It’s not unusual for teenagers to experience mood swings and emotional ups and downs due to various factors. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to find out the reason your child is showing erratic behavior or symptoms of poor mental health and give them the love and support they need.
When teenagers start showing intense mood shifts and aggression, many parents start to wonder whether this is just hormonal changes or bipolar disorder? The two can be very different from each other.
Here are some ways bipolar disorder manifests in teenagers.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the main symptom of bipolar disorder is alternating episodes of high and low mood. Bipolar disorder-related mood shifts are more intense than average mood shifts. Some people experience delusions, paranoia, or even psychosis.
Once a person starts following a treatment plan, they might have a more stabilized mood for months or years. But without a proper treatment plan, people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will experience high levels of anxiety and rapid mood changes that can affect their quotidian life activities.
People are more susceptible to getting bipolar disorder if:
- They have a family member who also has bipolar disorder
- They are going through a stressful life event
- They have suffered a traumatic event
Signs of Bipolar Disorder in Teenagers
1. Rapid Mood Shifts
Teenagers who have bipolar disorder go through extreme highs (manic episodes) or lows (depression), or a mix of both. These symptoms can last a day or for several weeks. As the illness progresses, likely, they might even experience psychosis.
Hallucinations are very common during psychosis that can include hearing voices, delusions like having a strong irrational fear of something, or paranoia which makes them very distrustful towards others.
2. Disturbed Sleep Pattern
An early warning sign that most parents should look out for is a significant decrease in sleep. A low amount of sleep is an early indicator that your child might be experiencing symptoms.
3. Increased Energy Levels
Teenagers with bipolar disorder often have racing speech and thoughts and exhibit exaggerated optimism. They will show elevated moods and sudden increases in physical activity with rash behavior.
Other symptoms include depression, impulsiveness, talking fast and quickly, hyper-sexuality, and irritability.
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