All about bipolar disorder in teens

The specific cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. However, it does run in families. As a result, it may be inherited in some situations.

All about bipolar disorder in teens
 Sometimes teens with bipolar disorder feel very sad or “down” and are much less active than usual.

Does your teen go through cycles of extreme highs and lows more often than other teens? Do these mood changes affect how your teen acts at school or at home?

Did you know that although bipolar disorder is more prevalent in young adults, it can manifest in children as early as six years old? 

What exactly is adolescent bipolar disorder?

Depression is a form of bipolar disorder. Depression is classified into three types:

  • Major depressive disorder (clinical depression)
  • Manic-depressive illness (manic depression)
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) (dysthymia)

A teen with bipolar disorder frequently experiences significant mood fluctuations. These mood swings go beyond the regular ups and downs of the day. A teen may have periods of tremendous joy, happiness, heightened mood, or irritation. This is referred to as mania. These moments are balanced by bouts of profound depression. 

Which adolescent groups are at risk for bipolar disorder?

If a teen’s family member has bipolar disorder, he or she is more likely to get it as well. Researchers are still searching for the gene or genes that may be responsible for the illness.

The disorder usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood. It has an equal impact on both boys and girls. Girls, on the other hand, tend to exhibit greater signs of despair.

What are the signs of bipolar disorder in an adolescent?

Teens with bipolar disorder frequently experience abnormal mood swings. They alternate between states of despair and mania. These outbursts usually last a week or two. However, each teen’s symptoms may differ.

Symptoms may include:

  • Despair, helplessness, and guilt 
  • Self-esteem issues
  • A sense of not being good enough
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Relationship problems
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions
  • Headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue
  • Running away or threatening to run away from home
  • Feelings of failure or rejection
  • Angry, hostile, or aggressive feelings

How is a teen’s bipolar condition diagnosed?

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to detect. This is due to the fact that it may resemble other health issues, such as depression. To be diagnosed with bipolar illness, a teen must exhibit both depressive and manic symptoms to variable degrees.

A mental health professional will inquire about your teen’s medical history and symptoms. Before making a diagnosis, he or she will do a mental health evaluation.

How is adolescent bipolar disorder treated?

The treatment will be determined by your teen’s symptoms, age, and overall health. It will also be determined by the severity of the ailment.

Treatment can often aid in the recovery of a teen suffering from bipolar disorder. However, it will take time. One or more of the following treatments may be used:

  • Antidepressants or mood-stabilising medications
  • Therapy through conversation (psychotherapy)
  • Family counselling

What are the potential consequences of bipolar disorder in a teen?

Teens with bipolar disorder are more likely to experience other issues. These are some examples:

  • Abuse of substances
  • ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Problems with behaviour and conduct
  • Suicidal ideation

Knowing the risk factors for bipolar illness, detecting it early, and seeking professional care for your teen can help alleviate symptoms and enhance their quality of life.

How can I assist my adolescent in dealing with bipolar disorder?

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, your teen’s symptoms will improve over time. Being supportive and patient might be beneficial. Here are some things you can do to assist:

  1. Maintain all appointments with your teen’s medical practitioner.
  2. As needed, participate in family counselling.
  3. Your adolescent may be treated by a team that includes school personnel, counsellors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your teen’s care team will be determined by his or her needs and the severity of the depression.
  4. Inform others about your adolescent’s bipolar disorder. Create a treatment plan with your teen’s healthcare physician and schools.
  5. Speak up for help. Contacting other parents who have a teen with bipolar disorder may be beneficial. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, speak with your teen’s healthcare practitioner about joining a support group for carers of people with bipolar disorder.
  6. Take all signs of sadness, mania, and suicidal ideation extremely seriously. Seek treatment as soon as possible. Suicide is a public health crisis. For further information, speak with your teen’s healthcare professional. Learn who to contact and what to do if your kid is having suicidal thoughts. Prepare an emergency plan.