Category Archives: Facts About Bipolar Kids

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.

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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Discipline 101: Children With Bipolar Disorder

Disciplining per se is difficult. Finding the right strategy in combination with the appropriate level of strictness but still show love and affection is a hard formula to master. Imagine how hard it can be to discipline a child with a mental disorder which has the classical symptom of the shifting moods. This is where the challenge and the test of patience come in for families with children diagnosed with bipolar disorder. According to experts, the basic and the general blueprint for disciplining is still applicable to a child with bipolar disorder since mostly, they are children. There are just some modifications when it comes to specific methods since there should be accommodation and understanding of the condition.

According to John Preston, PsyD, “Bipolar disorder is probably the main psychiatric disorder where medication is absolutely essential.”

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Psychiatrists Emphasize The Importance Of Sharing A Meal (Parenting A Bipolar Teenager)

Family status is complicated when you are raising a teenager diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  It has been complicated even before the diagnosis of all the irritations, separation anxiety, and tantrums.   But often when I would raise this concern to her pediatrician, he would tell me to let her be, she’s just a kid. And so that is what I did.   

 

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“Family members need to verbally compliment one another,” said Brent Blaisdell, PsyD.

 

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How To Handle Grief And Loss

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Grief and losses are normal occurrences in human experience, and no man is excluded from the emotions that go with it. Grief and losses are challenging, but certain situations that further intensify the response to these events such as mental health disorders, poor coping mechanism, etc. People with mental health issues might aggravate their symptoms or even worse, a relapse of episodes. This is also applicable for children with mental health disorder. For many of these age groups, it is challenging to handle loss because their facilities to process these experiences are still immature, and on top of that, they still must handle the symptoms of the mental disorder.

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How To Detect If Your Child Is Being Bullied

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“One of the hardest parts is when David started to go to school. Other children in school picked on him and he would tell us that they are calling him weird names.” Dana shared her challenges on having a bipolar child.

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Do Bipolar Kids Have Antisocial Personality Disorder?

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Similarly different. Some say there is a thin line separating bipolar disorder from an antisocial personality disorder. From the behaviors being presented, one can objectively see that there are similarities in aggressiveness and hyperactivity of the child. Nonetheless, these mental health conditions should be thoroughly assessed and diagnosed by a mental health professional to formally say that the child has an either bipolar or antisocial personality disorder. Understanding these conditions requires thorough observation and knowledge on how the symptoms are presented especially in children and young adolescents.

According to Jessica Katzman, PsyD, “In the biological paradigm, the focus is the biochemical effect. The patient shows up for treatment, receives the medicine, and the medicine does its work.”

Children and adolescents experience mood shifts as part of their growing up. If these emotions continue to be extreme and hamper the normal function and activities, it could mean a mental health state that needs evaluation.

“Medication is crucial for managing bipolar disorder,” says John Preston, PsyD.

Bipolar and Antisocial Personality Disorder: Similarities and Differences

Bipolar disorder in children alone is somehow difficult to recognize as the symptoms are quite similar to ADHD, conduct disorder, or even the typical childhood behavior of being rowdy, energetic, or shy and moody. It is called bipolar because it presents two major emotional disturbances – mania and depression – all occurring in irregular cycles within a day. These two emotions can rapidly alternate with each other resulting in irritability with a moment of wellness between occurrences, or feeling of both manic and depressed at the same time. Thus, children with BD are described as impulsive, shifting between aggressive and withdrawn.  Parents would not consider these symptoms significant until diagnosed. As early as six years old, children can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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An antisocial personality disorder is characterized by impulsive manners, high risk for imprisonment secondary to criminal acts, addictive disorders and desperate behaviors. A person with ASPD has the likelihood of becoming a sociopath if not controlled or managed. Most cases of ASPD is detected during the adolescent period as the teenager is more inclined to perform prohibited acts or violating orders.

Two Conditions In One

A person with ASPD having manic episodes may manifest unrealistic expectations, high self-esteem, and grandiosity. The person can mask his insecurities as someone, who is dominant and is ahead of everyone. And when the circumstances are not in his favor and against his unrealistic expectations, making his high regard towards himself threatened, thus depression takes place the manic behaviors, but unlikely to remain for an extended period. Because a person with ASPD will not let himself feel down for so long, instead to regain his self, a further affirmation of his power and control will be more evident, and this is often through the commission of crimes. A person who has ASPD has no feeling of guilt after all and will not recognize the presence of the condition.

Opinion corner: Patrick Corrigan, PsyD, “As US mass shootings have increased, political leaders and others have framed the problem as one of mental illness, suggesting that better access to mental healthcare might have prevented some of the shootings.”

Final Evaluation Still Needed

So, the question of whether children with bipolar disorders have an antisocial personality disorder, the answer can only be provided after going a thorough psychiatric evaluation. Not all bipolar disorders have antisocial personality disorders. However, many cases show the interlinking of these disorders in one condition alone. One general rule is that a person cannot be diagnosed with ASPD until he or she reaches 18 years old. Until then, the teenager is provided with the diagnosis of conduct disorder wherein clinical manifestations of bipolar disorders also prevalent.

 

Sleep Disturbance In A Teenager With Bipolar Illness

Everyone needs a good quality of night sleep to function well and avoid irritability the next day. A good sleep is even more essential in sustaining a teenager diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  It will help alleviate the symptoms and lessen the risk of having a manic episode.

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How Bipolar Disorder Takes A Grip On Family Relationships

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A person with bipolar disorder has mood swings from being depressed to becoming hyperanimated.  Some persons with bipolar disorder may have mood swings that could range from mild to moderate while others instead have severe symptoms.  But whether mild or severe, a sudden change in their mood and attitude can affect the atmosphere around them, causing the people who are with them to feel a bit down, too, especially if they don’t understand what the disease is about and why the person acts the way she does.

 

Emotional and Social Effects

Having a younger sister with a bipolar disorder is hard.  It’s like facing an emotional challenge every day.   And because we are going to the same school, it’s hard to avoid the stare of our schoolmates.  There are those who would whisper at our backs, and there are those who would vulgarly talk about us as we passed through the hallways.  Making friends is never easy because they know her mood swings.  They don’t know anything about her situation, and they are afraid that she will just be violent anytime.  Yes, because she did it this one time when someone tried to bully her.  There are times when she will just sit alone in one corner and will not talk to anyone and then will suddenly burst into tears.  They taught she’s crazy or something, and the worst part is they thought we are the same, that anytime, I will turn into something like her.

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Our circle of friends and social activities were limited because of her condition.   Can I blame her or should we blame my father’s genes for passing on this illness to her?

Family Systems Effects

When you have a sibling with bipolar disorder, not only are your parents’ time for you compromised but even money and energy.   And I keep on hearing from my mom and dad, “We’ll cut the budget because your sister still needs to attend her therapy session and have to allocate some money for additional medicines.”

Sometimes I hate it when we had planned on going on a vacation and then suddenly everything will be canceled just because she doesn’t want to go or she doesn’t feel like it.  Even going out with my friends is sometimes not allowed, and if ever I go out, it’s just limited time, especially on days when I have to watch over my sister because my parents can’t come home because of work.

Sometimes, I will ask my mom if we can bond together like go out shopping or just eat out. She’ll answer yes and then suddenly she would call up her sister to come with me.  I can’t even talk to my parents about my problems because I know that their minds are full of my sister’s condition.  But what about me? I also need them.

Why do I have to sacrifice so much just for my sister?  Is she the only daughter?  I also need my parents as much as she does.

Simon A. Rego, PsyD said “When what-if thoughts are swirling in your head, you can feel powerless and helpless. Taking productive action helps.”

Sometimes, I can’t help thinking about why life is so unfair.  Bipolar illness is so cruel to do this to our family.  Bipolar disorder takes a grip not only on my sister’s life but the wellbeing of our whole family.

There are nights when I would hear my parents arguing about her.  Sometimes, I would listen to them worrying about my sister’s future. How will her situation be when they’re no longer around to guide and assist her? I understand the stress and anxiety they are experiencing, and I am trying my best not to be an additional burden to them, and I am also planning my future because I know she will be under my care when we get older.

Every family experiences a lot of trials and problems, and there will always be conflict whether a bipolar illness is present or not.  Understanding and communication will always play a vital role in any relationship.

“Family members need to verbally compliment one another,” said Brent Blaisdell, PsyD.

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Being the eldest, I feel burdened by this responsibility of becoming that glue that keeps on holding our family together.  No matter how lonely I feel inside, how hurt I am every time I feel the pain my parents are going through, I have to understand them. It is never easy to accept the fact that your daughter will need intervention throughout her lifetime to survive.   I may sometimes feel jealous of my sister who has all my parents’ attention, but I also pity her for her situation.   It may sound selfish, but sometimes I also feel thankful that I was not the one who has bipolar illness.  I may sometime hate her situation and I hate her illness, but I love my sister. Communication between us will always be open and honest because she’s the only sister I have and I am hers.  And we had a pact that we will not let her bipolar illness get in our way as sisters.

Tip from Deborah Serani, PsyD: “Buy a notebook, start a blog or email yourself “to begin documenting the textures of your thoughts and feelings.”