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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Bipolar vs Depression

06/05/2008

Question:

I need to find a professional who will invest the time in my child to observe as well as listen to history of medications tried, their failures,my husbands and my frustration level in dealing with one medication right after the other. As a health care professional I know how difficult it is to regulate symtoms of bipolar disorder, but because I am living with it someone has to be able to listen to me. Please don`t think I am hard to please----I just love my child and need help. thank-you

Answer:

Thank you for your e-mail and question.

I understand your concern and frustration, which I've heard from several other parents. Please do not give up hope though because there are professionals who will listen and problem-solve with you and, based on my experience, there is a pharmacological solution to your child's symptoms.

However, be patient. It does take time to find that exact combination that will work for your child's symptoms and a professional who will listen, but I believe they are both out there. First off, I'd ask yourself if you are satisfied with your child's assessment. Do you feel/know that your child received a comprehensive and detailed psychological assessment of ALL possible DSM-IV psychiatric disorders and screening for medical problems from a trained mental health professional? Without screening for all possible diagnoses, an accurate diagnosis really cannot be made and therefore treated.

I'd start by considering this before the treatment issue. If you do feel the assessment was comprehensive/detailed and the diagnoses accurate, then I'd suggest two things to help your child receive the most effective pharmacological care:

1) Dr. Mary Fristad's book, "Raising a Moody Child" has an excellent chapter on medications.

2) Contact the Child and Bipolar Foundation (www.bpkids.org), your local university, community mental health center or National Association of Mentally Ill chapter to ask for names, locations and phone numbers of child psychiatrists who have expertise treating childhood bipolar disorder.

I hope this answer is helpful.

Best wishes,

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