In Adolescents With Bipolar Disorder, Dr. David J. Miklowitz demonstrates a family-oriented approach to working with young clients with this diagnosis. Bipolar disorder manifests itself in drastic emotional highs and lows: People cycle between feeling elated and full of energy to states of severe depression. Diagnosing adolescents with this disorder can be especially difficult.
A family-oriented approach to working with this population involves examining the client's family context and how it affects the disorder, and how the disorder affects the family. Treatment often involves psychoeducation, working with the client's doctor or psychiatrist to adjust medication, and helping resolve family tensions that might exacerbate the client's symptoms through communication and problem-solving skills training.
In this session, Dr. Miklowitz works with a 17-year-old girl with both bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who has a history of self-harm. After assessing her family system and her other supports, Dr. Miklowitz helps the client identify the tools she has available to her for handling the different stages of her bipolar cycle.