Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Teenagers with Bipolar
Disorder may have an ongoing combination of extremely
high (manic) and low (depressed) moods. Highs may alternate with
lows, or the person may feel both extremes at the same time.
Bipolar Disorder usually starts
in adult life. Although less common, it does occur in teenagers
and even rarely in young children. This illness can affect anyone.
However, if one or both parents have Bipolar Disorder, the chances
are greater that their children will develop the disorder.
Family history of drug or alcohol abuse also may be associated
with Bipolar Disorder in teens.
Bipolar Disorder may begin either with manic or depressive symptoms.
The manic symptoms include:
* severe changes in mood compared to others of the same age and
background - either unusually happy or silly, or very irritable,
angry, agitated or aggressive
* unrealistic highs in self-esteem - for example, a teenager who
feels all powerful or like a superhero with special powers
* great increase in energy and the ability to go with little or
no sleep for days without feeling tired
* increase in talking - the adolescent talks too much, too fast,
changes topics too quickly, and cannot be interrupted
* distractibility - the teen's attention moves constantly from
one thing to the next
* repeated high risk-taking behavior; such as, abusing alcohol
and drugs, reckless driving, or sexual promiscuity
The depressive symptoms include:
* irritability, depressed mood, persistent sadness, frequent crying
* thoughts of death or suicide
* loss of enjoyment in favorite activities
* frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches
or stomach aches
* low energy level, fatigue, poor concentration, complaints of
* major change in eating or sleeping patterns, such as oversleeping
Some of these signs are similar
to those that occur in teenagers with other problems such as drug
abuse, delinquency, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
or even schizophrenia. The diagnosis can only be made with careful
observation over an extended period of time. A thorough evaluation
by a child and adolescent psychiatrist can be helpful in identifying
the problems and starting specific treatment.
Teenagers with Bipolar Disorder can be effectively treated.
Problems of Children &
Alcohol & Drug
Gay & Lesbian