Bi-Polar Disorder in Teenagers
Technically, a person has Bipolar Disorder if he/she has a manic episode. The definition of mania is listed below. How does a teenager experience Bipolar Disorder? Many teenagers with Bipolar Disorder experience mood swings and temper outbursts, which are out of character for that person. The swings include highs (mania) and lows (depression). Some people with Bipolar have a week or two of manic symptoms, and later a depression of several months. However, with “mixed episodes” a person can jump from highs to lows several times per day. This is very confusing for the teenager with Bipolar Disorder who does not know what is happening. Family and friends of a teenager notice the Jekyll and Hyde personality shifts, and may suspect drugs or relationship problems, but, in most cases, these mood swings happen for no reason.
See Depression, Bipolar Depression differs in that it tends to be rapid, and often severe.
The mood in mania may be Grandiose (confident, talking big, fearless), or Irritable (short tempered, quick to anger). Mania is a high-energy state, and often the teenager will talk more, talk faster, and talk louder than normal. When teenagers are manic, they sleep less, and sometimes are highly creative with their energy (up all night writing poetry). Teenagers with mania may be easily distracted at school, yet at home they can throw themselves intensely into an activity that they choose. Thoughts are speeded-up, and some people describe “racing thoughts.” Some teenagers with mania have an increased libido (sex drive), and are more likely to act out their feelings. Risk-taking can be a problem, with little regard for consequences, even if the person is normally cautious. If mania gets severe, teenagers can become temporarily psychotic. A psychotic state means losing touch with reality, such as hearing or seeing things that are not there, or having paranoid ideas
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800- 273 –TALK (8255)