Before my friend’s twelve year old son was diagnosed as bi-polar, I didn’t know much about this mental/mood disorder. I had heard the term bi-polar, but I thought it was something that afflicted adults, and I thought it was a new catchphrase to describe a particular type of mental illness that may or may not really exist. At the time I didn’t realize that bi-polar disorder is an actual mental illness that afflicts people of all ages, and I certainly didn’t suspect that one of my best friend’s kids had bi-polar disorder.
My friend’s family lived with the chaos and confusion of dealing with their youngest son’s mood swings on a regular basis. As time went by, his outbursts became more frequent and more unsettling, and his mother was the one who most often dealt with the fallout. His schoolwork and social life was being affected by his somewhat bizarre behavior and his erratic mood swings, and his mother set out on a mission to find a solution for his chaotic and perplexing problem once and for all.
Life With a Bi-Polar Child
Life with a bi-polar child definitely isn’t easy. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and it’s a disorder that won’t go away by itself. My friend hoped that as her son matured, his mood swings and behavioral problems would diminish, but they increased as he neared puberty. The following information details some of the experiences my friend went through with her bi-polar child, and she hopes that by sharing these experiences, she can encourage parents to seek help for the benefit of their entire family as well as the child who is suffering.
A bi-polar child can go from being happy and extremely talkative to depressed or angry in a matter of moments. They can also go from being angry or depressed to happy and once again talkative, just as quickly. There are good days, and there are very bad days when this cycle from happiness to anger or sadness, occurs several times a day. The mood swings and outbursts make absolutely no sense, and it becomes clear that something is very wrong.
My friend’s son can become angered by the slightest things, and after going through episodes of anger that would effect the entire family, he would turn happy and talkative once again. Before being treated he created chaos in the household, and after everyone became upset to the point of saying things they might later regret, her son couldn’t understand why everyone was upset and angry. He expected the moods of others to reflect his moods, but after acting out and causing parents and siblings to almost burst blood vessels, he would once again become angry when everyone wasn’t as happy as he was. This is the vicious cycle of emotional upheaval, and it’s a rollercoaster ride that never ends with a bi-polar child.
Begin with Counseling
Those who have a child who could have an emotional or mental disorder should seek help as soon as possible. Call your local mental health center, explain what your child is doing, and secure an appointment for a psychiatric evaluation. More than likely, the child will also meet with a counselor or therapist to help determine the root of anger issues, and they will be given helpful advice and coping skills. Counseling can help more than any amount of medication, but medication is sometimes also necessary when trying to level out the moods of bi-polar kids.
Medications Can Help
My friend’s son who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder started out on a medication called Risperdal, but he gained too much weight in a short period of time. He was eventually put on a 7.5 mg daily dose of the prescription drug Abilify, and it has made a tremendous difference in this child’s moods and behavior. My friend’s son is now a happy child who is capable of giving hugs, and he no longer goes from one end of the mood spectrum to the other. Abilify has given him a new lease on life, and although he still has bi-polar disorder and probably always will, he’s able to cope with everyday issues and get along with friends and family. His prognosis for a normal life is looking better than ever, and although therapy helped, Abilify made all of the difference in the world.