Assessing bipolar disorder in children is vital to understand in detail to effectively manage and treat bipolar disorder symptoms if you want to know whether your child has bipolar disorder or not.
Why do we need to understand it?
We all know about how bipolar disorder can manifest in adults, but sometimes children might not be able to convey accurately as to how they are feeling. Therefore, it becomes essential for you as their caretakers or parents to be aware of any changes. If it is diagnosed as soon as they start experiencing it, it will increase the chances of their recovery and hence their successful life.
Causes of bipolar disorder
The exact cause of it is yet not found by the researchers, but some of them can be genetics, stressful events, and the structure in the brain. An adverse home environment can also lead to bipolar disorder.
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Symptoms of bipolar disorder
As we are aware of bipolar disorder, they experience episodes of mania and depression.
1. The symptoms of mania
Have you seen your children act very silly or happy for no reason? Well, that can be a symptom of mania. Moreover, they also have a hard time concentrating on their daily chores, duties, and academics. They start to talk at a quicker pace and begin to engage in risky behaviors without caring for their safety. They also become angry quickly and keep talking about sex a lot. You can notice that they are engaging in a lot of activity than usual and get irritated quite soon.
2. The symptoms of depression
You can see that there are changes in the way they eat and sleep. They either eat and sleep a lot, or, they begin sleeping and eating very less. They are not as happy to play and don't feel like doing so as they have felt to do so in the past. You can see that the children begin to feel guilt and worthlessness.
You can see that they express these feelings to their friends or you. You need to pay attention to it and learn to see changes in their topics and ways of talking. They also start thinking about topics such as death or suicide. They have also started to complain about headaches and stomachaches further feel very tired. They also have a hard time interacting with others and are unable to maintain relations.
3. Bipolar Disorder and ADHD
These two disorders may happen together in the case of children and hence the symptoms can be a bit difficult to recognize. They exhibit symptoms such as talking a lot, being distracted, difficulty to function socially and having a hard time to concentrate. If your child has been already diagnosed with ADHD and has very severe mood swings, starts to express emotions suddenly at unexpected moments and his/her behavior is being impulsive then it is time to take them to the doctor to take them for the testing of bipolar disorder. It is also probable that they don't feel like sleeping, and they have started boasting a lot about themselves. They also can engage in risky sexual behavior and try to harm themselves in many ways.
Treatment of bipolar disorder
Treatment options for bipolar disorder in children include:
As they are experiencing mood swings and depression, they are administered with mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. They might also be given anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications. It will require your patience to find the most appropriate medications for them. It is possible that they don't respond to some medications or experience several side effects.
Not to scare you but to alert you about the fact that there are high chances that they might have suicidal thoughts as they are taking anti-depressants. You need to look for the signs of their inclination towards it and take professional help before things go out of control. This is where the therapy comes in the picture. As a parent, you need to ensure that the medications have been approved by the FDA and there have been investigational medications in California Medical Behavioral Clinical Trials.
The therapies for them can be included Cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy such as social rhythm therapy, interpersonal therapy and cognitive therapy, family therapy, and support groups.
3. Education about the disorder
It includes how to manage the disorder for children with bipolar disorder as well as their families and teachers. They are told about how to make things easier for them and what to do when they are having a depressive or a manic episode. It is also important for you to learn how to communicate with them.
4. Educational support
Due to their symptoms, they are distracted and are unable to focus which makes it important for them to teachers, parents, and counselors to come together and frame an educational system that takes into consideration their needs.
5. Alternative treatment
There have been researchers constantly concerning various other ways of treating bipolar disorder rather than traditional treatments. The alternative treatments are fish oil, Rhodiola Rosea, calming techniques such as meditation, yoga, massage, and acupuncture. The use of cannabidiol oil has also been found helpful to them.
But it is very important to consult your doctor before making any changes in their intake of medications. You need to take the recommendations to your doctor before giving these alternative treatments to them. You also need to research well about the advantages and side effects of these treatments.
Hence, this is why assessing bipolar disorder in children becomes vital. It will be beneficial for them if they maintain sleep schedules, don't use drugs and make a routine for the day. In addition to it, you need to help them in adapting to the various types of stressors by knowing their symptoms. Exercising can also help in the assessment of bipolar disorder patients.
Now that you are aware of these pediatric bipolar disorder symptoms, causes, therapy, and treatment, all that is required is awareness on your part to understand the alterations in the behavior of your children. Support them and see them flourish no matter what!