Bipolar Disorder in Teens
Bipolar disorder is a tragic mental illness that affects people of all ages. Some of the most tragic cases of the disease are when it afflicts teenagers due to the pivotal nature of that time in their life and the difficulties involved in both being a teenager and dealing with a teenager. About one in every hundred and fifty people has the disease, seven percent of those being teenagers.
What many people do not realize is that Bipolar disorder is the same thing as manic depression, a brain disease which is characterized by dramatic and sudden changes in energy levels, mood, and behavior. Bipolar disorder is characterized by two distinct extremes, mania and depression. Mania occurs when the individual’s energy peaks and they may have feelings of euphoria. The depression side of the disorder consists of thoughts of suicide, feelings of helplessness, and intense fatigue. Due to the nature of the symptoms, bipolar disorder in teens can sometimes be misdiagnosed as ADHD. It is also difficult to properly diagnose bipolar disorder in teens because they often have mood swings anyway, and extreme volatility in their mood can be overlooked and passed off as just regular teenage irrationality.
It’s important to identify the disorder as quickly as possible but not to overreact every time you notice a teenager acting irrationally, remember these symptoms and if you notice them coming together all of a sudden you should ensure that the individual sees a doctor immediately. Manic symptoms include feeling excessively positive, being extremely irritable, large increases in energy, extreme lack of sleep, increased speed of talking, lack of concentration, sudden emphasis on goal-direct activities, hyper sexuality, and talking about fantasies as though they are real. On the other end of the scale, depressive symptoms include persistent and inconsolable sadness, lack of interest in their favorite activities, irregular sleep patterns, complete loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.
Unfortunately there is no cure for bipolar disorder and it is a life long disease. The good news is that many people are treated successfully through medicine and therapy until they can live perfectly normal lives. Perhaps the most crucial thing for somebody with bipolar disorder is to have the support of friends and family, and there is a lot you can do to help them with their treatment. Helping them keep a routine is important, as well as ensuring that they take all their medications and taking their problems seriously.
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