Bipolar Disorders in Children

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Bipolar Disorders in Children|
Instructor: Lorraine LaCroix - Com 150|
Rabecca Christensen |
November 13, 2009|


At the age of three, my son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and two other mental disorders. His bipolar disorder has recently given me a whole new experience and curiosity in this disorder. This summer, my son became so out of control that I had no choice left but to admit him into a psychiatric hospital for a six day intake evaluation. Even though the decision I made was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, I gained more insight into bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a serious mood disorder in children today. These children are often misunderstood as misbehaved or out of control and become outcasts in school settings and society settings. Children diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder demonstrate behaviors that they cannot control. Some children may go into violent tantrums that they cannot remember or control. With proper education, treatment, and support, bipolar children can successfully function in school and social settings. Bipolar Disorder, or manic depression, is a disorder in which the patient experiences extreme high moments and extreme low moments. The extreme changes in these moods become too much for the patient to cope with and the disorder interferes with their daily lives. In extreme cases, the patient can become a danger to themselves and or others. There are four types of Bipolar Disorder. “Bipolar I Disorder — In this type, you have had at least one episode of mania or mixed mood and often experience depression too”(GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “In between, your mood may be normal” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Sometimes your mood swings happen when the seasons change” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Bipolar II Disorder — In this type, you have had at least one episode of depression and at least one period of hypomania” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Hypomania is a milder form of mania. In between, your mood may be normal” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Sometimes your mood swings happen when the seasons change” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Cyclothymic Disorder — This is a milder form of bipolar disorder” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “You may go back and forth between mild depression and a slightly elevated mood” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “But your mood swings are shorter and less severe” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Many people with cyclothymic disorder go on to have a stronger type of bipolar disorder” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “This doesn’t happen to everyone, though” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified — This type of bipolar disorder is when you do not fit into the types mentioned above” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). The feelings of bipolar disorder vary from person to person” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Symptoms of bipolar disorder are very hard to diagnose because the symptoms can mask so many other disorders” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “It is even harder to diagnose this disorder in children since ADHD and hyperactivity often overlap symptoms with bipolar disorder” (GlaxoSmithKline, 1997-2009). “Some of the symptoms for childhood bipolar disorder include, but are not limited to, a waxing and waning course, worsening disruptive behavior, moodiness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, impulsivity, hyperactivity and decreased concentration” (Cogan, 1996). “Episodically they experience short attention span, low frustration tolerance, explosive anger followed by periods of guilt, depression and declining academic performance” (Cogan, 1996). Since these symptoms are common for other disorders, it is important to know the difference. For example, even though ADHD and bipolar have relatively the same symptoms, bipolar disorder has mania or manic episodes that come and go and are very unpredictable. Since bipolar disorder is rare in children under 12, thorough, and...
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