How Do I Know If My Teen Has Bipolar Disorder?

What does it mean to be bipolar? Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition in the mood disorder category, characterized by serious fluctuations in an individual’s mood. They can go from being severely happy and overactive (manic) to being severely depressed and reserved (depressive).

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The causes of mental health conditions are not always clear, and bipolar disorder is no exception. Some potential catalysts include untreated anxiety disorders, abnormal brain functions or genetics. If someone in your family has bipolar disorder it is a good idea to look for symptoms in your teen.

Recognizing Manic Symptoms

Put simply, manic symptoms, or mania, will look like your teen being overly energetic and uncontrollably happy. Below is a detailed list of potential symptoms of mania:

  • overly and unusually happy
  • unable to sleep
  • short tempered
  • unable to stay focused
  • talking extremely quickly about a variety of things
  • participating in risky behaviors more than usual
  • thinking and talking about sex more than usual
  • feeling invincible
  • appearing to be uncontrollable
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Recognizing Depressive Symptoms

On the other end of the spectrum, your teen may exhibit signs of a depressive state including, but not limited to:

  • feeling extremely sad
  • lacking interest in their usual hobbies and activities
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • underperforming in school
  • feeling guilty and worthless
  • sleeping too little or too much
  • eating too little or too much
  • complaining about physical aches and pains
  • thinking or talking about death or suicide

Seeking Help

If your teen is exhibiting these symptoms, contact your doctor or a mental health professional. If your teen is in crisis, do not leave them alone and call 911.

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