The Bipolar Child Blog

Research studies carried out with the support of the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation have resulted in the identification of a specific subtype of pediatric bipolar disorder termed Fear of Harm that is estimated to affect at least 1/3rd of children diagnosed in the community with the condition (Bipolar Child Newsletters and Journal of Affective Disorders imgres).

This work has lead to some remarkable new insights into this condition; a clear definition of the condition that is easily identifiable (see Child Bipolar Questionnaire), a physiological marker that is associated with some deficit in thermoregulation imgres, and somatic treatments that have dramatic and enduring effects on the illness.

This blog will be devoted to the experience of parents and their children diagnosed with this subtype of the disorder.

Child Response – Case 3

Before the Miracle (Ketamine) Before starting this miracle medicine, I had no idea what I was missing. I was afraid of everything that my mind could make seem like it was a threat. I had uncontrollable heat flashes, trust issues, sleep issues. My family actually thought I was at the top of the climb, doing…


FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real: A Poster Child for the Fear of Harm Subtype

When Johnny was born the nurses in the hospital appropriately nicknamed him “The Screamer”. Johnny continued to scream all day and night until the end of his second year; when he finally slept six hours without a tantrum or a night terror for the first time. Johnny would fight to get dressed, fight to stay dressed, fight to be held and fight to be left alone. We would spend hours trying to console him and took daily car rides in hope of a small nap to offer us all a moment’s relief. Naptime was when he practiced rocking his crib clear across his room, in a fit of rage. He was afraid to be alone even in the daylight and terrified of the night.  It was impossible to leave him with a babysitter and almost impossible for his parents to maintain composure alone with him. As time progressed, his newer nickname became “Johnny Rotten”; it was our sleep-deprived way of using humor to maintain our sanity. That same year we found ourselves at Yale begging for help from the most sought after physicians. How could a child this young be so difficult, act so threatened? As the night terrors continued so did the violent episodes. His tantrums lasted for hours and were accompanied with biting, scratching and throwing of objects.  He would attack his family members regularly and fight to be restrained.