Running head: Bipolar Children and Adolescents
Bipolar Children and Adolescents
It has been an exceptional experience to creatively explore a subject that I have been captivated by for years. The opportunity to investigate and share research material in the area of pediatric and youth bipolar medical issues has been inspirational, and invaluable.
I will further elaborate on what special knowledge might be beneficial for a therapist working with young bipolar patients. It is important to understand the different ways bipolar cycles can present, and to have the skills to recognize them when they do.
Cycling patterns can be defined in many ways, and it is imperative to be aware of the most up-to-date definitions available. According to Trudy Carlson, author of The Life of a Bipolar Child, “rapid cycling” refers to 4 cycles that occur during a 12-month span. Although I was impressed to see the “rapid cycling” terminology, her definition is no different from the DSM-IV, and is definition of rapid cycling in adult patient. As author Lori Oliwenstein submits in, Taming Bipolar Disorder, children can cycle up to 12 times a day. and those definitions don’t seem to be written and labeled clearly elsewhere. Terminology such as ultra-rapid cycling, and ultra-ultra-rapid cycling is what to listen and look for as a therapist, but often the patient won’t know those terms, so asking the key questions about their cycling experiences will prove critical.
Understanding genetic background will also prove of great importance to the process. Genetics play a large role in the plight of a bipolar patient. In a situation where a therapist might wrongly diagnose a teen as having depression, knowing a genetic history of bipolar, could make the difference in clarifying the diagnosis and getting it right.
In another situation, a therapist might think that a teen is presenting as borderline, or possibly with post-traumatic stress disorder, and again, the...