Growing up with Cerebral Palsy

Children who have cerebral palsy cannot always count on having a “normal” life in many regards. The first thing they always face as a challenge is mobility. Even if they have excellent mobility most of the time, many cerebral palsy sufferers suffer from debilitating muscle spasms from time to time. People with cerebral palsy can live rich, fulfilling lives. Growing up, however, can be difficult for several reasons.

Cerebral Palsy

One of the risks that anybody with mobility impairments has is becoming isolated. It’s simply harder to get around if you have mobility impairment. If your child requires a wheelchair to get around but enjoys spending time with their friends, it’s easy to see how the mobility impairment could become a problem at a certain point. When your child’s friends all start getting driver’s licenses, they may not be able to take your child out with them because of not having room to stash the wheelchair in transit. This is why mobility vans are oftentimes among the first purchases when people have a child with cerebral palsy.

In some cases, people with cerebral palsy need some extra assistance in school. Sometimes, people with cerebral palsy attend normal classes like everyone else. There are quite a few people with cerebral palsy who do very well at school but who have difficulty with one subject or another. You may have to accommodate this by paying for tutors or extra classes. This can be somewhat isolating, as well.

The most severe cases of cerebral palsy are very debilitating. It may be almost impossible for your child to do anything on their own. For people with cerebral palsy, the most difficult tasks are oftentimes those that require the most developed muscle coordination. For example, opening a door can be exceptionally difficult if you can’t get your arms to stop shaking every time you try to grasp the knob. This is an example of what quite a few cerebral palsy sufferers have to deal with in terms of negotiating everyday life.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a cluster of brain disorders that affect an individual’s ability to move, balance, and control posture, muscles, and reflexes. It results from impaired brain development during pregnancy or soon after birth. Those afflicted with cerebral palsy experience its effects and severity differently. Muscles may be weak or stiff. Many cerebral palsy persons experience tremors or unpredictable or uncontrollable reflexes and muscle movements. They may also be visually, hearing, or speech impaired. Severe cases may also have trouble breathing and swallowing, which leads to eating, digestive, and dental problems.

Medical advancements have enabled individuals with cerebral palsy to live well into adulthood. However, there appears to be a limited commitment to help physically disabled adults obtain maximum mental and physical health and well-being. As a result, those with cerebral palsy tend to experience high levels of social and emotional distress as well as physiological challenges.

Social Effects

Cerebral palsy affects one’s mobility and ability to effectively communicate. As a result, cerebral palsy individuals tend to be socially and professionally limited. Employment, marriage, and living independently are viable options only for those with mild cerebral palsy.

Inclusion is important to mitigate feelings of isolationloneliness, and depression. Having a disability does not eliminate the need to be accepted and respected by one’s peers. Cerebral palsy adults may be encouraged to join groups or socialize with individuals their age that have similar disabilities or who do not normally participate in physical activities. Organized crafts, recreational activities, and events aid socialization. Psychologists and behavioral or developmental specialists are often consulted to assist with socialization needs.

Emotional Effects

Aggressiveness, hyperactivity, belligerence, withdrawal, or fearfulness are signs the cerebral palsy individual is having difficulty adjusting to their surroundings or to others. They may act frustrated, mad, or sad. This may be due to painful physical maladies associated with their CP (i.e.: poor sleep, scoliosis, acid-reflux, skin irritations, etc.). This acting-out may also be due to feelings of low self esteem or a negative self-imageAttentiveness to these signs of distressanxiety, and depression provides the impetus for early mental health intervention.

Comprehensive care must include mental health observation and support in addition to customary medical and physical care. Helping the cerebral palsy adult adapt to their disability and/or limitations can help improve mood.

Psychological Effects

Fifty percent of cerebral palsy individuals have a learning disability. The degree of learning disability depends on which area of the brain is damaged. Approximately one-third of individuals with cerebral palsy have moderate-to-severe intellectual impairment (mental retardation). One-third has mild intellectual impairments. One-third shows no signs of cognitive impairment.

More adults with cerebral palsy are furthering their education and entering into the workforce due to advancements in medical treatment, ADA and educational accommodations, and adult cerebral palsy support services. Ensuring physically disabled adults maintain mobility, find inclusion, and have full access to community and adult support services helps ensure they achieve maximum health, well-being, and quality of life.

Winter night Depression

Several things can cause nighttime depression, such as being unable to sleep due to insomnia. Depending on the cause, possible treatments could involve psychotherapy or antidepressant medication.

Depression is a common mental health condition that can lead to low mood and feelings of hopelessness. In some people, these symptoms can worsen at night.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes of nighttime depression, some potential risk factors, and some possible treatment options.


Man on his phone in bed with depression at night
Insomnia and fatigue can be symptoms of depression.

The symptoms of depression include:

  • feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • a persistently low mood
  • irritability
  • loss of interest in hobbies or activities that used to be pleasurable
  • fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • insomnia
  • suicidal thoughts
  • restlessness
  • feelings of isolation
  • feelings of emptiness

At night, some of these symptoms can become worse, making it harder to sleep. In turn, this could worsen insomnia and fatigue the next day, which can further worsen the depression a person in experiencing.

There are also some symptoms of depression that may be harder to spot. Read about them here.


The causes of depression are likely to be a combination of factors relating to genetics and the environment, such as experiencing trauma or chronic stress. It is less clear why these symptoms may worsen at night.

People who experience insomnia as a symptom of depression may feel frustrated about their inability to sleep. The frustration likely peaks at night, when a person is unable to sleep despite feelings of fatigue and exhaustion during the day.

Being unable to sleep could worsen depression symptoms such as irritability or low mood.

It is also possible that the lack of stimulation at night makes it more difficult for someone to distract themselves from their symptoms. This could give rise to rumination.

Rumination is a common feature of several mental health conditions. It occurs when a person repeatedly goes over a negative thought or problem without finding any solution. This can increase feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness.