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Social Rhythm Therapy Helps Children With Bipolar Illness Cope

Article by Julie Frey

Raising a kid with bipolar disorder is not an easy thing. It usually causes a great deal of angst, to the kid. But, it causes a great deal of angst and anxiousness for the rest of the family as well. Unfortunately, as of yet, a cure for bipolar does not exist. Therefore, it is incumbent on everyone in the family to learn to deal with the current state of affairs.

There are several good treatments for bipolar disorder. When an adult has this illness, it is pretty standard for the doctor to prescribe one or more types of medication. When treating children, however, you have less leeway. The physician has to be much more careful when prescribing medications for a child. The reason is that a child is still growing and developing. As a result, you want to be as sure as possible that any medications he is given will not adversely impact the development of his brain or body. Therefore, even when medicines are prescribed for children, they are usually prescribed in limited dosages. And, due to this limitation, they will not always have the same effect in a child as they would in a grownup.

Due to the exaggerated effects that drugs can often have on a child, many times, therapy is just as significant in the treatment of bipolar children as are drugs. One of the primary causes of anxiousness in a child suffering from bipolar is his inability to understand why he reacts to things in a certain way. To help him to understand, we use therapy – one of the best means available in helping us to understand why we do certain things and react in certain ways.

During the course of speaking with his therapist about his issues, the thought is that he will gradually come to gain an understanding of bipolar and the reasons why it is causing him to behave in a certain manner. It helps to alleviate his frustrations. And, this understanding and demystification of the disease helps to come to calm his reactions to the illness and to come to terms with it. In addition, therapy can provide him with the psychological tools to better control his reactions when with friends and family or when by himself.

Over the years, many forms of therapy have been developed to treat illnesses such as bipolar illness. And, one type of therapy that has shown great utility is one known as social rhythm therapy or treatment. It is a relatively recent type of therapy. And it shows great promise in its ability to treat bipolar disease. This treatment mainly concentrates on helping the child to establish and maintain daily habitual rhythms in their lives.

Specifically, what this means is that the child will be advised and encouraged to set up regular patterns for his daily activities. This includes activities such as sleeping, eating, exercising, homework – everything that he typically does during the course of a normal day. So, for instance, rather than going to bed at random times during the week, he is encouraged to go to bed, every day, at the same time.

So, likewise for each of the normal activities that he does day to day such as eating, school, and other activities – he sets a regular schedule and routine. An in establishing these regular patterns, he will find that the stresses that occur during the day have less impact on him.

Recognition of how effective a form of treatment such as social rhythm therapy can be is important. It emphasizes the fact that, to be most effective, bipolar has to be attacked in various ways and not simply by drugs. And, by incorporating this type of therapy into the overall treatment process, he will find it much easier living day to day.

Bipolar Disorder in Children

When children become teenagers, they experience mood changes due to the fact that they are growing up. However, they start to interfere with the everyday lives and Bipolar Disorder could be the answer for the change.

This sort of mood disorder changes a person’s mood significantly as well as energy levels and behaviour.

The Cause

The disorder can attack any person whether they are grown up or not. But there is only a little chance of having Bipolar Disorder. While a parent has Bipolar Disorder, the risk for the child would be around 30% or less. When both parents have Bipolar Disorder, the risk increases to even more.

The Symptoms

They start during the early life of a child but it is noticeable when it increases during their teenage lives. Below, I have listed a number of symptoms of Bipolar Disorder with a little description about them. If it’s possible that your child or anyone close to you is suffering from these symptoms, take him/her to the doctor and get him checked.

Manic Symptoms
Sudden changes of mood
Increase in energy level
Sleeps little even though he/she doesn’t get tired.
Depressive Symptoms
Always sad and crying most of the time
Not staying a lot with friends or doing any activities
Little energy level and motivation.

Children who have the Bipolar Disorder tend to change in moods very quickly from happy to sad or even aggressive. In the past, parents have said that the children who carry this illness are unpredictable. There is a big difference in children and adults because children tend to be angrier every time.

When this kids are depressed, headaches and other pains occur as well as they talk about strange things like running away or even committing suicide.

Is There Any Treatment for Bipolar Disorder?

For this disorder, there is one treatment that I know of; this is taking in some doses of mood stabilisers. Be careful that children might get side effects from these in large amounts. Make sure that you keep an eye of how your child progresses such as his education and monitor the symptoms very closely. Build more ways of improving his mood changes like telling him to start sleeping regularly and bring him closer to a community of people.

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Bipolar disorder in children

Medical History has shown a number of mental disorders and there different status since decades. It becomes severe if relates to children. Like for example, the bipolar disorder. The organizations like the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and the Statistical Manual or DSM has categorized the sickness as an adult onset disorder. The World Health Organization has also said that the disease named as bipolar disorder has become a controversial disease in understanding and diagnosing the sickness in children. It has led many researches and studies in the 20th Century like the neurobiological, genetic, diagnostic researches in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. These researches have found many complicated cases related to between the years 1994 to 2003. Currently, the sickness has become a significant cause of  disability and death in the people of all age groups. The researches say that the number of female patients are lower than the male patients.

The illness is generally related to hereditary, genetic and psychological issues. Many times, patients are also affected by some environmental conditions. Bipolar disorder in children has many symptoms that are related to mood changes. The medical experts have divided the symptoms into two sections: Manic Symptoms and Depressive Symptoms. The patients suffering with the symptoms has a severe form of depression and obsession related to some issues or situations. He/she will also have a mood including anger, aggressiveness, ridiculous or too much of irritation in nature. The patient will also have constant sadness and a frequent habit of crying, a habit of speaking too much or being extra talkative. He/she may also have a tendency of committing suicide. The children suffering with the illness have a have a nature of getting easily distracted. The adults who are suffering with the illness will have a nature of being alcoholic or taking harmful drugs. leads to a very low level of energy and thus, they suffer with extreme fatigue and very poor concentration. This will also affect his/her sleeping patterns. Many children suffering with the illness have attention-deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD.

The people who are not able to their interested works due to disability in their health, have been hospitalized due to any other kind of mental or physical illness, an existence of Co-occurring obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, excessive occurrence of manic episodes or a History of any mental disorder. Any kind of cancer or tumor inside the brain can also lead to the illness. The illness is diagnosed through the brain imaging studies, like for example, the positron emission tomography or PET and functional magnetic resonance imaging or FMRI. These tests help to diagnose the level of disorder or disability inside the brain.

Currently, there is no any complete cure for the illness, however, some kind of medication and exercises can definitely work. The medical experts usually provide mood-stabilizing medications to provide an affective treatment. Like for example, Lithium, which is also known as Eskalith or Lithobid. This medication is given to treat the mood swings in the patient. The other medications are Valproic acid, anticonvulsant lamotrigine, gabepentin, Topamax or topiramate etc have been approved by the US Food and Drugs Association. The other medications are oxcarbazepine  or Trileptal. In a treatment for the medical experts also suggest for psychotherapy including all medications. There are also some kinds of antidepressant medications like paroxetine or Paxil, sertraline or Zoloft, bupropion or Wellbutrin and mental exercises or medications are very much effective to treat the disorder.