There is only one thing worse than having manic depression and that is having manic depression when you are young. Of course manic depression is also known as bipolar disorder. It is a condition that sends the people unlucky enough to have it into spins between depression and mania which involves having incredible energy.
There is an even bigger problem when you are a child, “tween” or teen.
When we are discussing children and bi-polar disorder we have to look at it from two different standpoints. There are those children who are actually diagnoses and there are those children who have bi-polar who are not diagnosed. It is a challenge to raise a child with bi-polar whether they have been diagnosed or not.
What are the symptoms of a child with bi-polar disorder?
The child may be extremely happy one day and depressed the next day. They may be talkative for a couple of days at a time and then suddenly not want to interact with anyone. They may withdraw into themselves or they may begging to interact with kids who meet their needs and often they are dysfunctional as well. The greatest danger of a child not being diagnosed is they are candidates for suicide.
The problem with getting children diagnosed is when they have mood swings parents and other family members usually dismiss it as “Johnny’s just a moody kid.” The other thing that has historically been said is “Johnny’s just a little odd.” Parents, most of the time attribute mental problems to personality traits.
Children who are lucky enough to be diagnosed are usually put on a combination of different medications. This may include an antidepressant, a stabilizing medication such as lithium, and they may even be put on medication such as Ritalin. I intend to do an article about the challenges and dangers of medications with kids.
Medications alone will not solve the problem for a child. They need counseling and as an added dimension they need their parents to be involved with the counselor.
The life of a child with bi-polar disorder who is on medication is going to be stricter than most kids. They are going to have to take their medication on time and no doubt will have a schedule they will need to keep with regard to counseling. However, the toughest thing for a child who has been diagnosed with bi-polar is they are going to be challenged by their parents and those around them. Their thinking will be questioned and they will be watched much more closely for signs of aberrant behavior.
As far as I know I had bi-polar disorder when I was a young child. My mood swings were attributed to just being “a little different.” However, that was in the 1950’s and mental illness was something no one understood, or wanted to admit. Unfortunately, I paid a price later in life for not having been treated for bi-polar disorder in my youth.
If you have a child who has emotional ups and downs that seem a little out of the ordinary you literally could be saving their life if you take them to be examined.
Personal Experience and Knowledge