Supporting Someone With Bipolar
If you find it difficult to come to terms with your siblings or parents mental illness, there are many others who share your difficulty. Most siblings and adult children of people with psychiatric disorders find that mental illness in a brother, sister, or parent is a tragic event that changes everyones life in many basic ways. Strange, unpredictable behaviors in a loved one can be devastating, and your anxiety can be high as you struggle with each episode of illness and worry about the future. It seems impossible at first, but most siblings and adult children find that over time they do gain the knowledge and skills to cope with mental illness effectively. They do have strengths they never knew they had, and they can meet situations they never even anticipated.
A good start in learning to cope is to find out as much as possible about mental illness, both by reading and talking with other families. NAMI has books, pamphlets, fact sheets, and tapes available about different illnesses, treatments, and issues you may have to deal with, and you can join one of the 1,200 NAMI affiliate groups throughout the nation.
The following are some things to remember that should help you as you learn to live with mental illness in your family:
NAMI National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Colonial Place Three, 2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201-3042703-524-7600 / NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI / www.nami.org
What To Do When You’re Not Okay
Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.
How Can I Take Care Of Myself So I Can Be There For My Child
Dealing with mental illness is very difficult, acknowledges Dr. Hamilton. Parents need to receive support, educate themselves about the illness, and may want to get counseling themselves. He encourages parents to talk to other parents whove shared similar experiences. Dont be afraid to ask questions and, since a supportive community is essential, consider joining a support group, adds Dr. Brister. The important thing is not to give up.
Bipolar Disorder Onset: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Bipolar Disorder. nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder
State Standards for Involuntary Treatment: Treatment Advocacy Center. State Standards for Initiating Involuntary Treatment. treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/state-standards/state-standards-for-initiating-involuntary-treatment.pdf
DBSA Support Groups: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Support. dbsalliance.org/support/
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Behavior And Boundary Battles
With a few exceptions, Mary doesnt get the impression that many people in her rural California town understand, or want to understand, Paiges disorder. Ignorant is how she sums up the prevailing attitude. According to experts, thats not necessarily a function of geography.
Just ask Sam. Based outside Seattle, the author and licensed mental health counselor began helping children with neuropsychological issues in 1991, after learning that his youngest child had Tourette syndrome. Sam has since met dozens of parents whove been told their youngsters condition is nothing more than a byproduct of inferior childrearing.
I have heard of parents being accused of being abusive and bad parents, and I knew this was not the deal, says Sam. I thought to myself, I have two older daughters who turned out OK, so I must not be a bad dad.
Through the ups and downs of rearing Mike, Sam has learned to achieve a meaningful rapport with the youngsters he counsels. Parents can do the same, he says, by listening with respect, asserting limits on excessive behavior, and trying to appreciate everything their child endures, from social ostracism to prescription side effects.
Parents often only see their kids as a bundle of symptoms, he notes. Theyll talk about their child in front of me, and I get uncomfortable with that. They try to be empathetic, but if youve never taken an antipsychotic or a mood stabilizer, you dont realize how that can mess you up in many ways.
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My Daughter Is Bipolar And Manipulative
If you believe that your daughter is bipolar and manipulative, you should talk to her about your concerns and ask her to share her thoughts on whats going on. Next, you should work with her doctor to create a treatment plan to help her manage her condition. Finally, you should offer your support and encouragement as she works to overcome bipolar disorder and manipulation.
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Giving Up Sugar Tasting God’s Goodness
As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still pedaling away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.
Common Questions From Children
It is natural for a child whose parent has bipolar disorder to have questions about the condition and how it affects everyone around them. A person may benefit from taking these questions to a specialist and talking through them.
Some of the more common questions that a child may ask about a parent with bipolar disorder include those below.
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What Does It Mean For Our Marriage If My Spouse Has Bipolar Disorder
There are two answers to this question. If you spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages.
If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. Abuse can take the form of
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
We offer a variety of resources to help those with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. One of these is our free e-book, Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder, which covers all of the basic information you need to know about bipolar. View a list of the rest of our programs here.
A Mental Health Intervention
When someone you care about continues to refuse treatment, when their mental health issues are causing serious problems, or if they cant see or admit that they have bipolar disorder, a more drastic push may be useful. Interventions are well known in the cases of substance use disorders and can be effective. Loved ones come together to show support but to insist on treatment. If the person in question refuses, there are consequences such as taking away financial support.
If you choose to try an intervention, there are some risks. It is best to work with a mental health professional to plan, practice, and initiate this strategy. An intervention for a mental illness like bipolar disorder can be riskier than that for an addict. Take care and be prepared for denial, hostility, even aggression. Have a plan in place and dont try to do this without professional assistance.
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Outline Benefits And Have A Plan Ready
As long as your loved one is still in a position to have a rational conversation about treatment, you can engage them and have a serious discussion. Talk about the benefits treatment could bring. For example, if your loved one is struggling to live the life they want to, talk about how treatment can help them make changes and set and achieve goals.
Hone in on specific things about their life that they dont like. Maybe your loved one has a hard time maintaining a long-term relationship or keeping a job they enjoy. Talk about how untreated bipolar disorder is probably getting in the way of achieving a healthy relationship and a rewarding career.
It also helps to have a plan already in place when you start this conversation. Be prepared with a few options for rehab, therapy, and treatment plans. This makes it easier for your loved one to take the concrete step to get help, but also gives them a choice and a say in where their treatment goes from here.
Encourage Your Loved One To Take Bipolar Disorder Medication
Medication is the cornerstone of treatment for bipolar disorder, and most people need it to regulate their moods and avoid relapse. Despite the need for medication, many people with bipolar disorder stop taking it. Some quit because theyre feeling better, others because of side effects, and yet others because they enjoy the symptoms of mania. People who dont think they have a problem are particularly likely to stop taking medication.
You can help your loved one stay on track by emphasizing the importance of medication and making sure they take all prescriptions as directed. Also encourage your loved one to speak to their doctor about any bothersome side effects.
Side effects can be very unpleasant if the dose of the medication is too low or too high, but a change in medication or dosage may solve the problem. Remind your loved one that abruptly stopping medication is dangerous.
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How Is Your Daughter Doing Now
She continues to deal with anxiety at times and is often tired due to her immune deficiency so she only works part time. Her life is basically good after a few years of significant struggle. She takes a lot of medication, but we have accepted that she is better with them than she is without them. It really is a rollercoaster, but I have hope that she is accepting her reality and is working towards a healthy life.
*Lucy, not her real name, shares her happy and active life with her husband, two daughters and a dog in a suburb of South Central United States. She hopes to help other parents understand the struggles of living with bipolar disorder, while finding hope through loving and helping their kids find and live their best life.
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.
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What Should You Say Instead
Start by shutting down any hint of stigma by saying:
- Youre not crazy. This is a medical condition.
- Having bipolar disorder does not affect your intelligence or character. This is an illness that does not define you.
How Are Bipolar And Adhd Alike
Emotional dysregulation, explains Gabrielle Carlson, MD, was one of the symptoms of ADHD until 1980 when the DSM-3 committee decided it was not part of the core condition. But its still listed as an associated behavior. The current DSM-5 describes it as low frustration tolerance, irritability, or mood lability. Its importance in the syndrome of ADHD has recently gained renewed recognition.
Dr. Carlson is director emerita of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. She is an expert in bipolar disorder in children and the more recently invented condition called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
Difficulty managing their emotions and meeting expectations for behavior are common problems for children with ADHD. Indeed, more than half of children with the combined form of ADHD develop a behavior disorder like oppositional defiant disorder , which is characterized by temperamental, disruptive and disobedient behavior. Indeed, the irritability of ADHD and ODD is indistinguishable from the irritability of mania except that the latter is episodic rather than continuous.
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How Normal Toddlers Grow To Become Adult Narcissistic Children
Narcissism is a condition that forms early on and manifests more clearly in adults. However, doctors are reluctant to diagnose and treat the disorder in people under 18. Thats because it can be tricky to discern whether the behaviors listed above are the result of narcissism or normal childhood selfishness.
So how did this happen? There are a number of probable causes for narcissistic behavior:
- Genetics: Inherited genetics are believed in some cases to be the reason for the development of narcissism, which oftentimes forms in childhood. Thats why its so important not to have children with anybody who shows signs of narcissism in the first place. They could pass this disorder on to the kids.
- Neurobiology: There have been some studies on patients with diagnosed NPD which show that neurobiology may play a role in narcissism. A narcissists brain simply may not work the same way as yours. They process others feelings, yet feel no empathy.
- Environment: Certain familial environments seem to nurture this disorder. They include living with a narcissistic parent in an absence of love and affection, or in a highly competitive environment. Neglect, abuse and even excessive idolization of a child can contribute. Most children who grow up with a narcissistic parent in the household typically either become narcissists or codependents as adults.
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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.
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Will My Parent Get Better
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. There is no outright cure, but many people find that they can control their symptoms with proper treatment.
Parents with bipolar disorder will benefit from understanding how the condition affects them and their children. It may help everyone feel more comfortable to keep the following things in mind.
Where Do I Go For Help
If youre not sure where to get help, your doctor, pediatrician, or other family health care provider is a good place to start. A health care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who has experience treating bipolar disorder and can evaluate your childs symptoms.
You can learn more about getting help and finding a health care provider on the National Institute of Mental Health website. Hospital health care providers can help in an emergency. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an online tool to help you find mental health services in your area.
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Tactics 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. Youll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, youll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
Resources For Parenting Teens With Bipolar
Looking for more information to help you with your teen who has bipolar disorder? Here are some resources that other parents have found helpful.
Acquainted with the Night Subtitled A Parents Quest toUnderstand Depression and BipolarDisorder in His Children, Raeburns already published gripping memoir is due out in paperback this May.
The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhoods Most Misunderstood Disorder by Demitri
Papolos, MD, and Janice Papolos. Often referred to as the bible by parents of children with bipolar disorder.
Survival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar Disorder: Innovative parenting and counseling techniques for helping children with bipolar disorder and the conditions that may occur with it by Sam. Gives advice on how to recognize the symptoms, navigate the daily challenges, and find the necessary support at your
childs school. Sams latest book, Genius! Nurturing the spirit of the wild, odd, and oppositional child offers a practical plan for parents to bring out the best in children who have neuropsychological problems while also taking care of themselves.
The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child: A Survival Guide for Parents by Judith Lederman and Candida Fink. Written by the parent of a child diagnosed as bipolar, with the assistance of a psychiatrist, this book offers such tips as coping with teens who get into legal trouble, talking to siblings about the childs disorder, and other essential advice.
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