Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that has been increasingly found in young children and young adults all over America. Bipolar disorder and “Manic Depression Disorder” are two terms that describe the same condition. It is believed however that “Bipolar” is a bit more accurate because the condition is characterized as being mood swings that seem to swing from one extreme to the other, hence “Bipolar”. The two phases, especially when we are discussing children, are not always clearly defined as “Manic” or “Depressive”. For this reason, it is unclear why they have begun using Manic Depression to stand in for Bipolar Disorder.
To further the case of the disorder not being manic depression, the period of time that a bipolar individual is in a one state or “pole” can be hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months. These changes seem to occur much more rapidly in bipolar children than adults. It is important to understand that while the exact cause of the disease is yet unknown, research has proven that bipolar disorder is a psychological disease, the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, and the actual brain waves of bipolar patients are different. A child who is diagnosed as bipolar did not get that way because of something they did wrong, or as the result of bad parenting.
The good news about bipolar disorder is that it is treatable. Treatment for bipolar disorder will include the use of medications called mood stabilizers and anti-depressants, in combination with talk therapy, and many educational programs designed for you, the family, and your child. So much has been learned over the years about bipolar disorder, especially how it affects children and teens. Research continues, but even with the treatments available to us today, many bipolar individuals go on to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.