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How can I cope with my child’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be incredibly difficult. However, there are a number of things you can do to relieve the stress and overwhelming nature of the diagnosis. Here are just a few.

  •  Learn as much as you can about your child’s condition so you understand the mood swings and what triggers them.
  •  Make sure you understand which medications he will need and the side effects they may cause.
  • Don’t forget about you. Your feelings are just as important as your child’s. Make sure you have a good support system. You could even join a support group to share your feelings and experiences. This will help you better advocate and support your child.
  • Don’t neglect your own physical and mental health. Take care of yourself! Get sleep, eat well (avoid the five food felons), and exercise (10,000 steps a day. No excuses!). Try yoga, deep breathing, or other stress-relieving techniques. Get involved in a variety of activities, even ones you and your child can do together.

 

Soon you’ll be the one giving advice about what coping techniques work best!

 

 

 

 

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If your child is newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might be having a difficult time accepting the diagnosis. You may be worried that your child has to take mood-stabilizing medications or angry that your child has to contend with this disorder. Working with your child's doctors, you can establish some good habits that will help you and your child learn to live with bipolar disorder and manage the treatment effectively. The first step is to learn all about bipolar disorder, the different moods and mood triggers that may affect your child. Then learn about how the disorder is treated with mood-stabilizing medications, and their benefits, side effects and potential risks. It is also very helpful to join a support group for parents of children with bipolar disorder. Meeting other moms and dads who also have a child with the disorder and discovering how they cope with the challenges of living with it day to day, can provide you with invaluable tools for managing whatever comes up. You can learn from their experiences and share compassion and support with one another. It is also helpful if you find healthy and creative outlets for you and your child. You might start a new hobby together, or take a parent-child exercise class at the local Y. These kinds of activities help you and your child bond in ways that do not involve doctor visits and medications.

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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.