Educate yourself. Do not judge these innocent children or their parents for you do not understand what they are going through.
Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. When children develop the illness, it is called early-onset bipolar disorder. This type can be more severe than bipolar disorder in older teens and adults. Children with bipolar disorder go through unusual mood changes. Sometimes they feel very happy or “up,” and are much more active than usual, we call this mania. Sometimes children with bipolar disorder feel very sad and “down,” and are much less active than usual, this is referred to as depression. Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that and the illness can make it hard for a child to do well in school or get along with friends and family members. The illness can also be dangerous. Some young people with bipolar disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.
This shows Normal Brain, Depression Brain, Bipolar Brain, Schizophrenia Brain and OCD Brain. I thought it was super neat.
Braxton tells me at times, he feels like he is living on a roller coaster. If you look at the picture below you can see exactly what he means.
Bipolar mood changes are called “mood episodes.” Your child may have manic episodes, depressive episodes, or “mixed” episodes. A mixed episode has both manic and depressive symptoms. Children and teens with bipolar disorder may have more mixed episodes than adults with the illness. Mood episodes that can last a week or two, sometimes longer and some times shorter. During an episode, the symptoms may last every day for most of the day. These episodes are intense. The feelings are strong and happen along with extreme changes in behavior and energy levels.
Children and teens having a depressive episode may:
Feel very sad
Complain about pain a lot, like stomachaches and headaches
Sleep too little or too much
Feel guilty and worthless
Eat too little or too much
Have little energy and no interest in fun activities
Think about death or suicide
Children and teens going through a mixed episode may:
Have an increase in agitation
Have major changes in appetite
Feeling very sad
Feeling extremely energized
Children and teens having a manic episode may:
Feel very happy or act silly in a way that’s unusual. Have a very short temper. Talk really fast about a lot of different things. Have trouble sleeping but not feeling tired. Have trouble staying focused.