Bipolar Kids: Seven Places Parents Can Get Help

What do you do if you have a third grader who runs into traffic, saying he doesn’t want to live, just because he doesn’t get his way? Although it’s still a controversial diagnosis, some experts say that outbursts such as that, when accompanied with other symptoms, might be a sign of bipolar disorder, according to a heartwrenching article in the Sept. 14 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

In the article, this child’s raging fits of anger and extreme aggression made school nearly impossible, and after trying a series of medications, the family finally put the child, who is now a fifth grader, on lithium.

As a parent, it’s difficult even to contemplate putting a child on antipsychotic drugs, which can have serious side effects (and often haven’t been tested or FDA-approved for children.) It’s even worse if experts don’t agree on exactly what symptoms warrant treatment or how common the disorder is in children.

Either way, parents who have children with abnormally aggressive or violent behavior—toward themselves or others—need help in the doctor’s office and beyond.

Next page: Seven places to go for help

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