5 Warnings Signs that your teen might be Suffering from Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder also known as manic-depressive disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis associated by unusual change in mood (called mood episodes), activity, sleep, behavior and energy levels.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that at least half of the people with a bipolar disorder case begins at the age of 25. About 1% of all teens ages 14 to 18 are affected by bipolar disorder as well. In addition, having bipolar disorder is more present in adolescence than it is in adulthood. But still there are those who start showing symptoms as a child or even develops the disorder later in life.
A person will find it difficult to spot bipolar disorder from that of other separate problems. That is why it is important to distinguish warning signs and symptoms to establish if your teen is indeed suffering from bipolar disorder.
Bipolar Warning Signs to Look Out For:
1. Manic Episode – occurs when a person with bipolar is in a state of being over excited or overjoyed.
- extremely agitated, feeling jumpy or in an irritable mood
- long period of being overjoyed, feeling high or in an outgoing mood
- gets easily distracted, with low attention span and is restless
- has unrealistic beliefs with one's abilities and experiencing racing thoughts
- has an increased energy but with decreased need for rest or sleep
- behaves impulsively and takes part in pleasurable but risky sprees, impulsive sexual acts or investments
- has increased sexual drive and may indulge in substance abuse
- feels out of control and usually delusional about being someone they're not
2. Depressive Episode – when the person with bipolar is in a state of extreme sadness or hopelessness.
- losing interest over activities they have once enjoyed, even sex
- long period of being empty or worried
- having persistent feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, guilt, isolation or anger
- has problem concentrating, is self loathing and has social anxiety
- lacks motivation, thinks of death or suicide and has suicidal tendencies
- changes in sleeping or eating habits and often feels tired
3. Mixed Affective Episode – a condition where the symptoms of manic and depressive episodes occur simultaneously.
- severe cases may lead to psychotic conditions which may include being delusional or having hallucinations
- having racing thoughts during a depressive episode or tearful during a manic episode
- may feel like a failure and is incredibly frustrated
- experiencing increased urge of performing substance abuse, suicide attempts or feeling intense panic
4. Hypomanic Episode – this is generally a condition where there is a mild to moderate level of mania.
- distinguished by feelings of optimism
- more productive compared to those with manic episodes
- has a decreased need for sleep
- has increased creativity
- may appear as utter feeling of happiness but carries the same risks as having manic episodes
- does not experience delusions or hallucinations
- problem arises when changes in mood is already uncontrollable and erratic
5. Associated Features – a clinical case accompanied by bipolar disorder but not necessarily a part of the criteria included in diagnosing a person with bipolar.
- children who are later diagnosed with bipolar may show abnormalities in mood, full major episodes of depression and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- feeling irritable and is hypersensitive
- some may have a hard time maintaining a loving or romantic relationship
A lot of parents may think that their teens are just acting normally like any other teen would. From raging hormones, including times when they act foolish to feeling unhappy, these behaviors may seem quite normal if parents don't look closely.
Bipolar disorder requires a lot more of a parent's understanding and support because teens with the disorder will not be able to perform properly everyday of their lives. Behaviors like having bad grades, taking risks or getting prone to vehicle accidents may appear as if they're a product of a normal teen angst.
But in truth, these behaviors may be signs of a fully developed bipolar disorder in your teens. If you see any of these warning signs and symptoms in your children, it would be wise to seek advice from a psychiatrist or psychologist before the symptoms worsen with time.