How Do You Explain To Your Child That You Are Bipolar
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How Much Emotional Space Should I Give My Bipolar Adult Child
Ideally, youve got a supportive, friendly relationship with your grown child that promotes maximum independence, says Robert Hamilton, M.D., a psychiatrist at OSF HealthCare in Normal, IL. How involved you should be depends on how well your son or daughter can function, what their needs are, how well you get along, and what youre able to handle, Dr. Hamilton says. The familys roleparent, partner, sibling, or close friendis to be a consistent source of support and encouragement through the good and the bad, says Teri Brister, L.P.C., national director of research and quality assurance at NAMI.
Communicating Hope About Bipolar
Now, all of that is going to be overwhelming for the other person and you shouldnt feel like you have to say all of that at one time. It might take many conversations to express all that. Thats OK. Communication is about understanding and you cant necessarily rush that.
But it is important to communicate that there is hope too. After all, you just said some very scary things and its important for the other person to know that this disease isnt the end of the world. There is hope.
You might say,
But there is good news. The good news is that Im currently getting treatment for my bipolar disorder and Im taking medication and going to therapy to manage the symptoms. I also follow a strict schedule and routine to minimize my bipolar symptoms. Its not easy but I fight it every day.
Now, you might not feel the most hopeful about your bipolar, and its okay to say that, but at least also say that youre doing what you can to get better and that tomorrow is another day because it is.
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What Should I Know About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit the NIMH Clinical Trials webpage.
Explaining The Basics Of Bipolar Disorder
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Adhd And Bipolar Disorder
Sometimes the symptoms of ADHD and mania or hypomania associated with bipolar disorder can be very similar. Kids might exhibit distractibility, talkativeness, difficulty maintaining attention, and loss of social functioning. Clinicians must assess whether it is one condition or whether the disorders are co-occurring. A child may have both ADHD and bipolar disorder if they experience behavioral outbursts, severe mood swings, and impulsive behaviors. If your child has already been diagnosed with ADHD and they exhibit an inflated sense of self, risky sexual behavior, lack of need for sleep, and self-harming behaviors, then they also may be experiencing mania associated with bipolar disorder. A child psychiatrist can help rule out other diagnoses and suggest treatment options.5
Families Can Provide Vital Support For Young People With Bipolar Disorder
Watching your young person experience severe changes in mood and behaviour can be distressing and confusing, especially if their behaviour is out of character or is dangerous.
Bipolar disorder often develops at a time when young people are becoming independent from their families and taking on adult responsibilities e.g. moving out of home. When they become unwell they might have to move back home, stay at home for longer than they were planning, or need to be cared for by their family/carers. This can sometimes be humiliating, frustrating and demoralising for a young person.
Some strategies that might help you communicate with your young person without increasing everyones stress include:
Try to listen and understand their point of view
Avoid shouting, criticising or other inflammatory language
Take ‘time out’ if a situation is escalating and come back to it at a later time
Keep language specific and clear, especially if they have been having difficulties concentrating or remembering things
Try to solve problems together with your young person, rather than telling them what to do
Don’t forget to look after your own needs too and reach out for extra support if you or other family members need
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Mania And Mixed Depressive Episodes
Any antidepressant should be stopped. Haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine or risperidone can be used to treat a manic episode. If these do not work well, Lithium can be added.
Once the treatment has started, symptoms usually improve within a few days, but it may take several weeks for a full recovery. You should check with your doctor if you want to drive while taking this sort of medication.
I Know Someone Who Is In Crisis What Do I Do
If you know someone who might be thinking about hurting themselves or someone else, get help quickly.
- Do not leave the person alone.
- Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
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Rarer Types Of Bipolar Disorder
There are two other types of the disorder that are less common than bipolar I and II. Cyclothymic disorder involves changes in mood and shifts similar to bipolar I and II, but the shifts are often less dramatic in nature. A person with cyclothymic disorder can often function normally without medication, though it may be hard. Over time, a persons changes in mood may develop into a diagnosis of bipolar I or II.
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified is a general category for a person who only has some symptoms of bipolar disorder. These symptoms are not enough to make a diagnosis of one of the other three types.
While bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose, once its identified, it can be treated.
What Are The Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
Treatment can help many people, including those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder. The main treatments for bipolar disorder include medicines, psychotherapy, or both:
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. But long-term, ongoing treatment can help manage your symptoms and enable you to live a healthy, successful life.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
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Bipolar Disorder In Children And Teens
Does your child go through extreme changes in mood and behavior? Does your child get much more excited or much more irritable than other kids? Do you notice that your child goes through cycles of extreme highs and lows more often than other children? Do these mood changes affect how your child acts at school or at home?
Some children and teens with these symptoms may have bipolar disorder, a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and day-to-day functioning. With treatment, children and teens with bipolar disorder can get better over time.
For How Long Should Someone Take A Mood Stabiliser
For at least:
- alcohol or substance misuse
- continuing stress at home or at work.
If you do decide to stop your medication, you should discuss this with your doctor. Its usually best to carry on seeing your psychiatrist for 2 years after stopping medication for bipolar disorder, so that they can check you for any signs of relapse.
If you continue to have troublesome mood episodes, you may need to continue medication for longer.
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What Should I Do If My Child Stops Taking Their Meds
Its common for a person with a mental illness to stop their medication, so expect this to happen at some pointand be prepared, advises Dr. Brister. Talk to your child about the consequences of stopping medication and give feedback on the positive changes you see from treatment, Dr. Hamilton suggests. Remember, this is your childs lifetreatment choices are ultimately theirs to make, Dr. Brister adds. Like any other choices our adult children make, we may not always agree. And this doesnt mean that they arent doing well.
How To Explain Bipolar Disorder
Simple ways to explain bipolar disorder to patients, or for patients to explain bipolar to loved ones.
Bipolar disorder can be difficult to understand. Even for people with the disorder it can be very hard to articulate how it feels to be bipolar into words. Whether youre concerned for yourself or a loved one, or you just want to know more about how to explain bipolar to your loved ones, youll find everything you need to know in this article.
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Treatments For Bipolar Disorder
The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.
But there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference.
They aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible.
The following treatment options are available:
- medicine to prevent episodes of mania and depression these are known as mood stabilisers, and you take them every day on a long-term basis
- medicine to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they happen
- learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
- psychological treatment such as talking therapy, which can help you deal with depression, and provides advice about how to improve your relationships
- lifestyle advice such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
It’s thought using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder.
Help and advice for people with a long-term condition or their carers is also available from charities, support groups and associations.
This includes self-help and learning to deal with the practical aspects of a long-term condition.
Normal Feelings Vs Bipolar Disorder
It’s normal to experience a range of emotions and feelings in our lives. How we feel can be affected by the things going on around us, our friends or family, stressful events, or sometimes by nothing at all. Ups and downs, or changes in mood are normal and generally dont cause too many problems.
Young people in particular can experience changes in mood as part of normal adolescence and this can make it difficult to know when your young person might need help.
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What Is A Depressive Episode
A depressive episode is a period of lowered mood, with changes in thinking and behaviour that lasts for at least two weeks.
Typical symptoms of depression include:
Feeling low in mood
sadness, irritability, tearfulness
Losing interest in things that used to be enjoyable
Changes in appetite and weight eating more or less than usual, gaining or losing weight rapidly
Changes in sleeping patterns trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping much more than usual
Lowered energy levels and lack of motivation
Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
Poor concentration and memory problems
Thoughts about suicide
Support For Children With Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder does not impact one person it impacts the entire family. A child with BD may struggle to understand their condition, and they may feel isolated. Family members may find it hard to cope with being unable to help a child deal with these difficulties.
There are support groups for both young people with BD and their families. Some groups they may want to consider include:
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Going Further Into Your Bipolar Disorder Is Your Choice
It is ultimately up to you how much you want to share about your illness with others. You may want to describe a particular symptom of bipolar disorder that bothers you.
For example, maybe you have inappropriate and angry outbursts. This may be a good time to apologize for saying hurtful things in the pastexplain that you need medication to help control your angry outbursts and that you do not want to be hurtful.
Another symptom you may want to clarify is rapid cycling, as the shifts in mood from being ultra-excited one day to deeply depressed the next, which can be rather alarming for loved ones.
You can also decide if you want to tell your loved one what medication you are taking, the potential side effects, or it makes you feel. This may help your loved one understand you and your disease better.
Explain Bipolar Disorder: Manic And Depressive Episodes
There are three specific types of bipolar disorder as defined by the DSM-V. All of these disorders include distinct abnormal changes in mood, energy, and activity levels.
Before we explain the types of bipolar, there are some words you should understand first that will help explain bipolar disorder better:
- Manic Episodes: One of the biggest indicators of bipolar, manic episodes are periods of extremely elevated moods, including but not limited to elation, extreme irritability, or very energized behavior. Manic episodes may include risky behaviors, racing thoughts, and a decreased need for sleep.
- Hypomanic Episode: This is a term used to explain a manic episode that is less severe.
- Depressive Episodes: Considered the opposite of mania, depressive episodes typically find a person feeling down, depressed, tired, hopeless, and unable to do simple tasks.
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Who Will I See
You may see your GP at first, particularly if you have a depressive episode. But, if they make a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, they will have to refer you to a specialist a psychiatrist. NICE guidance suggest that mood-stabilisers need to be started by a specialist7, even if your care is later taken over by a GP.
When you see a psychiatrist, you will also meet other members of the community mental health team . They will be able to help with emotional support, information, psychological interventions, and help with sorting out practical matters.
Once any medication you are taking seems to established and effective, your GP can take over most of your care, although they will usually want you to stay in touch with a psychiatrist and the CMHT.
How Can I Help Them At College
If your child is away at school, open up a direct communication line with staff at the health and counseling centers on campus, says Dr. Brister. Your kid might exhibit behavior at school you dont see at home, which could be an early sign that symptoms are returning. Early symptom recognition is important, knowing when things are changing and working with the treatment team to address whats going on before things get worse, she adds. Navigating mental illness involves everyone who loves and cares for the person. It takes a village.
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Continue Learning About Living With Bipolar Disorder
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Talk About What It All Means
Just as its important to communicate the physical and emotional parts of the disorder and the management plan, you will need to discuss the social aspects with your child as well. Explain the types of stigma that still surround bipolar, but let her know that its getting better. Perhaps you can talk about positive role models she recognizes in popular culture that are speaking in public about it. You can even help with suitable statements or answers as rebuttals to questions from friends.
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