The teenage years are an extremely trying time for any person. Hormonal increase and stabilization in the body lead to the usual mood swings and outbursts you can expect from any adolescent.
These mood swings are usually nothing to worry about. However, if you notice your teen’s moods swinging from extreme happiness to severe gloominess on a more-or-less regular basis, there may be cause for concern. Your teen may be experiencing bipolar disorder.
This article is a guide to help you learn what bipolar disorder is, which symptoms to look out for, and which steps you can take to help out your child.
Residential Bipolar Treatment at Ridge RTC
Ridge RTC is a 350-acre, short-term residential treatment campus located in the southeastern part of New Hampshire. Our unique approach to therapy and treatment for the various mental health conditions that can affect teenagers makes us the best option for adolescents looking for assistance outside of the norm.
The focus at Ridge RTC encompasses your child’s life and future success after treatment as well. Academics and tutoring are open to those who seek it. Our staff includes a psychiatrist who is on-site 5 days a week as well as an experienced RN (registered nurse) whose main focus is teenage care.
Healthy living is encouraged at Ridge RTC, and our itinerary includes physical activities, balanced diets, contributions to the community, and nature expeditions. Mental well-being is a crucial part program here, and it includes yoga sessions, mindfulness sessions, music, arts, and much more. Ridge RTC is an excellent option for teens learning to manage or even overcome mental health struggles, such as bipolar disorder.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a chronic and severe mental illness afflicting approximately 2.6% of American adults. This disorder usually rears its ugly head during late teens or early adulthood.
Manic episodes are those periods when someone suffering from bipolar disorder becomes extremely happy and active. Intense sadness and/ or depression normally fill in the gaps between manic episodes. Such periods are known as depressive episodes.
There is no known cure for bipolar disorder. However, residential treatment centers for teens at facilities such as Ridge RTC can teach people to better cope with the symptoms and manage the condition.
What Is the Cause of Bipolar Disorder in Teens or Adolescents?
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is as yet unknown by scientists. This disorder does, however, run in families. Some teens may have inherited this condition from somewhere along the family tree.
What Are Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Teens and Young Adults?
Symptoms of Bipolar disorder may manifest themselves through various types of mood episodes. These mood episodes are mainly manic episodes, hypomanic episodes, and major depressive episodes.
Here is a brief glimpse at the various episodes associated with bipolar disorder.
Periods of an elevated mood and more than usual energy exhibited by a person. Manic episodes may last for a week or more and the more severe cases may require hospitalization.
Some common symptoms of mania are:
- Significantly elevated mood
- Decreased need for sleep
- An exaggerated sense of optimism and confidence
- Racing thoughts and/ or speech
- Impulsive and/ or reckless behavior
- Grandiose ideas
- An exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Irritability or aggression
- Poor judgment
- In severe cases hallucinations and delusions,
These episodes are comparable to manic episodes, but the symptoms are considerably less severe. Hypomanic episodes last for around 4 days consecutively and don’t normally result in harmful behaviors.
These episodes can last for a fortnight or longer. Some common symptoms of a manic depressive episode are:
- Constant fatigue
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Impaired decision-making and concentration abilities
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Prolonged periods of sadness
- Inexplicable crying spells
- Significant appetite shifts and changes in sleep patterns
- Irritability, anger, and agitation
- Indifference and pessimism
- Excessive anxiety or stress
- Lack of interest in former interests
- Social withdrawal
- Suicidal ideation
Not all who suffer from bipolar disorder will also experience depression. The only requirement for a bipolar diagnosis is experiencing a manic episode.
Bipolar II disorder is a condition where a person can experience symptoms of depressive episodes, but have less severe hypomania.
What Are the Different Types of Bipolar Disorder?
Individuals who have a bipolar disorder diagnosis may have one of several variants of bipolar disorder. Different subtypes of bipolar disorder exist, including Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and cyclothymia. All variations of bipolar disorder require medical intervention from a professional.
This class of bipolar disorder can either be diagnosed by at least one manic episode lasting for up to seven days, or by manic symptoms severe enough to result in hospitalization and demand intensive care.
Hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes characterize this bipolar disorder type. People who have bipolar II disorder will likely experience at least one major depressive episode.
This variant is also known as cyclothymia and is milder than other types. Its characterization is cyclical periods of hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes. People suffering from cyclothymic disorder can be moody and/ or difficult.
Bipolar Disorder in Adolescents and Teenagers
Adult bipolar disorder and pediatric bipolar disorder can manifest themselves differently. This disorder in children and teenagers can include increased rapid cycling (mood swings) and (combinations of manic and depressive episodes) mixed states.
From childhood to the teenage years is when bipolar disorder normally shows itself. Teenagers and adolescents who suffer from this disorder can experience wildly swinging states between euphoria and depression, one moment full of energy and activity followed by days when they may be unable to even climb out of bed.
Personalized treatment by a medical professional is critical for a teenager suffering from bipolar disorder. This issue can combine with other mental health issues such as anxiety or ADHD and act to severely reduce an adolescent’s quality of life, stunt their mental development, and even lead them to commit self-endangering acts.
Why Is It Important To Get an Accurate Diagnosis?
The mind is nothing to be trifled with, and getting an accurate diagnosis from a trained, professional medical expert is extremely important when it pertains to mental health conditions. Bipolar disorders can at times be confused with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD).
Major depressive disorders in teens can be a common misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder since bipolar symptoms can include depression. Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) also share a few symptoms.
How is Bipolar Disorder in Adolescents and Young Adults Treated?
Time and patience are required when searching for the correct treatment plan for bipolar disorder. Symptoms and their severity vary from person to person, so the right path must be followed to develop a unique treatment method for your child.
Medication does not exist that can directly treat bipolar disorder, however, your child may be prescribed medicines that can help manage other possible accompanying conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is the standard treatment for bipolar disorder. Therapy works by teaching people with bipolar disorder how to better recognize the symptoms of an oncoming episode and managing said episodes.
Examples of the various psychotherapies used in treating bipolar disorder are:
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is built on the concepts of mindfulness and acceptance. It teaches a patient how to be aware of their present surroundings, environment, and emotional state.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT challenges a patient’s core beliefs and behaviors that create their perceptions of the world around them
Family Therapy. Family-focused therapy sessions help teenagers and their family members learn to cope with bipolar disorder. These sessions promote better communication and conflict resolution skills and help family members better recognize oncoming manic or depressive episodes and plan healthy ways to deal with them.
Bipolar disorder can make its victims feel isolated, so keeping everyone working together to observe treatment and support each other is priceless.
Psychoeducation. Psychoeducation provides teenagers and adolescents, together with their families, with the cumulative facts concerning bipolar disorder and any concurring mental health issues.
Consistent therapy combined with medication forms an incredibly potent tool for managing bipolar disorder or cyclothymia. Counseling sessions instill skills in an adolescent that help them manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder which enables them to live fuller and healthier lives.
Are There Any Medications for Treating Bipolar Disorder?
No, there are no medications that directly control bipolar disorder. Mood stabilizers can be prescribed to regulate accompanying symptoms. Medical experts recommend a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes to manage bipolar disorder.
Some options for treating bipolar disorder are:
Medications: Mood-stabilizing medications help balance the highs and lows in an adolescent’s mood. Anticonvulsants and antipsychotics can also be administered, along with other medications.
Psychotherapy. Various therapy modalities can teach people to management techniques for the challenges associated with bipolar disorder. Therapy can also help treat other co-occurring mental health issues such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.
Self-management. Teaching people with bipolar disorder to recognize warning signs of approaching episodes, as well as how to appropriately manage those episodes is another treatment option.
Complementary health approaches: Physical exercise, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, as well as other stress-reduction strategies can improve the physical and mental well-being of teens with bipolar disorder and aid with coping with symptoms.
Ridge RTC Is Your One-Stop Solution for the Treatment of Your Teenager or Adolescent’s Bipolar Disorder
Ridge RTC offers various, personalized treatment modalities for your young adult that lead to actual healing. Our residential program aims to treat bipolar disorder and other mental health-related issues during your child’s stay and beyond recovery. Contact us today for scheduling visits, consulting with a therapist, or making admission plans.
The journey towards your child’s bettered coping and healthy life begins now.