Term Paper: Depression-Effects on the Family

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[. . .] They also say that their children seemed different even in early infancy, sleeping erratically, irritable and difficult to settle down for naps and bedtimes. Moreover, mothers described their children as suffering from separation anxiety (Papolos 10). Their children were never more than a few steps away from them and playtime away with playmates and sleepovers with friends proved traumatizing. These children also suffer extreme nightmares, awakening with screams of terror. Often, they can't be awakened and remain in a semiconscious state, all the while continuing to experience the nightmare (Papolos 10). Papolos says "In these individuals, it is as though their unconscious sensors of painful affect are not working, even in their dreams" (Papolos 10). This may help to explain why some bipolar children say socking and even sadistic things during the day to family members, classmates, and teachers (Papolos 11). Moreover, these children have massive fears of death and annihilation, as one mother recalled, "even before she could write, the stories she told her teacher were laced with tragedy" (Papolos 12).

As much as sleep is a nightmare for the child, both nighttime and daytime are a nightmare for the child, the parents and the siblings. Unprovoked rages erupt from the child, perhaps triggered by a simple "no" from a parent. The child often goes into a seizure-like tantrum, kicking, hitting, biting, and screaming, that can last for up to three hours at a time, several times a day. Furthermore, this behavior can continue from early childhood to adolescence if not treated (Papolos 13). Older children tend to punch holes in the walls, crying all the while. Parents describe them as being in trance state, almost feral, like a wild animal. Papolos reports that some parents "haven't bought furniture in years because it all gets broken during one of these 'affective storms'" (Papolos 14).

One parent described life as "walking on eggshells would have been a treat compared to what life was like in our house" (Papolos 14). Another recalled, "He had major raging cycles...for several weeks, raging attacking me, throwing a chair out the window, going through the knife drawer saying he was going to kill me" (Papolos 14). Because parents fear the reality of introducing anything new to them, and because any expectation and request is seen as a stressor, these children become expert at manipulation and "remarkably adept at clamoring for their own" (Papolos 16). Bipolar children and bipolar adults all experience rapid cycles of depression to mania and back again, over and over, until they obtain help from a medical professional (Papolos 16).

Research studies clearly show the relationship between parents who suffer from depression and children with mood disorders. Depression has dramatic effects on family life and the psychological growth of affected children, as well as the psychological health of family members. It is a vicious and tragic cycle that is seldom broken, if ever, without outside help.

Works Cited

Depression and Mania." Merck Manual of Medical Information. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1997;

pp. 438.

Hock, Ellen; Lutz, Wilma J. "Peer rejection in childhood: Effects on maternal depression and behavior problems in toddlers." Journal of Genetic Psychology. June 01, 2001; pp 167. http://ask.elibrary.com/getdoc.asp?pubname=Journal_of_Genetic_Psychology&puburl=http~C~~S~~S~www.heldref.org~S~gnt.html&querydocid=:bigchalk:U.S.;Lib&dtype=0~0&dinst=0&author=Hock%2C+Ellen&title=Peer+rejection+in+childhood%3A++Effects+on+maternal+depression+and+behavior+problems+in+toddlers++&date=06%2D01%2D2001&query=depression%2Deffects+on+the+family&maxdoc=24&idx=19.(accessed 10-26-2002).

Marchand, Jennifer F.; Hock, Ellen. "The relation of problem behaviors in preschool children to depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers." Volume 159. Journal of Genetic Psychology. September 01, 1998; pp 353. http://ask.elibrary.com/getdoc.asp?pubname=Journal_of_Genetic_Psychology&puburl=http~C~~S~~S~www.heldref.org~S~gnt.html&querydocid=:bigchalk:U.S.;Lib&dtype=0~0&dinst=0&author=Marchand%2C+Jennifer+F%2E&title=The+relation+of+problem+behaviors+in+preschool+children+to+depressivesymptoms+in+mothers+and+fathers%2E++&date=09%2D01%2D1998&query=depression%2Deffects+on+the+family&maxdoc=24&idx=17.(accessed 10-27-2002).

Papolos, Demitri F.; Papolos, Janice. The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder. Broadway Books. December 1999; pp.7, 10,

Papolos, Demitri F.; Papolos, Janice. Overcoming Depression. Harper Collins. February 1997;

pp. 3, 4, 5. [END OF PREVIEW]

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