Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry


Bipolar Disorder in Teens: What are the Early Signs?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can cause extreme shifts in mood, behavior, and energy level. This condition is often characterized in two different stages. One is the manic episode which is commonly described as high, while the other is low which is also known as the depressive episode. This is why, the bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. But regardless of the name or episode shift, it is understandable how alarming it is for parents with children who are suspiciously suffering from the condition. So, to help you assess if your child or teen suffers from it, here are the early signs that you have to watch out for.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

In general, bipolar disorder can be classified in two (2) different categories. Symptoms of each category or episode differ from one another. While this might seem like a strange concept, it cannot be considered bipolar disorder if one is without the other.

Manic Episode

  • Elevated Mood
  • Irritability
  • Increase in Energy Level
  • Unusual Behavior / Acting in a Silly Way
  • Risky Behavioral Changes
  • Inability to Focus
  • Inability to Sleep
  • Excessive Talkativeness
  • A Boost in Self-Esteem

Depressive Episode

  • Irritability
  • Changes in Eating Habits
  • Changes in Sleeping Pattern
  • Lack of Energy
  • Unwillingness to Participate even in Favorite Activities
  • Feelings of Hopelessness, Helplessness, and Worthlessness
  • Suicidal Thoughts

Unfortunately, people commonly mistake symptoms of bipolar disorder as another mental health disorder. However, this is normal since this condition is often associated with disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depression, substance use, or other physical ailments. Nevertheless, what makes bipolar disorder is its distinct characterization of two episodes.

It’s important to talk to your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist. Since most mental health disorders have similar signs and symptoms, it’s better to consult with experts and professionals to get a precise and accurate assessment and understanding of your teen’s or child’s condition.

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