Bipolar disorder is a condition that is typically diagnosed only in teens and adults; however, there is also an increasing number of young children and babies that are diagnosed with this condition. The truth is that there are currently very young children who are treated for this illness. The mood swings caused by this condition can be quite a challenging task to handle for the parents of a bipolar child. Children as well as adults affected by this disorder often to not fully comprehend how sick they are and they downplay their mood changes. Eventually their problem will affect their lives and the lives of their family and friends. Once the symptoms of bipolar disorder become visible, it is highly recommended to consult with a specialist to start with the management of the problem.
Is bipolar disorder a widespread problem with babies?
There are no studies documenting how widespread the illness is amongst babies and young children. What is known is that only 2% of the adult population has the disorder. It is also established that young children who have ADHD (attention deficit disorder) also showed symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Understanding bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness characterized by significant changes in temperament, mood and behavior. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression. Bipolar disorder can nowadays be diagnosed and managed in young kids, but despite of research that has been conducted, some specialists nevertheless state that the causes of the condition are vague and a real efficient treatment has yet to be established. However, there are several medications and therapies available for the treatment of bpd.
Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Although the exact causes of bipolar disorder are not determined yet, some experts say that there is sufficient scientific evidence that chemical imbalances in the brain are the main culprit. The reason for the uncertainty is due to some plausible theories pointing to a mixture of environmental as well as hereditary triggers. Some studies show that people with bipolar disorder have a discrepancy of chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. Typically the source of the disorder is of a genetic nature; however, it does not mean that the disorder will break out in all people related to a patient.
Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
The condition is normally characterized by a changing pattern of emotional lows and highs with varying intensities. The symptoms might encompass extreme changes in the energy levels, way of thinking, behavior, and temper; further there can be recurring periods of depression. The manic symptoms are characterized by more or faster talking than usual, loss of focus and fast change of topics, or it can be difficult to interrupt the person. Children will go for days with little sleep, they may show a destructive behavior, no interest in play, bed wetting, and have nightmares and food cravings.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is extremely necessary to establish the correct diagnosis. The root causes of the mood swings need to be identified and those mood swings that are not the result of bipolar disorder need to be eliminated. Sometimes bipolar disorder could just be one component of a bigger problem. Additional disorders that could mask the diagnosis of bipolar disorder or occur at the same time include melancholy, conduct disorder (C.D.), oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), ADHD, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, etc.
There is a certain possibility that bipolar disorder could be misdiagnosed with all those different possible disorders. The correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children will be challenging, but will be crucial for establishing the proper treatment plan. An incorrect analysis will prevent the baby from getting the right help, but it also jeopardizes the baby’s health if the prescribed drugs are not appropriate for the condition.
Bipolar disorder in children can be successfully treated. Therapies normally begin with the education of the child and the family about the meaning of bipolar disorder, how the depressive phases can be prevented and about the purposes of psychotherapy. Medications can be used to prevent and lessen the impact of manic phases, e.g. mood stabilizers such as lithium and valproic acid. Psychotherapy will assist the children in explaining what they are going through, finding an understanding for their situation, how to cope with the stress of the disorder, ways to improve relationships and rebuild self-esteem.
Role of the Parents
If bipolar disorder is correctly identified it will be easier for the parents and the doctors to establish the appropriate treatment strategy. It is very important that the parents fully understand their role and what they need to do to support the treatment. Therapies, drugs, diet and lifestyle changes are just a few of the issues that need to be considered.
The parents also need to keep records of any unusual behaviors or of improvements in their children throughout the treatment. Any observations and developments need to be discussed with the doctor.
The parents should also stay up to date with the developments in the treatment of bipolar disorder in babies. There are online resources as well as professional support groups of parents with similar problems. These groups provide information and allow the sharing of experiences.
The crucial aspect in the treatment and management of bipolar disorder is the early identification and intervention. The analysis of bipolar disorder in children and teenagers is complex and involves careful judgment and observation by a specialized children’s psychiatrist. The correct assessment of the disorder will be the beginning for the successful treatment. Babies and young children with bipolar disorder are not doomed for life. If the condition is identified early on and correctly treated, which includes medical, emotional, and physical support, there is absolutely no reason why the kids should not grow up normally and become healthy adults.