If you have a child who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, then you are probably confused and upset. You may even blame yourself and wonder what you could have done differently to prevent your child from going through this.
In order to help you child, you should consider the following things:
- Get the help of a professional therapist and/or psychiatrist
- Arm yourself with information
- Create an organized home atmosphere
- Involve family, friends, and teachers in the process
- Keep copious notes regarding changes in mood and attitude when starting medication
- Keep track of changes in mood and the associated reasons
- Let your child know that you still love them and that you will help however you can
- Find support groups so your child knows they aren't alone
You do need to understand that a true diagnosis of bipolar disorder in a child is virtually impossible to make. Your doctor may make the diagnosis simply so that your child can start a treatment plan to get their depression or other behaviors under control. It is very possible that your child's diagnosis will change when they become an adult, as their symptoms manifest into something more recognizable.
This doesn't mean that your doctor is doing something wrong by giving your child a bipolar diagnosis, they are just working within the symptoms that they can see. Over time other things may or may not manifest to change that diagnosis, in the meantime, many of the medications used to treat this disorder are used for many other disorders as well, so they can still be effective.
One of the most important things that you can do for your son or daughter as they face the challenge of a mental disorder is to let them know that you believe that they will make it through it. There is nothing worse than a parent that feels hopeless about their child because their child can feel that lack of faith and it will affect how their therapy progresses.
The bottom line is that no parent wants to learn that their child has a mental health challenge; however, this is becoming more prevalent today than ever before. Arm yourself with the information that you need and get prepared for a demanding job. Never forget, however, that this is your child and that you love them!
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