that selfish of them? Well, not really. Stress is a huge factor that throws someone’s life out of balance. If a person has a psychological illness that turns his or her mood upside down often, he or she cannot afford to deal with it. Thus, they end up forgoing the chances of nurturing a baby.

  1. Sleep Is Important For People With Bipolar Disorder

Aside from stress, individuals who have bipolar disorder will not be able to function correctly without getting enough shut-eye. As it is possible for them to experience mania, there may be nights in which they feel so energized, and they don’t seem to need sleep at all. Despite that, when the depression strikes, things can get problematic, to the extent that they may not even want to hold their child.

Laurie Meyers, LPC said “Sleep patterns are also instructive when looking for evidence of mania or hypomania.”

Like we’ve mentioned above, there is still no cure for this mental disease. Extreme mood changes will occur, especially since parenting requires skills and endurance. For this reason, they may choose to not go through motherhood or fatherhood in general.

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Nevertheless, it should not come as a shock that some individuals with bipolar disorder have kids. It typically happens when: 1) the person is not using birth control, or 2) the diagnosis took place a few years later. The choice, to be honest, is and will always be yours.

If you still haven’t decided on whether you should have children or not, try talking to BetterHelp psychologists. They can assist you in processing your emotions. Good luck!

What Therapists Say About Boosting Your Child’s Mood

A person with bipolar disorder has neurophysiological issues and is known to have severe mood swings.  Mood swings can go from being joyful, mania, to sadness and depression.   With the abnormal changes in behaviors, he can quickly get irritated that often leads him to be violent or depressed.

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Why Did God Give My Child Bipolar Illness?

 

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That is one tough question our church pastor found hard to answer according to him.

 

I really did not want to ask him this, but I just couldn’t control myself since it had seemed to sync in with his sermon.  So I took the courage to approach him and ask it anyway.

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I Must Not Lose My Mind – I Have To Undergo Counseling 

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Raising a kid is a challenging task, but raising a kid with bipolar illness is not only hardcore difficult but also complicated, demanding, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating.  Their mood is not usual, and their needs are not simple. It’s like you’re treading on a tightrope.    

 

According to E. Michael Priddy, MA, LCPC , “Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution.”

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Art Therapy For Bipolar Kids: Expressing The Unspoken Words

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Understanding people with mental illness such as bipolar disorder is never an easy way, especially when it comes to children. It is painstaking to see that at a very young age, these children must deal with the struggle of dealing with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and living on the edge, as they are stricken with depression, stress, and anxiety going through the course of bipolar disorder.

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