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How You Can Help Your Child

Bring your child to a doctor
It's hard to tell if your child has Bipolar disorder. That's because teenagers can be moody. They can change from being happy to sad very quickly.

If your child has any of the signs of Bipolar disorder for more than a month, bring your child to a doctor right away.

  • Your doctor may do a physical or do some tests.
  • Your doctor may ask your child questions about his personal life.

Your doctor may refer you to a special kind of doctor called a psychiatrist or psychologist. These doctors can find out what is going on with your child. They can:

  • Give your child a diagnosis.
  • Give your child medication.
  • Ask your child to describe his feelings and thoughts.
  • Ask you about your child's behavior.
  • Tell you what he thinks is the problem.

Ask for an interpreter if your child needs one. And ask the doctor to explain things you don't understand.

How Bipolar disorder is treated

If your child has Bipolar disorder, there is help. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, so treatment is ongoing. This means that your child may need the help of counseling and maybe medication for a long time.

An important part of getting treatment for your child with Bipolar disorder is medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. These drugs are called mood stabilizers and antidepressants. These drugs can help your child's mood swings.

  • Ask about the side effects, the problems that may be caused by any drugs your child takes.
  • Ask about the dosage, which is how much medicine your child should take and when.

Many children with Bipolar disorder also get help from a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

  • These people can help you and your child understand more about Bipolar disorder.
  • They can teach your child how to cope with his illness.

You can help your child
If your child has Bipolar disorder, there are things you can do as a parent to help your child:

  • Find out everything you can about Bipolar disorder.
  • Read about Bipolar disorder together.
  • Ask for information from your doctor.
  • Help your child get enough sleep.

When your child is having a manic or depressed episode, be supportive of your child:

  • Try to understand what he is going through.
  • Try not to yell or cry when your child is having an episode.
  • Help him work through it by talking calmly.
  • Do not blame anyone for his illness. Bipolar disorder is not your fault or your child's fault.

Bring your child to a counselor to get help with:

  • Coping skills
  • Family counseling
  • Information
  • Feeling better

Ask your child's teachers for help:

  • Let them know what's going on with him.
  • Let them know how they can help.
  • Ask them if they have ideas to make things better for your child.
  • Ask your child's interpreter for help, too.

Learn more about Bipolar disorder

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NIDCD

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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