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BIPOLAR DISORDER (MANIC-DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS) IN TEENS
No. 38 (Updated 6/2011)

Bipolar disorder in teens seems to be on the rise in recent years, but what exactly causes the disorder isn't known. Some research that has been done indicates that Bipolar disorder may be a result of environmental and genetic influences, having origins in biochemical processes. What is known is that the disorder tends to run in families so it can be assumed that it is often hereditary.

Teens who suffer with Bipolar disorder experience much the same symptoms as an adult. Simply stated, someone with Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is often unable to control his/her emotions due to abnormal functioning of the brain. Puberty in teens is also thought to be a trigger that can bring on a manic or depressive episode.

Diagnosing Bipolar disorder in teens can be difficult, and often requires that the teen be studied over a period of time in order to confirm a diagnosis and prescribe a plan of treatment. Treating the disorder typically involves psychotherapy, medication, stress management and education for the family, as it is important for the family of the affected teen to understand the disorder and how to help in the treatment of it.

The symptoms of Bipolar disorder in teens often range from bouts of depression to manic symptoms which may include acting aggressive or becoming agitated to acting silly or as though they have an unlimited amount of energy and need little sleep. These episodes often bounce quickly from being happy and on top of the world to sad, mad or irritated.

When Bipolar disorder goes undiagnosed in teens it can lead to alcohol or drug abuse, sexual promiscuity or other dangerous behaviors. When an episode occurs in a teen, it will typically last for only a few weeks or months which is generally a shorter time period than seen with adults who suffer from the disorder.

Bipolar I or II, Cyclothymic Disorder and unspecified Bipolar disorder are the four types of the disorder that are classified. Determining which your teen suffers from requires treatment by a physician who understands that symptoms may present differently in teens.

If you suspect that your teen suffers from Bipolar disorder, the best course of action is to first have him/her examined by a physician. The prescribed treatment may seem complex and drawn out, but your teens mental and emotional health is definitely worth it.


This article was written by Tim Manasterski, a Metrodaycare.com staff member.



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