Having a trusted and respected professional diagnose your teenager with Bipolar Disorder can be extremely disheartening. Even when the condition is suspected and entirely accepted, those words on paper can very daunting. Fear and anxiety of what the future holds can easily take root. Being proactive in this situation not only helps your teen, it helps yourself.
Educate Yourself On The Finer Points of the Disorder
Ask your mental health professional for recommendations of books on Bipolar Disorder. Read the books from cover to cover and then seek out more information. The more you understand about this mental illness, the more prepared you can be on how to effectively deal with your teen. Individuals with this disorder think in a unique way in many areas. That is just science. Their brains work quite differently than those who do not suffer from this illness. Combine this unique way of assessing and processing day to day situations and interactions with teenage hormones and it can create quite the perfect storm. Without the sensitivity and compassion for this potentially volatile situation, each and every day can be a breeding ground for chaos.
Work Out a Plan For Medication
Medications can do a great deal as far as stabilizing a Bipolar teenager’s moods and behaviors. The process can be very hit and miss. Not only is there a wide range of medicines available, the dosages can also cover a wide span. The laws about medicating a child if they choose not to be, varies from state to state. It is absolutely a medical plan that has to be worked out between the teenager, the parents and the medical professional recommending the treatment.
Seek Out a Support Group
Don’t be ashamed to share your teenager’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, mental illness still carries a stigma in our society. While it seems perfectly acceptable to share your child’s diagnosis of Diabetes or Kidney Disease, parents often balk at sharing the fact that their child suffers from a mental illness. The brain is an organ like any else and it can often function differently than the majority. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Parents with children who suffer from mental illness need support and caring, but it can’t be given if those closest to the family aren’t made aware.
A period of grieving after having your teenager diagnosed is perfectly acceptable. It is quite saddening to realize that your child has an illness that he or she will struggle with for the rest of their lives. Allow yourself that specific period to grieve so that you can get it out of your system and soon regain your strength to help your child fight for a relatively normal life.