Children of Bipolar Parents Display Risky Sexual Behavior

risky sexual behaviorBipolar disorder (BD) is a serious psychological disorder that is characterized by dramatic mood shifts that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania.[1] Racing thoughts, the decreased need for sleep, profound lows, and feelings of despair are common.1 Much attention has focused on BD as it is associated with an increased risk of suicide, substance abuse, hypersexuality, familial discord, and aggressive behavior.1 Previous research has shown that children of parents with BD are at a greater risk of developing psychiatric disorders; however, the psychosocial implications of being raised by parents with BD has historically been ignored.1

Therefore, a new study conducted by researchers from Concordia University investigated this, finding that children of parents with BD are more susceptible to psychosocial problems, especially risky sexual behavior.1

“Risky sexual behavior falls along the spectrum of general externalizing behaviors, like delinquency and aggression,” said psychology professor Dr. Mark Ellenbogen. “We know it is predicted by externalizing behaviors in middle childhood.”1

To prevent the children of parents with BD from engaging in risky behavior, psychiatrists need to look beyond the patient and at the entire family.1

“In psychiatry, we tend to treat the patient—there’s never any evaluation of their family or kids or partners,” said Ellenbogen. “Across my career, I’ve been saying that’s the wrong way of looking at the issues. The children of BD patients are at high risk of developing a number of psychiatric and psychosocial problems. We need to think about interventions that will work for all members of the family.”1

Ellenbogen is currently working to establish the first prevention program for children of parents with BD, called Reducing Unwanted Stress in the Home (RUSH).1 RUSH will consist of 12 sessions of group therapy, with one group to teach children effective coping strategies and another to teach their parents the skills to manage stress, family discord, and children.1 The pilot program will launch this summer.1

“These parents need additional help in organizing family life, parenting, dealing with spouses, and coping with stress,” said Ellenbogen. “The ultimate goal is to reduce the levels of stress in the family, which we believe will then reduce negative outcomes in their children.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Kids of Bipolar Parents May Display Risky Sexual Behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/11/kids-of-bipolar-parents-may-display-risky-sexual-behavior/71114.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are the only facility in Florida owned and operated by an addiction psychiatrist involved in all treatment decisions. Learn more
Hello. Add your message here.