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Bipolar Disorder in Children

A disturbingly high number of children in America have mental health issues and are misdiagnosed. It is very important to pay close attention to your children’s behaviors and seek professional help if you have any questions. The causes and treatments for mental health issues vary, therefore getting a proper diagnosis is essential. If you know a child with Bipolar Disorder, there are many symptoms, and knowing how to help them when experiencing a manic episode can be lifesaving. My granddaughter was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the tender age of twelve years old and I also have this mental health disorder.

The term “bipolar” came from putting together the Latin roots bi, meaning two and polus, which pertains to a geographical pole, like the North and South Pole. Thus, bipolar means two poles or two extremes in mood or behavior. A Greek physician named Arataeus of Cappadocia from the second century A.D. was the first person to recognize symptoms of bipolar disorder. Arataeus’s observations of patient’s mood swing symptoms are what are now known as bipolar disorder. He wrote, “The patients are dull or stern; dejected or unreasonably torpid (sluggish), without any manifest cause.” (The Everything, p. 2) Later in history, scientist Richard Burton published his book “The Anatomy of Melancholia (1650), which gave Arataeus’s work widespread recognition. Burtons work became a standard reference in the mental health field and he was regarded as the “father of depression.” (The Everything, p. 2) French doctor Jean Pierre Falret linked suicide and depression in 1854 and distinguished his patients’ periods of depression from their exacerbated moods, giving rise to the term “bipolar.” Falret also recognized the tendency for these moods to run in families and this inspired continued research into the twentieth century. There was an article in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorder in 1952 that stated manic-depression could...