Understanding Bipolar Disorder in Children

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Understanding
Bipolar Disorder in Children

by
Patricia Oakes

November 6, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………..i
INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………1
FINDING AND CONCLUSIONS……………………………………………………..2 LIVING DAILY LIFE: HELPING YOUR TEEN AT HOME AND SCHOOL……2 HOW CAN YOU WORK TOGETHER WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHERS?....3 SCHOOL & THE CHILD WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER………………………….4 DISORDERS THAT CAN ACCOMPANY BIPOLAR DISORDER……………….5 WORKING WITH THE SCHOOLS…………………………………………………..6 MEDICATIONS USED TO TREAT CHILD AND ADOLESCENT METAL

DISORDERS…………………………………………………………………………….7 PSYCHOTHERAPY……………………………………………………………………8 CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………….9 WORK CITED………………………………………………………………………….10

ABSTRACT
This article examines the individual components of bipolar disorder in children and the behaviors that can escalate as a result of misdiagnosis and treatment. The brain/behavior relationship in bipolar disorders can be affected by genetics, developmental failure, or environmental influences, which can cause an onset of dramatic mood swings and dysfunctional behavior. School is often the site where mental health disorders are observed when comparing behaviors with other children. Assessing the emotional, academic, and health needs of a student with a bipolar disorder is a critical step in designing effective interventions and school accommodations. Without appropriate medical, psychological, pharmaceutical, and academic interventions, a child is at risk for uncontrolled mania, depression, substance abuse, or suicide. The school nurse is part of the multidisciplinary team and plays a key role in facilitating case management to potentially reverse this possible negative trajectory. Successful case management provides children with bipolar disorder the opportunity to reach their academic potential.

i
INTRODUCTION
Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) is an illness of the brain that causes extreme cycles in a person’s mood, energy level, thinking, and behavior. The disorder was first described by French scientist Jules Baillarger in 1854 as “dual-form mental illness.” Later in the 19th century, German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin coined the term “manic-depressive psychosis.” By the 1980s, the term bipolar disorder replaced manic-depressive illness as the name psychiatrists use to describe this condition.

Bipolar disorder is usually characterized by episodes of mania and depression, as well as a combination of the two at the same time called a mixed state. It is often first diagnosed during adolescence or in young adulthood; however, some people show symptoms of the illness in early childhood.

Bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is not an easy or certain diagnosis. This diagnosis is usually made by a mental health clinician who has evaluated and treated many, many children. It requires that the clinician take a detailed medical and psychiatric history and perform a thorough evaluation.

Many parents are challenged by a child who has extreme changes in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior. Careful evaluation will find that some of these children are suffering from a mental disorder. Yet, only a very few of those will have bipolar disorder.

While systematic data on the frequency of bipolar disorder among children are only now being collected, recent studies by the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that, overall, children have a lower rate of bipolar disorder than adults. However, the rate increases with age, reaching approximately 1 percent (1 in 100) by adolescence. In adults, the rate of people who have some form of the disorder during their lifetime is approximately 4.4 percent (1 in 20).

Even though this illness affects a significant number of children and adolescents, most of the research into the disorder has been conducted in adults. While the number of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder is...
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