It can be troubling if your teen is showing signs of depression or bipolar disorder, which are both categorized as mood disorders. Here are six things you should know about mood disorders.
Featured image Stephan Rebernik
1. Prevalence Amongst Teens
Mood disorders, either depression or bipolar disorder, were once thought to be only present in adults. Studies now suggest that the onset of these disorders often occurs during adolescence and that 15-18% of youth have experienced a mood episode by the age of 18.
2. What is Depression?
Depression is a unipolar disorder, meaning that individuals with this diagnosis only experience one extreme emotion. A person is typically diagnosed with depression when they experience a period of severe sadness, negativity, demotivation, hopelessness and sometimes thoughts of suicide. Individuals who have episodes of depression might not feel depressed at all between these states. Others experience depression more often.
3. What is Bipolar Disorder?
Individuals with bipolar disorder experience two extreme moods: mania (a “high” mood) and depression (a “low” mood). Mania is when an individual experiences an elevated mood that is more extreme than usual happiness. Depression, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Individuals who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience both of these extremes, sometimes within a period as short as a day or as long as a year.
4. How Can You Cope With Your Teen’s Diagnosis?
Remember that your teen’s diagnosis does not define them and they are, at the end of the day, still your teen. Practice patience and understanding with your teen and encourage open communication within your family about mental health conditions. Don’t be afraid to seek your own support from a counsellor or mental health professional.
5. How Can Your Teen Cope With Their Diagnosis?
Firstly, help your teen know that they are not alone. Help them to seek the support of a mental health professional who can offer them appropriate treatment options. Ensure their emotions being accounted for through openness and communication as well as their physical well-being by getting exercise, enough sleep and proper nutrition.
6. What Treatment Options Are Available?
A mental health professional will be able to determine what treatment options are best for your teen. Some might choose a form of therapy, others might recommend medication. An in-patient treatment facility is another option. Think carefully about your decision and do your research, this way you can ensure your teen gets the help and support that they deserve.