Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings ranging from manic highs to depressive lows. Identifying bipolar disorder in teens is particularly important because early detection and treatment can greatly improve outcomes and prevent potential long-term outcomes. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 2.8% of people in the United States experience bipolar disorder in any given year.1
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that can affect a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to function. People with bipolar disorder may also experience episodes of extreme mood swings. They often can have periods of very high energy and excitement, while other times feel very low and depressed.
Bipolar disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. The condition typically develops in late adolescence or early adulthood. Bipolar disorder has an average age of onset of 18 years old for Type 1 and 20 years old for Type 2. Bipolar disorder can also run in families through genetics. However, it is important to note that not everyone with a daily history of bipolar disorder will develop the condition.1
Bipolar disorder affects both men and women at equal rates. However, women are more likely to experience rapid cycling (four or more mood episodes in a year). Women are also more prone to mixed episodes where symptoms of mania and depression co-occur.
The symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens can be challenging to diagnose, as they may be mistaken for normal adolescent mood swings. Here are some common signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens:
Teens with bipolar disorder may act impulsively, which can lead to risky behavior such as drug use and hurting themselves. Their moods can change a lot and be hard to predict, making it tough for them to handle their emotions. When they feel sad and hopeless, they might hurt themselves or even consider suicide. Teens with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop other mental health problems as well, such as anxiety or eating disorders.
We may also interview your teen and the rest of your family as well. This is to make sure there’s no other medical or hereditary problems causing their symptoms. Getting the right diagnosis is really important so that the teenager can get the right treatment to manage their symptoms.
The treatment options for bipolar disorder in teens typically involve a combination of medication therapy and lifestyle changes. The specific treatment plan for each teen will depend on the severity and type of symptoms they are experiencing and any other medical or mental health conditions they may have. Available bipolar disorder treatment methods at Advaita Integrated Medicine include:
Medication is often used to help stabilize mood and manage symptoms of mania and depression. Mood stabilizers are often used to help reduce the risk of manic episodes. Antidepressants can help manage symptoms of depression when used with mood stabilizers. However, they must be used carefully to avoid causing manic episodes. The psychiatrists at Advaita Integrated Medicine will work with each patient to find the best medication plan and watch for any side effects.
Bipolar disorder can cause significant disruptions in a person’s mood, behavior, and daily functioning. With the right treatment and support, individuals with bipolar disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of relapse. Contact our knowledgeable Advaita Integrated Medicine staff to learn more about the resources available and how we can help you or your loved one live fulfilling lives.