Bipolar disorder is defined by IDEA as a brain condition that can cause shifts in mood, energy, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. There are around four different types of bipolar disorders that can range from periods of extreme happiness and energy to very hopeless and depressive periods. People with the most aggressive form of bipolar disorder can have manic episodes that are so severe and so lengthy that it requires the individual to be hospitalized.
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The next level of severity in bipolar disorder includes the individuals have patterns of depressive and elated episodes, but extremely aggressive episodes of highs and lows don’t commonly occur. Cyclothymia is the a different level where people have depressive and hypomanic symptoms that can last for periods of up to two years. There can be other bipolar disorders that are related that don’t really meet the above symptoms in the groups listed above but they can still be diagnosed as bipolar.
Bipolar disorder mostly affects the brain by causing periods of extreme highs and lows that can have negative affects on a person’s brain and body. When individuals experience periods of extreme lows it can affect their sleep, memory, decision-making, their eating and drinking habits, and the way the person thinks. There are no real limb or body effects from this disorder, but it does strongly affect the brain and the way people perform in school and cause impulsive decisions. There are a few triggers that can cause episodes in people with bipolar disorder such as changes in sleeping patterns, stress, abuse of alcohol and drugs, financial strains, or sudden deaths or health issues in a family member or loved one. Bipolar disorder can have a lot of different affects when someone is still in school and learning including their short-term memory. This can cause a student to ineffectively complete complex tasks and absorb new information, as well as, making social interactions more difficult. Bipolar symptoms can also hurt a person’s recognition of old information as well as their verbal learning and concentration.
Bipolar disorder can affect a physical education because this disease can affect a student’s eating behaviors, which can cause low energy and limit a student’s ability to participate in physical education. There are also some health related issues such as heart disease, thyroid problems, headaches, and obesity, which can limit the duration and amount of physical activity an individual with bipolar disorder can complete. Some medications can affect student’s limbs by causing tremors, blurred vision, and loss of coordination. If there are certain types of activities that may not be appropriate while students are first figuring out their medications or suffering from these symptoms permanently. Physical education can help improve a student’s bipolar symptoms by helping them lose weight, or reducing the intensity of a headache. Students with bipolar disorder can also suffer from ADHD and participating in an adaptive P.E. class can help ease those symptoms as well. I believe that a para-educator can help a student with bipolar disorder manage symptoms and regulate their medication, but I don’t believe these students would need help participating physical education activities.
There won’t be many modifications that will need to be made to the activities, but the changes might need to come in the duration of the physical education and the amount of exertion within the given amount of time. Allowing the student to participate in an adaptive P.E. class will help the student’s performance in the classroom because it gives them a break from focusing on schoolwork. Students on medication for bipolar disorder may need more water and bathroom breaks and using different forms of instruction for different activities. These students might also needs breaks from activities that require a lot of concentration or large bursts of energy because these can be symptoms of certain medications that students take to treat bipolar disorder.
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