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.