If your teen is exhibiting signs of bipolar disorder or has been diagnosed with it, it’s important to educate yourself on the condition so you can support them as best as possible. Here are 6 things you should know about this mood disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder and a mental health condition. Because symptoms of this disorder are often extreme, it can be difficult to cope with. From depression to mania, if your teen has been diagnosed with Bipolar, here are 6 things you should know to better understand their diagnosis.
1. Understanding the “Highs” and the “Lows”
An important distinction to make about bipolar disorder is that it contains both points of “high moods” known as mania and points of “low moods” known as depression. Individuals with bipolar disorder cycle through both of these moods and the cycles can be as frequent as occurring daily or as distant as years apart.
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2. Understanding Mania
Mania is when an individual experiences an elevated mood that is more extreme than usual happiness. Symptoms may include increased energy, restlessness, extreme irritability, racing thoughts, fast talking, feelings of euphoria, poor judgement, spending sprees, extreme risk taking, increased sexual drive or denial. Typically, a combination of these symptoms must be present for a manic episode to be diagnosed.
3. Understanding Depression
Depression is at the other end of the mood spectrum and includes a feeling of deep sadness and hopelessness. Other symptoms of a depressed state can include feeling physical pain such as headaches or stomach pains, sleeping too little or too much, lack of appetite, feelings of guilt or shame, no interest in usual activities, isolation or thoughts about death and suicide.
4. Bipolar I
There are two primary diagnoses of bipolar disorder. The first is Bipolar I which is diagnosed when individuals have at least one, very extreme manic episode. This episode is often debilitating for the individual and it might disrupt their work or school habits. Bipolar I is often also accompanied by depressive episodes but is not necessary for diagnosis.
5. Bipolar II
Another diagnosis is Bipolar II in which an individual must experience one depressive and one hypomanic episode. A hypomanic episode, while it can last longer than a regular manic episode, has less severe symptoms and doesn’t usually interfere with an individual’s daily life.
6. Learning How to Cope
There are many opportunities for coping with a bipolar disorder. Some individuals may take medication or seek therapy. Family support, patience and understanding is key. If your teen exhibits symptoms of a bipolar disorder, seek support from a mental health professional who can help decide what treatment option is best for them.
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