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Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens - Treatment Overview

Mood changes and other symptoms of bipolar disorder are challenging, but they can be managed effectively. Treatment usually includes medicines (such as mood stabilizers) and counseling. Often a combination of both is needed.

Medicine

An important part of treatment is making sure your child takes his or her bipolar medicine. Often people who feel better after taking their medicine for a while think they are cured and no longer need treatment. But when a person stops taking medicine, symptoms usually return. So it is important that your child follow the treatment plan.

Counseling

Counseling works best when symptoms of bipolar disorder are controlled with medicines. For more information on the types of counseling used to treat bipolar disorder, see Other Treatment.

Home treatment

Home treatment includes helping your child get regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, and have a regular sleep schedule. For more information, see Home Treatment.

Hospital treatment

If your child's behavior is suicidal, aggressive, reckless, or dangerous, or if he or she is out of touch with reality (psychotic) or unable to function, the child may need to go into the hospital for a while. Also, many medicines can make the symptoms of bipolar disorder worse. If your child is taking one of these, he or she may need to taper off and stop the medicine. This should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.

Impact on the family

Bipolar disorder has a big impact on both the child and his or her family. Successful treatment requires that the child and family members know what happens in bipolar disorder and that the family members help make sure that the child follows the treatment.

It can take time for you and your child to accept that the child has a serious, long-term condition that requires ongoing treatment and constant monitoring. But keep in mind that by working with your child's doctor, you and your child can find treatment that works.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 23, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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