6 doctors weighed in:

How do you explain to your child that he has a bipolar disorder?

6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Glen Elliott
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
4 doctors agree

In brief: Talk behavior not dx

Labels such as bipolar disorder are useful shorthand but convey little information, especially for children.
Simple, age-appropriate descriptions of the problem--e.g., "you get upset really easily, " you get so mad that you break things or try to hurt yourself"--are far more likely to get your child on board with the treatment plan of "we want to help with that." diagnosis can wait till later.

In brief: Talk behavior not dx

Labels such as bipolar disorder are useful shorthand but convey little information, especially for children.
Simple, age-appropriate descriptions of the problem--e.g., "you get upset really easily, " you get so mad that you break things or try to hurt yourself"--are far more likely to get your child on board with the treatment plan of "we want to help with that." diagnosis can wait till later.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Dr. Glen Elliott
Thank
Dr. John Moranville
Psychiatry
2 doctors agree

In brief: Depends on the age

The most important thing is to let him know he is not alone.
He needs to know there are many other people with this diagnosis and that he can go on to be whatever he wants to be in spite of his illness. There are many people with bipolar disorder who function very well if they are seen regularly by a psychiatrist and compliant with medications. He also needs to know it is a life-long illness.

In brief: Depends on the age

The most important thing is to let him know he is not alone.
He needs to know there are many other people with this diagnosis and that he can go on to be whatever he wants to be in spite of his illness. There are many people with bipolar disorder who function very well if they are seen regularly by a psychiatrist and compliant with medications. He also needs to know it is a life-long illness.
Dr. John Moranville
Dr. John Moranville
Thank
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