School Supports for Children with Bipolar Disorder

Many children and adolescents with bipolar disorder may benefit from additional supports or accommodations at school. Because bipolar disorder is considered a disability under federal law, some children and adolescents with bipolar disorder may qualify for special education services and be eligible for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Alternatively, children may be eligible to receive accommodations under a Section 504 plan. Because it can be tricky to navigate the special education...

Specific Psychotherapies for Bipolar Disorder

The past decade has brought welcome research attention to how psychotherapy can help in the management of bipolar disorder. To date, three types of psychotherapy have received prominent attention in research studies family-focused therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavior therapy. We want you to know the brand name of these therapies because they may help you identify therapists who have specialized in the treatment of bipolar disorder and who have adopted a treatment style...

Self Guided Care Achieving Goals Using Pacing

The purpose of this form is to help you think through your long-term goals and to formulate a step-by-step plan for achieving them. In addition to helping you identify and arrange the intermediate steps necessary for achieving larger goals, this worksheet is designed to remind you that achieving your goals is a process that unfolds slowly over time. Please identify, for this year, a few goals that seem important to you. Please list these goals and then consider and write down why the goals seem...

Communication Skills

For discussions between family members or members of a support network, it is useful to keep in mind a gardener's tip It pays to water the flowers not the weeds. This tip underscores the importance of paying attention to what is working in your relationships, not what is going wrong. To water the flowers in your relationships you need to make sure that your family members know when they have done something that pleases you (e.g., being considerate, helping at home, etc.). All too often,...

How Does Bipolar Disorder Impact Children

Children with bipolar disorder often experience difficulty at home, at school, and or with peers. Some children with bipolar disorder function well at school but can be very disruptive at home. Because the child's moods and behaviors can be unpredictable, family members may feel stressed and anxious about the child's symptoms. For example, parents will sometimes report that they are walking on eggshells to avoid triggering an emotional explosion. There may also be significant conflict in the...

Managing Irritability and Anger

Feelings of irritability and anger are fundamental symptoms of bipolar disorder that can occur as part of hypomanic, manic, or depressive episodes. When anger and irritability emerge as part of (hypo)mania, they often occur with a sense of internal pressure, including a humming sense of urgency, burden, or sensitivity to comments or actions from others. At times, individuals with bipolar disorder describe these feelings as a need to look for a fight, almost like they are seeking an explanation...

Subtypes of Bipolar Disorder

There are four subtypes of bipolar disorder Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymia, and Bipolar NOS (not otherwise specified). Bipolar I refers to a condition in which patients have experienced one or more episodes of mania (see Table 2.2 for more details). Although you do not need an episode of depression to get a diagnosis of Bipolar I, most people who have Bipolar I experience episodes of both mania and depression. In other words, No, but person feels chronically sad or down No, but person has...

Finding the Correct Dose

Effective treatment depends on finding the correct dose of medication. Finding the right dose for you becomes easier if you take your medications as directed by your doctor and keep him or her informed about your response to the medications. Tables 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 provide frequently used medications are benzodiazepines. These medications include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax, and they are used to help treat All benzodiazepines have the potential to cause physical and psychological...