Parents know all too well the out-of-control behaviors of children with bipolar and the accompanying obsession for starchy and sweet foods. It’s sometimes near impossible to satisfy a child who has slipped into mission mode and will stop at nothing for some mashed potatoes. What’s going on? Here are five reasons for the carb compulsion:
#1 The powerful brain
Our bodies naturally produce powerful brain neuropeptides and hormones that regulate certain cravings. One of these chemicals, neuropeptide Y (NPY), instantly sparks our appetite for complex carbohydrates. Serum glucose levels rise and incites consequent rapid decreases and this drop initiates intense carb cravings. These cycles of craving and overindulgence are easily switched on in children already biologically primed for such cycles.
#2 Denial and deprivation
The nature of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents is a low threshold for anxiety, says Demitri Papolos MD. This can then cause an overreaction to real or perceived stressful events such as deprivation, loss, rejection, and humiliation, even hearing the simple word “No!” … children and adolescents with bipolar disorder often have rigid and inflexible thinking.”
#3 Appetite dysregulation
This fixation for something starchy or sweet leads to behaviors that are symptoms of appetite dysregulation “that may help to define one aspect of the core syndrome of bipolar disorder in childhood,” explains Papolos. Those behaviors, he adds, include foraging (going after and finding the food), binging and hoarding.
#4 Medication-induced hunger
Unfortunately, many children are sensitive to the weight-gain effects of mood stabilizing drugs and atypical antipsychotics. Some medications cause severe insatiable hunger—add to that the cravings for something known to cause weight gain; it’s a recipe for a vicious circle. Conversely, there are some meds that can act as an appetite suppressant.
#5 A fast-food nation
The extreme urges for carbohydrate-dense food become that much more difficult to control when these fast foods are so widely available…on every street corner or in the school cafeteria. And when the child watches television, an insatiable switch gets turned on every time a commercial shows sugary cereals, cookies and ice cream—which is often.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community