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Is there a cure for childhood bipolar disorder?

There is no cure for childhood bipolar disorder, but doctors can use medications and therapy to help children manage the mood swings. Most doctors believe in the motto "start low, go slow" when it comes to treating children with bipolar disorder. That is because medications can have side effects that can disrupt a child's life. Because bipolar disorder in childhood is a complex mental illness, the doctor may use several medications to treat the moods. Never manipulate your child's medications or dosages yourself. If you believe the child needs a different medication, see the psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist for advice. Halting bipolar disorder medication suddenly can be harmful and cause mood swings to worsen.
Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There is no cure for childhood bipolar disorder, but doctors can use medications and therapy to help children manage the mood swings. Most doctors believe in the motto "start low, go slow" when it comes to treating children with bipolar disorder. That is because medications can have side effects that can disrupt a child's life. Because bipolar disorder in childhood is a complex mental illness, the doctor may use several medications to treat the moods. Whatever you do, do not manipulate your child's medications or dosages yourself. If you believe the child needs a different medication, see the psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist for advice. Taking someone off a bipolar disorder medication suddenly can be harmful and even cause the mood swings to worsen.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

There is no cure for bipolar disorder, so treatment focuses on relieving and controlling symptoms. A comprehensive plan of treatment including medication, stress reduction, and psychotherapy attacks symptoms from all sides.

 

Your child can take some types of medication to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder, but not all. And there are no approved medications for children under the age of 10. Right now, the FDA approves the use of lithium in children aged 12 to 17. Abilify and Risperdal have FDA approval for use in children aged 10 to 17. The use of anticonvulsants such as Depakote and Topamax are not FDA approved for use in children with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, antidepressants are used with extreme caution in children because of the risk of suicidal thoughts. Your child’s doctor will know which medications will be the safest and most effective treatment options for your child.

 

Psychotherapy is just a fancy term for talk therapy. It involves sessions where your child talks to a therapist about feelings, thoughts, and mood changes to help control unpleasant symptoms and change your child’s behavior. In other words, the goal is not just to chat, but to find solutions and strategies that work for your child and that he is likely to follow consistently (with your help, hopefully!). You can have psychotherapy sessions alone or with members of your family and friends. Your child can also participate in group psychotherapy sessions with other children who are struggling with bipolar disorder.

 

Bottom line: Effective treatment for a child or teen requires a coordinated effort from doctors and parents working seamlessly together (like Karl Malone and John Stockton) with the child.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.