Recognizing the Possible Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Your Adolescent
The teenage years are emotional for many families. But for some adolescents, the emotional highs and lows are even more extreme. That’s because while bipolar disorder tends to manifest in early adulthood, it can appear during the teen years. It’s important for families to recognize the signs of bipolar in order to differentiate between that and normal teen angst.
Bipolar disorder can show up anywhere, but it does appear to run in families. When a parent (or parents) has bipolar disorder, the chances of a child also developing the condition are five to 10 percent higher than for kids with no family history of the illness. Genetics is the first risk factor of which to be aware.
Beyond family history, there would be other signs that your teen is dealing with something beyond normal adolescent emotions. Bipolar disorder is so named because of the emotional swings from one mood extreme to the other. It is frequently the case that only the depressive cycle gets noticed, but there are two distinct phases.
The depressive phase shares the same symptoms as mild-major depression: changed sleep, changed appetite, lack of interest in things once enjoyed, persistent sadness and trouble focusing.
The opposite pole from depression is called mania. During mania your teen may seem inexplicably giddy or silly. They may express feelings of exalted self-perception, seem to have boundless energy with little need for sleep or engage in risk-taking behaviors. Extreme talkativeness is another sign, as is being highly irritable.
If you suspect that your teen may be experiencing these extreme highs and lows, they could be experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder. Family Guidance Center is here to help you and your teen. Give us a call and learn how we can help.