Children and adolescents are very difficult to understand when things go wrong. Basically, because they are too young to understand the psychiatrists and psychologists terminology and too young also to express their emotions, thoughts and actions in a manner that is cogent and clear. This is why apart from looking at symptoms like excessive irritability and tantrums; sleep patterns, appetite, depressive mood are the three other sources for information. Neither will they display the typical bipolar cycles, but grandiosity and defiant behavior is very visible. Moreover, the triggers for behavioral oddities in children, adolescents and adults will most likely also be different. However, while the children’s symptoms are most likely not to develop into bipolar the teen’s situation is such that there is a natural progression to bipolar. In the process of assessment they look at whether there is any genetic loading from parents of mental health issues, the behavior that they display in school where they are compared with their peer groups and take help from the psychiatrist’s intervention and psychologists tests. This diagnostic process is not over in a few visits but over a period of some length of time. However, the adults are contributing to the growth in the study of bipolar by describing the symptoms they faced as a child and as an adolescent. This is especially important where there is genetic loading.
Where do the bipolar in children and adolescents come from? While there is no gene that has been identified but it is conclusive that genes or a mixture of them definitely play a role. Hence, parents need not necessarily be the culprits. Social environment is also a positive contributor to the development of the disease. There is a possibility that bipolar will definitely be confused by other diseases specially ADHD, Depression and such like. Early onset of epilepsy, seizures, and thyroid problems could work either way. They could confirm or negate the diagnosis of bipolar but there monitoring over a period of time will conclusively lead to a point of view. Added to this is the problem that when the children visit the professional they are at their best behavior and hide intentionally their symptoms. These further highlights the information gathered from the family and school teacher.
Bipolar in teens is more depressive than in children. Common symptoms are a sense of hopelessness, boredom, lack of motivation, disorganized thoughts, social withdrawal, and changes in appetite and sleep pattern. Some observations are that in bipolar type they are a closer to adult dipolar, they are closer to have manic episodes than children, hallucinations both auditory and visual, paranoid delusions , cycles become faster but somewhere in between children and adults, and corresponding mood swings.
An unchartered field is the field of treatment. Were bipolar is not a complete fit especially in children than the medicine of first resort is antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic etc. The typical symptoms at this point would be negative self image, headache and stomachache, social withdrawal, behavioral problems, loss of emotional control and more anger than sadness. It is a time consuming process and would take anywhere between 1to 2 years to fructify. However the relapse rate is as high as 80 to 90%. A lot of physical laboratory tests validation is required especially lithium and thyroid levels. With children the treatment and medication is “in a emergency like situation” since the vagueness of the situation is very high. The side effects of the medication is such that within 1st to 2nd week lipid changes, glucose level changes and weight gain become very apparent. The first dosage is small in content as changes take place very rapidly on the symptoms. A major guiding force is if the parents or family are on psychiatric medication than that could be the starting point.
But the most important and critical part of the treatment is psychotherapeutic intervention in the form off =Psycho Education, Family therapy and individual therapy. It would be more appropriate to touch the legal and police system for the adolescents as they are more likely to digress from typical civil behavior. This includes the working as a team for furthering the cause of something that is still in an evolutionary stage.
Cadabam’s hospital is just the place you have been looking for, a specialist in Psychiatry and Neurology has integrated holistic approach and has a team of professionals devoted to the field of Child and Adolescent psychiatry linked closely to a multi facetted laboratories, pharmacy, and facilities that you would find necessary for your child or adolescent.