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Is it bipolar? May 18, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis, Resources.
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If you are concerned that your child may have bipolar, or if you are not sure, The Bipolar Child – What to Look For is a great article to read. It talks about how closely related bipolar and ADHD are in children but lists a few distinguishing criteria:

  • ADHD kids break things carelessly while bipolar kids tend to do so in anger.
  • ADHD kids calm down in 20 to 30 minutes while bipolar kids tend to rage for hours.
  • Children with ADHD are triggered by overstimulation while bipolar children typically react to limit-setting, such as a parental “no”.
  • ADHD children are often unaware of the danger of their behavior, while bipolar children tend to be risk-seeking.

I would highly encourage you to read the full article.


Children’s books on Bipolar Disorder (part 2) April 26, 2008

Posted by linnic in Resources.
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As I said before I was on the lookout for resources to read to my children about Bipolar Disorder. I found another book that they loved and understood.

Written by Bryna Herbert, this book is told from the perspective of a little boy with bipolar disorder. Robert, the boy, shares with readers what the emotions associated with the disorder feel like and strategies he has learned from doctors on ways to cope. My two oldest (5 and 8) were able to understand the book, so I would say it is suited well for elementary aged kiddos.

ADHD vs. Bipolar April 25, 2008

Posted by linnic in behavior, Diagnosis, Resources.
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I just found a great article discussing the similarities and differences between bipolar disorder and ADHD in children. I have included an excerpt from the article below. Visit http://www.adhdnews.com/bipolar.htm for the full article. I simply can not believe how well some of this describes my little guy!

By Dr. Charles Popper


Both disorders share many characteristics: impulsivity, inattention, hyperactivity, physical energy, behavioral and emotional lability (behavior and emotions change frequently), frequent coexistence of conduct disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder, and learning problems. Motor restlessness during sleep may be seen in both (children who are bipolar are physically restless at night when “high or manic”,though they may have little physical motion during sleep when “low or depressed”). Family histories in both conditions often include mood disorder. Psychostimulants or antidepressants can help in both disorders (that is, depending on the phase of the bipolar disorder). In view of the similarities, it is not surprising that the disorders are hard to tell apart.


So what features can help in distinguishing these two disorders? Some distinctions are obvious.

1. Destructiveness may be seen in both disorders but differs in origin. Children who are ADHD often break things carelessly while playing (“non-angry destructiveness”), whereas the major destructiveness of children who are bipolar is not a result of carelessness, but tends to occur in anger. Children who are bipolar may exhibit severe temper tantrums, during which they release manic quantities of physical and emotional energy, sometimes with violence and property destruction.

2. The duration and intensity of angry outbursts and temper tantrums in the two disorders differs. Children who are ADHD usually calm down within 20-30 minutes, whereas children who are bipolar may continue to feel and act angry for over 30 minutes and even for 2-4 hours. The physical energy that a child with ADHD “puts out” during an outburst of anger could be mimicked by an adult who tries to “enact” the tantrum, whereas the energy generated by angry children who are bipolar could not be imitated by most adults without reaching exhaustion within a few minutes.

Copyright adhdnews.com

Biploar Children April 5, 2008

Posted by linnic in Diagnosis, Resources.
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When we got the diagnosis for our son last October of Bipolar Mood Disorder, I didn’t know what to think.  Was this just another label to add to list or was this accurate?  I began doing some research and everything I read seemed to describe my son perfectly.  During that research, I ran across one of the best on managing the often erratic, and unexplainable behaviors associated with the disorder.  Julie Ward is the author of the article “Techniques for Dealing with the Bipolar Child”  The article lists the mood, symptom, signs, and techniques associated with various behaviors.

Children’s Books on Bipolar April 3, 2008

Posted by linnic in Resources.
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My son is beginning to get to the age where he notices things are different for him than for other kids.  I decided to find a few books that will hopefully help him understand and cope.  So far, I have only found one book, they seem to be hard to find.
Brandon and the Bipolar Bear by Tracy Anglada is an excellent book for children.  It explains a hard to understand illness in a way that both children and parents can understand.  Not only did I read this to my son, but my daughter as well.  It helped her to understand what her brother is going through.

I am still on the look out for good children’s books on bipolar, ADHD, and mood disorders.  Please share if you have found a good resource.