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Mood Disorder


Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder in which the person experiences disruptive mood swings. The swings encompass a frenzied state, known as mania, alternating with symptoms of depression. Current research suggests that about 4% of people experience some type of characteristic symptoms in their lifetime. Although there does appear to be a genetic link (as high as 42% in monozygotic twins), it is important to note as stated in the "landing" hypothesis, when people who are genetically predisposed toward bipolar disorder experience stressful events, the stress threshold at which mood changes occur becomes progressively lower, until the episodes eventually start (and recur) spontaneously. This stress response is seen in MRI studies at the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Other brain components have been proposed to play a role, including the mitochrondria and ATP pump, causing cyclical periods of polarized neuron firing (depression) and hypersensitive neuron firing (mania).

Jacob's Ladder realizes that finding appropriate educational settings for students diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is a true challenge for families. Our team of professionals creates an educational treatment plan with the emphasis on emotional regulation. Specific tools and interventions are used daily through CBT and DBT helping the student develop means of tolerating distress, staying mindful and present in the moment, modulation and regulation of emotions, and strengthening interpersonal effectiveness. Learning these skills allows the individual student to make healthy decisions and choices and refrain from destructive ways.

Jacob's Ladder also recognizes that the interventions used are no quick fix. We are committed and determined to practice these steps moment by moment, working closely with the family so that the new way of being is generalized to the home.

Students with Mood Disorder would be an ideal candidate for our HOPE School program which offers a unique educational model intended to serve students who have a complex set of social-emotional, neuro-biological, behavioral and academic challenges.