Being the Parents of a Child with Bipolar Disorder
In everyday life everyone has ups and downs in the emotional world. Our emotions alternate between anger, joy, sadness, enthusiasm, grief, restlessness and anxiety. However, in bipolar disorder, there are long and intense mood changes that are partially or completely unrelated to vital events. In other words, bipolar disorder is a treatable mental disorder with extreme changes in emotions, thoughts, energy and behavior. Bipolar disorder is not an error of the person or weakness in the personality. It is a treatable medical disorder. Bipolar affective disorder is also known as manic depressive psychosis. It is a person having both mania and depression attacks. This disorder is an inherited disorder. One person becomes depressed for one period and another mania episode. There may be complete recovery between seizures. The person may not have a mania or depression attack for years after healed.
“Lauren’s daughter is bipolar, she has 12-year-old and 9-year-old daughters, elder one was hitting her little daughter at home when she is 4 or 5 years old, starts aggressive behavior to her friends in the nursery, biting her sister’s ear, having anger attacks, telling her mother that I would kill myself.. The psychologist said that the child had behavioral problems, and the reason for this was because of the family. However, when the little sister started school, they went to another clinic when things became inextricable, and there was also a diagnosis of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and medications. However, the drugs used in the treatment of ADHD did not help but increase the problems of the little girl and strengthen the helplessness of the parents. The mother and father have blamed themselves, these moods have gone beyond the vicious circle of increasing their daughter’s troubles.
One day Lauren took her daughter by the hand of a friend and knocked on the door of another child psychiatric unit. She told everything to psyciatric. Then they found out that her aunt also had bipolar disorder. Everything resolved and she started her medication.Lauren’s daughter is now in very good condition with both the right medicine, the right psychotherapy and supportive family studies, and Esra and her husband are happier… ”
This story is of course a story that has transferred to you by changing the names and details of the people. My colleagues working in the clinic know very well that the diagnosis should not be hasty, because the wrong diagnosis is wrong treatment, wrong treatment is desperation and hopelessness.
It’s maybe because :
- Children often don’t have the ability to express how they feel.
- Symptoms of mood disorder are different in children than in adults.
- Mood disorders are often accompanied and masked by other psychiatric disorders.
- Most physicians think that depression and bipolar disorder are adult diseases.
As we have seen, it is often difficult to formulate a definitive diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children and young adolescents. Knowing the family history can be very useful for a correct diagnosis. Bipolar disorder may affect the children of sick parents more. If one of the parents has bipolar disorder, the risk for each child is 15-30%. In children and young adolescents, the symptoms of bipolar disorder may be mistaken for normal emotion or behavior. However, unlike normal mood changes, bipolar disorder significantly hinders school life, relationships with peers and family. Many children with bipolar disorder have common learning difficulties and lack of self-confidence.
Bipolar disorder in childhood is often confused with other childhood psychiatric disorders. These disorders include:
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Behavioral Disorder
Treatment of Bipolar Disorder in Childhood and Adolescence:
The first step in treatment is drug therapy. Inpatient or outpatient treatment. In order to prevent relapse after treatment, it is necessary to continue drug therapy for a long time. . Psychoeducation of the family aims to inform the family about the care and support and attitudes of the child, to increase the communication within the family, to improve the functionality of the family by providing problem solving and coping skills.
The general aim of treatment is to treat seizures, prevent recurrences, improve quality of life between recurrences, and support the patient and family. The structure of the disease, the possible symptoms and effects, compliance with treatment, to ensure the patient’s participation in the treatment, to understand the psychosocial effects of the disease, to regulate daily activities.
What should parents with bipolar children pay attention to?
- It may take time for the parents of the child with bipolar disorder to understand right information about the disease. Get to know your child’s disease first.
- Supporting and helping your child can be exhausting both physically and mentallyin this process, take time for yourself, and if you need help, remember that your child needs you in a healthy way.
- Stop blaming yourself, bipolar disorder is a disease with a biological basis. Although environmental factors are effective in the emergence of the disease, childhood or poor marriage does not occur alone. Focus on that.
- Be supportive, stand by, but avoid being overly protective and taking responsibility for the child. Do not do what your child can do on his own. This may reduce the child’s self-confidence.
- The most important issue in the depression period is suicide risk. During depression, it is necessary to act vigilant of your child’s suicidal thoughts, to always take it seriously and promptly contact your doctor. A depressed child / teen needs the social support and encouragement of his relatives.
- Since drug use is an indispensable part of treatment, it is very important to supervise our child’s medication.
- Sometimes parents may complain that their children with bipolar disorder are labeled in the community. Don’t feel compelled to tell everyone about your child’s illness to cope with being tagged, but share it with people you trust and are close to.
- Remember, the right treatment is a team work involving your child, your doctor and you. Bipolar disorder is a treatable disease.