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.