Bipolar disorder is a type of depression.
There are 3 main types of depression:
A teen with bipolar disorder often has extreme mood swings. These mood swings go beyond the day’s normal ups and downs. A teen may have times of great elation, happiness, elevated mood, or irritability. This is called mania. These episodes are countered by periods of major depression. That is why this disorder has two poles or symptoms.
Researches don’t know the exact cause of bipolar disorder. But it does tend to run in families. So in some cases, it may be inherited.
A teen is at higher risk for bipolar disorder if another family member has it. Researchers are still looking for the gene or genes that may cause the disorder.
The disorder often starts in the teen years or early adulthood. It affects boys and girls equally. But girls tend to have more symptoms of depression.
Teens with bipolar disorder often have unusual mood swings. They shift between depression and mania. These episodes often last 1 or 2 weeks. But symptoms may be different for each teen.
Symptoms of depression may include:
Symptoms of mania may include:
Symptoms of bipolar disorder, especially in a teen, may look like other problems. Make sure your teen sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Bipolar disorder can be hard to spot. That’s because it may look like other health problems, such as depression. A teen must have both depressive and manic symptoms to a varying degree to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
A mental health provider will ask about your teen’s health history and symptoms. He or she will also do a mental health evaluation before making a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your teen’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment can often help a teen with bipolar disorder get better. But it will take time. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Teens with bipolar disorder are at risk for other problems. These include:
Researchers don’t know how to prevent bipolar disorder. In some cases, it may be inherited.
Knowing the risk factors for bipolar disorder, spotting it early, and getting expert help for your teen can help ease symptoms and improve your teen’s quality of life.
Bipolar disorder has no cure. But over time, your teen’s symptoms will get better. Being supportive and patient can help. Here are things you can do to help:
Call your healthcare provider right away if your teen:
Call 911 if your teen has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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