55. SEX AND ADDICTIONS: Did You Know That Childhood Stress Can Cause Bi-Polar Disorder And ADHD?
What Is Bi-Polar Disorder or ADHD?
My previous Blog was about Depression, and this Blog is about Manic Depression or the more well-known description, namely Bi-Polar Disorder as well as ADHD.
Bi-Polar Disorder is slightly different, because it involves a roller coaster swing of emotions that can range from some people feeling massively energetic, effervescent and bubbling over with enthusiasm versus slumping into a depressed heap or paralysis.
The emotional mood swings are not clearly understood however often factors include a history of emotional trauma, child abuse or long-term stress.
The condition is usually divided into either ‘bipolar 1 disorder’, if there has been at least one manic episode or ‘bipolar 2 disorder’, if there have been a manic and as well as hypomanic episodes.
Treatment usually includes therapy and usually medications, mood stabilisers and antipsychotics.
There has been a vague indication that Bi-Polar Disorder or ADHD might be genetic. This has certainly not been proven. And if you think about it, how is it that suddenly and out of the blue, we suddenly have a massive predominance of these symptoms, symptoms which occur due to stress within a society versus no stress within another! And in any case, DNA or genetics does not change that quickly from one generation to another. Whereas tons of research point the environment children grow up in.
Anyone with bi-polar disorder or ADHD tends to be holding onto something.
Often without realising, they seem to ooze a stubborn deep-seated anger within their body which can be understood via their body language or how they communicate. This is not easy to detect. You would have to know the person rather well in order to sense and comprehend their attitude or demeanour.
It’s almost as if they have placed a shell of protection around themselves as a silent warning to anyone who comes close. It’s like a silent warning to anyone who ever tries to disarm them of their carapace, which most probably has taken years to create.
This emotional protective mechanism often arises as a child learns to shield and cushion themselves against any traumatic event, loss or trauma they may have experienced.
But, in childhood this defence mechanism might keep a child emotionally safe, however in adulthood – this same defensive mechanism may start getting in the way. Long-term relationships, friendships and careers may become hard to achieve.
What we learn in childhood may not serve it’s purpose in adulthood.
It is therefore crucial to help anyone struggling with an emotional armour to help them find ways of releasing their protective shell which may no longer be required.
And finding out why that carapace was put there in the first place, may be daunting and very frightening for some, however releasing what has been carried for so many years can come as a huge relief and many report that the journey of self-discovery is absolutely worth it.
The Root Causes of Bi-Polar Disorder and ADHD That Is Often Ignored.
The large extended family is becoming extinct in the West. It is been replaced by smaller nuclear families. Gone are huge supportive families with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents.
What we now see are parents, even single parents, stressed, trying to earn a living and trying to parent their children. Maternity leave is a mere 6 weeks. Nannies are in demand and nurseries are often full up – and these services come at a price, creating even more financial stress. And then when parents do come home after a long day, often they have more work to do, things to arrange and so on.
It is no wonder that children – absorbing and living in this type of stress are themselves becoming stressed.
The emotional needs, the nurturing and the attention a child requires is being narrowed down.
And the majority of schools have classes of up to over 30 pupils per class. So children are getting less and less attention.
As adults we often forget that a child’s brain is still developing. They can’t cope with the type of stress that adults can endure.
Children’s brains and their emotional developments often take 20 years of careful nurturing and attending to. And this starts with the bonding and attachment of a child to its mother and its father.
If this attachment is broken for whatever reason, the child may undergo emotional stress.
This can happen in all sorts of circumstances: A mother can suffer from post-natal depression, or she might have to return to work early, or the parents might separate or divorce, or there might be a death or a loss of a parent and so on.
Any child absorbing this stress, but without the necessary language to articulate their predicament, can begin to act out their inner stress and trauma. And this they can do in many ways. They can bully, they can get depressed, they can self-harm, they can become aggressive but non-functioning and the list goes on.
And on top of the stress that they may feel, if they have also experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse or any type of trauma, then how they act this out, could deeply affect their emotional lives, their school work and so on.
However trauma is not what happens to us – it’s what happens inside of us.
Often when children especially are too stressed and possibly even worried, they tune out. They become forgetful or absent-minded and irresponsible. This is due, not to anything other than their brains trying to cope.
Unfortunately, instead of trying to understand we medicate.
Millions of children are now being labelled as having ADHD and are being medicated – rather than being helped emotionally and psychologically. This only suppresses the problem.
I my Blog 54 I wrote that , ‘Unaddressed and buried childhood stress and trauma have a tendency to rear their ugly heads in adulthood – often when we least expect them to and how they do this, often comes as a surprise’.
So isn’t better that rather than waiting until a child reaches adulthood, that parents work on their attachment relationships with their children so as to prevent the anxiety and worry that a child may experience as they grow and develop?
Sure it may be easier to medicate – but this means we are walking our kids into a massive problem that they may have to deal with, later on in their lives.
However, this is not to blame parents in any way. The situation and lifestyle we are all now leading, is very different to the lives our parent’s lived. All parents do their best under whatever circumstances. But a nudge in the right direction won’t do anyone any harm.
It is therefore crucial that parents bond with their children. It also crucial that whatever happens a child is never told or left to think that whatever happened was their fault or that they were responsible. This could create massive guilt and self-worth issues later on in life. And if a child holds onto the idea that they were indeed at fault, they could create all sorts of punishment techniques that I have already written about in earlier blogs.
How a parent bonds with a child in the first year of it’s life will determine a child’s relationships and career success later on in life. How a child continues to bond with parents will determine how effectively a child develops.
Knowing this is one thing, but for those who are already adults and suffering, remember that trying to suppress emotions is practically futile. The emotions will always rear the ugly heads some way or the other – and often when we least expect them to.
And when we don’t listen to our bodies we can get ill – depressed and anxious.
But sometimes people get so used to their ‘illness’, their depression or anxiety, that they become addicted to their own stress.
Generating more stress just feels normal and if they don’t get their daily dose, they could get withdrawal symptoms.
This can go on and on – until one day the body says enough is enough. The trick is not to leave it until it’s too late. Listen to your body. It often tells us a lot more than we realise.
Treatment For Bi-Polar Disorder And ADHD.
Doctors can prescribe medication that can help alleviate the feelings leading to stress and anxiety. This is usually offered as a solution. Medication can help many cope better – for a certain time anyway.
Unfortunately, this solution often puts a kind of symbolic bandage over the problem.
Medication can offer relief – however if the underlying issues are not addressed or confronted then the manic depression may continue.
I also suggest that therapy is sought and that the therapist helps a client or patient understand their armour and why they needed to create it in the first instance. Understanding this is crucial to helping a client see why they no longer need to use this defence mechanism.
This way they may be helped to make better choices to suit their life goals.
Yoga and Health.
Yoga or any form of exercise can also help moderate the emotional body whilst working on the physical body. Yoga is known to help people with all sorts of disorders especially anxiety. It can help people cope better and although it is certainly doesn’t solve every problem, it does help calm the body, giving people a grace and a new self-worth.
It is good to remember that how we bond with our children is important for their emotional growth. It is also important to recognise that children cope with stress differently. Their brains are still developing and how they cope with trauma will determine their adult lives.
However, if for whatever reason they managed to build a protective wall around themselves, helping them unlock the carapace and helping them release the feelings they have suppressed is crucial for self-awareness and emotional growth.
Not all problems are linked to abuse and trauma though. But usually some hurt often sits in the centre of all emotional issues. The wound may not be as deep and the ache may not as dreadful, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there, nevertheless.
The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, ‘In Life one is condemned to live life forwards and to understand it backwards’.
But as Carl Jung once said, ‘Insight is not enough. It has to lead to endurance and action’.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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