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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Atlernative Medications for Bipolar Children

08/24/2004

Question:

Are there alternative treatments other than medication for my 10 year old bipolar son?

He has been on Lithium and Depakote for a year now and his physical prowess and endurance has greatly declined causing his performance in soccer (the love of his life) to greatly decline.

Answer:

Hello,

Thank you for your question regarding "alternative treatments for children with bipolar disorder." In terms of treatment, medication is considered the first line of intervention. However, if a medication is causing undesirable effects, then talk to your M.D. regarding these "side-effects" and see if they can be minimized by:

1. changing the dose

2. changing the time the medication is taken

3. changing how the medication is taken (e.g., half in the morning, half in the evening)

4. changing the medication

Other medications for bipolar disorder include: Tegretol, Gabitril, Lamictal,Topamax, Trileptal, Ability, Clozaril,Geodon, Risperdal, Seroquel, & Zyprexa). None of these have been tested in children/adolescents (only adults), but they are frequently prescribed, and with the proper care and monitoring, can be very effective for a child with bipolar disorder.

Adjunctive non-medical treatments include family-therapy, which provides the parents, child, and siblings (if applicable) with psychoeducation and skills to cope with mood disorders. A cutting-edge and highly readable book is "Raising a Moody Child" by Drs. Mary Fristad and Jill Goldberg-Arnold. Dr. Fristad is considered one of the world's leading experts on psychological interventions for children with bipolar disorder.

I hope that helps.

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nicholas   Lofthouse, PhD Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University