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What can children and teens expect from treatment in bipolar disorder?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

First and foremost, that they will get better over time. Making sure kids and teens understand this is as important as learning how to read. It may take time, but sticking with it (even after they do feel better) like a piece of gum under your shoe is crucial.

 

They can also expect that treatment will involve a coordinated, team effort. Not only just in terms of what treatments they are offered (a combo of meds, stress reduction techniques, and psychotherapy), but also who is involved (docs, teachers, parents, etc.).

 

Finally, symptoms of bipolar disorder can change. They are definitely not set in stone. So, treatments may need to be tweaked accordingly. Tracking or charting moods, behaviors, and sleep patterns (and noting foods and medications) can help the doctor see whether treatment is working.

With treatment, children and teens with bipolar disorder can get better over time. It helps when doctors, parents, and young people work together.

Sometimes a child's bipolar disorder changes. When this happens, treatment needs to change too. For example, your child may need to try a different medication. The doctor may also recommend other treatment changes. Symptoms may come back after a while, and more adjustments may be needed. Treatment can take time, but sticking with it helps many children and teens have fewer bipolar symptoms.

You can help treatment be more effective. Try keeping a chart of your child's moods, behaviors, and sleep patterns. This is called a "daily life chart" or "mood chart." It can help you and your child understands and track the illness. A chart can also help the doctor see whether treatment is working.

This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Mental Health.

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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.