About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 15, 17 and 19, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.
How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?
I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A New Approach to Diagnosing Early Onset Bipolar Disorder: Fear of Harm Syndrome
I came across this article just recently when I was browsing the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation website. A group of researchers, including Dr. Demitri Papolos who wrote the "bible" about childhood bipolar disorder (The Bipolar Child), has come to define a new "phenotype" of bipolar disorder in kids, particularly in the most severe forms. They feel that the present DSM description of bipolar disorder in children does not exactly fit what they feel is an underlying disorder, which they have named "Fear of Harm Syndrome." Now, I am not going to go into the full explanation of this article with all of its fine points because this article is not in easy to understand language, but in very technical language as they are speaking to the world of psychiatry. So I will refer you to the article itself so that you can read it several times, like I needed to, in order to grasp what they are saying. This Fear of Harm phenotype describes many of our kids better, apparently, than the present DSM IV categories. You can find this research summary at www.jbrf.org/research/phenotype.html. I am just glad that research continues towards the goal of eventually finding a cure. Please support JBRF and CABF, and NAMI if you can as they are the beacons of light in the dark world of mental illness.
Posted by Megan at 8:32 PM