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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 10/06/08

Does my child have Bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disturbance characterized by episodes of low-energy depression (sadness and hopelessness) and high-energy mania (irritability and explosive temper). Bipolar disorder may affect as many as 1% to 2% of kids. More than 2 million adults have bipolar disorder, which often develops in the late teen years and early adulthood. Research in kids is not comprehensive, but experts believe that kids and teens with bipolar disorder can experience a number of problems, including attention deficit disorders, oppositional behavior disorders, anxiety, and irritability in addition to changes in mood from depression to mania. Pediatric bipolar disorder is difficult to diagnose and is often confused with other disorders, including ADHD. If you suspect that your child is bipolar, contact a pediatric mental health professional immediately. Although Bipolar disorder cannot be cured, it can be managed by therapy and medication.

In the Jewish Community

Due to the private nature of many members of the Jewish community, few are aware that this problem exists in the Jewish community just as often as it does everywhere else. Recently, the stigma of having a mental health problem as lessened and many resources designed specifically for the Jewish community have been developed. It is important for parents to research treatment options and not withhold the necessary treatment from their child, as early intervention can decrease the disorder’s intensity later on in life.

Use the following links to educate yourself about pediatric bipolar disorder. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and find out where to go for help if you suspect that your child has a problem.

Frequently Asked Links

What is bipolar disorder?

Why is bipolar disorder a problem?

How can a child understand bipolar disorder?

When was bipolar disorder in children discovered?

How common is pediatric bipolar disorder and what are its symptoms?

What role do genetics and family history play in pediatric bipolar disorder?

What are some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and Adolescents? more more

Why is pediatric bipolar disorder sometimes confused with ADHD? more

What should I do if I suspect my child is bipolar?

What can I do to help my bipolar child’s teacher help my child?

Is pediatric bipolar disorder curable?

What are the goals of treatment for bipolar disorder?

How is pediatric bipolar disorder treated?

What medications are used to treat bipolar disorder?

What are some of the dangers of using medications to treat pediatric bipolar disorder?

How can parents help in the treatment of bipolar disorder?

Can therapy help children with bipolar disorder?

How does therapy work?

Related Articles

Model IEP (Individual Education Plan)
This model IEP (Individual Education Plan) is the only one constructed specifically for a student struggling with a bipolar disorder. This comprehensive IEP helps parents and educators address all aspects of the illness, the frequently co-occurring executive function deficits, and offers ideas to improve the students' self-esteem and social interaction with their classmates.


By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz


Mental Health Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH offers information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses, and supports research to help those with mental illness.

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
The mission of this group is to educate patients, families, professionals, and the public about depressive and manic-depressive illnesses.

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
This organization offers information, resources, and a community center that includes online support groups.

Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation

The Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation raises and distributes funds for the most promising research into the causes, treatments and prevention of early-onset bipolar disorder. The JBRF is the first charitable foundation devoted solely to support research in childhood-onset bipolar disorder.

Not MY Kid

Not MY Kid, Inc. is dedicated to raising awareness about the most prevalent youth and adolescent mental health and behavioral health issues. Click the link for "Depression" to go to the "Depression and Bipolar Disorder" information page.

Teen New Horizons

Teen New Horizons is committed to teen and family healing. We are a group of families who have experienced the same type of family struggles and issues with their teens that brought you to this website. Our families come from all lifestyles. We are committed to helping families with teens who are struggling in life. This website is designed to help you evaluate your situation and to provide you with one stop comprehensive information about options available to your family and struggling teen.

Parenting Bipolars: A Survival Guide for Parents

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