Monthly Archives: June 2021

How To Help Your Bipolar Child – Counseling And Other Treatments




Bipolar disorder typically develops more in teens and young adults, but it can manifest in kids as young as six years old. Presently, it has become a contentious diagnosis. Several medical professionals agree that it is atypical and just being overly diagnosed. Others, on the other hand, have conflicting claims. So at this moment, it is difficult to confirm just how typical it is.

Another condition known as DMDD or Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder has also been recognized to affect children who are 6 to 18 years old and experiencing extreme and progressive temper outbursts and irritability that do not meet the normal classifications of bipolar disorder.

Thus, it is vital not to make hasty conclusions. If your teen or young adult is diagnosed with BP, you can always get a second opinion before finding an appropriate treatment regimen. Be sure that you feel safe and satisfied with your child’s mental healthcare professional.

BP In The Young

Establishing bipolar disorder in the young is not easy, as many of its symptoms are comparable to conditions like conduct disorders or ADHD – or even the simple presentation of a child’s behavior. A particular concern is that the medicines taken by a child with ADHD are frequently stimulants, and these can cause mania or euphoria in kids with BP.

Young children who experience a manic episode could be more aggressive compared to normal adults. They might present with more psychotic indications, seeing and hearing things that are not really there. In a depressive attack, they would mostly report physical symptoms, such as pains and aches.

Among the most prominent differences is that BP in kids cycles more rapidly. And though in adults, depressive and manic episodes may happen in intervals of weeks, months, and years, these episodes may all occur within one day in children.

Helping My BP Child


If you are a parent of a young adolescent or teen with bipolar disorder, there are many things you can do to help your child deal with BP. Here are some recommendations.

  • Follow A Routine. Kids who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder can make use of a daily routine. Assist them initially in getting up from bed, eating proper meals, doing some physical activity, and heading to bed at almost the same time nightly. In addition, do your best to decrease anxiety and stress in the home.


  • Speak With His Teachers. In some instances, a young adolescent or teen with BP may require special breaks at school. For example, they may need their assignments or projects to be lessened when they are experiencing tough times or use more short breaks while they’re in school. Speak with your kid’s teachers and the school administrator so that you can come up with an agreement that will help your child tackle school. In some scenarios, you might need your child to take a few days off from school until their episodes subside or stabilize.


  • Monitor The Schedule For Taking Medications. Your child must take his medications for BP at the recommended time. Use sticky notes, pillboxes, timers, and other things that can help you remember. If your young has to take his medicines at school, let his teacher or the school nurse know.


  • Take Note Of The Side Effects. Most medicines prescribed for bipolar disorder, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers, were previously prescribed for adults, and only very few have been studied in kids and teens. As a result, some children are most susceptible to presenting with side effects from these medicines, like changes in blood sugar levels, weight gain, and cholesterol levels due to some strong antipsychotics. Ask your child’s primary physician about the signs to watch out for.


  • Reach Out To A Family Counselor. Raising a child with BP can completely change the entire family dynamic. It can place an extra burden on you and your partner’s relationship. Your other kids do not know what’s happening to their sibling, or they could be insecure about the attention you give to your bipolar child. Seeking family counseling can help you, and the rest of the family identify and manage these kinds of matters.


  • Do Not Ignore Suicidal Threats. Parents don’t probably imagine that their child might hurt himself. But, sadly, it can be happy even with your young teen. So if he starts to tell you that he wants to disappear or literally die or tries to harm himself, please take it seriously. Keep any sharp objects, weapons, or harmful drugs from your home, and get help immediately.


Bipolar Disorder In Teens

In teenagers or young adults, the indications and management of BP are comparable to those that manifest in adults. However, raising a teen with this illness presents numerous problems. As they grow older, these teens could resent you for enforcing a treatment plan for them. So perhaps the most sensible solution would be to let them join in on the conversation. Have an honest talk regarding treatment options with your child’s physician or counselor, and bring your teen along.

Similar to adults, it is essential for teens with BP to keep away from drugs and alcohol, as these can interact with their medications or worsen their mood swings. In addition, the hazards of experiencing drug or alcohol abuse are greater in teenagers with BP than their peers. It is also crucial to keep up with the routines in terms of waking and sleeping times and to learn effective coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress that comes with bipolar disorder.



Family Counseling: Helping You Help A Loved One With BP






Bipolar disorder in kids is actually possible. It is frequently diagnosed in older kids and teens, but BP can present in children of all ages. As with adults, BP in children causes mood shift from euphoria or the stage of mania and to the lows of severe depression.

Rebellious conduct and emotional outbursts are typical of children and teens, and in most circumstances, these are not indications of a mental health illness that needs treatment. Of course, almost all children go through rough moments – it’s not uncommon to feel irritable, rebellious, sad, and angry sometimes. But if your child’s manifestations are constant, extreme, or are causing substantial problems, you should think that this is no longer a phase.

Below are some indications of bipolar disorder in kids:

  • Impulsive, hyperactive, violent, or socially improper conduct
  • Extreme mood swings that are not the same as their typical mood swings
  • The temperamental or depressive attitude most of the time or almost daily
  • Inflated or elaborate perception of their own abilities
  • Careless and precarious behavior that are usually not normal for the child, like having frequent sex with several partners, bizarre and unreasonable spending, drug or alcohol abuse
  • Suicidal ideations in older kids and teenagers
  • Insomnia or remarkably reduced need for sleep

Kids and teens with bipolar disorder have their symptoms in unique attacks. And in between these attacks, children go back to their typical mood and conduct. Remember that numerous other disorders in children may also lead to bipolar-like indications. These include oppositional defiant disorder, severe depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and anxiety disorders. Diagnosis can be perplexing, as these and the rest of the mental health disorders often happen in conjunction with BP.

Bipolar Treatment

An estimated 10 million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder, family members, and significant others are also impacted because they strive to deal with its debilitating effects on them. Numerous methods are being utilized to manage BP, including some psychotherapy and counseling forms and medication therapy. In addition, a certain bipolar treatment known as family-focused counseling or therapy has shown to be effective for many bipolar patients, assisting them in becoming better and decreasing the probability of relapses.


Initiated by two famous psychologists, this bipolar treatment, which is grounded on family dynamics principles, makes sense, taking into account that the main guardians of individuals, particularly children with BP, have a higher likelihood of developing depression than the general population. In addition, numerous studies have proven that family counseling benefits other family members in the psychotherapy treatment aside from the patient.

During the counseling sessions, the family and the patient are requested to come together and meet with a therapist or counselor experienced in managing BP with this particular form of psychotherapy. Among the objectives of FFT (family-focused therapy) is to strengthen family relationships and is often believed to encourage better outcomes.

How Family Counseling Helps

In a family counseling session, the counselor or therapist aims to educate the family members regarding bipolar disorder and associated problems, which include the fatigue that several family members and other guardians go through when supporting a loved one with BP. In addition, this psychotherapy method strives to provide families with more improved communication skills to lessen stress and work as harmoniously as possible to resolve problems, regardless of whether these problems are directly associated with bipolar disorder.

Family counseling sessions for BP should be able to educate participants on how to:

  • Utilize communication skills so that they can engage more efficiently and resolve disagreements with lesser negative emotions.
  • Recognize BP manifestations and determine indications of approaching attacks and relapses.
  • Take productive actions and steps whenever the patient seems to be experiencing substantial complications with the disorder.
  • Utilize problem-solving skills, which include management techniques particularly developed to help deal with BP.

The Efficacy Of FFT Or Family Counseling

Studies have revealed that this form of family counseling can significantly help patients avoid relapses and recuperating from bipolar attacks more rapidly than those who are not going through therapy or counseling interventions.

Family counseling has been more effective than some other types of psychotherapy, like group therapy or CBT, in preventing or reducing relapses, particularly when FFT begins following an acute bipolar attack.


Patients who present with predominant depressive BP symptoms have a higher likelihood of benefiting from FFT than individuals with mainly manic indications, who have shown to benefit more from cognitive behavioral therapy.

However, it is significant to note that whatever form of therapy is used to manage bipolar disorder can never cure the illness, as there has been no proven cure as of the present. Furthermore, even patients who have had successful treatment will continue to present with mood changes and longstanding indications of BP. Therefore, treatment and management will have to be continuous.

Family counseling, specifically family-focused therapy, could be the way to alleviate challenging family concerns and enhance the entire family’s capability to better deal with bipolar disorder.