Teenagers experience a wide range of emotions daily. Especially early on in their teenage years as their bodies and hormones are developing, it may not be uncommon for a teen to experience happiness, sadness, anger, and hopelessness all in a given day.
However, what happens if these feelings occur seemingly for no reason and last for extended periods of time? This could be a sign of a much larger issue, such as bipolar disorder.
If you have a teenager who you think may be suffering from bipolar disorder, it is important to look into a facility that offers teen bipolar disorder treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about bipolar disorder, its prevalence among teens, some common symptoms to be on the lookout for, and how you can get your teen the help they need today at Luna Recovery.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience episodes of mania, where they feel unusually elevated, energetic, or irritable, and episodes of depression, characterized by profound sadness, loss of interest, and feelings of hopelessness.
These episodes often occur for no real reason and can vary in intensity and duration. Depending on the severity of the bipolar disorder, for some, their episodes affect their ability to perform even the most basic of tasks, thus affecting their overall quality of life.
Prevalence of Teen Bipolar Disorder
Teen bipolar disorder is more common than many people realize. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 2.8% of adolescents in the United States have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Additionally, approximately 3% of teen females and 2.5% of teen males live with bipolar disorder.
Many people who suffer from bipolar disorder begin experiencing symptoms during their teenage and young adult years, with the average age of onset being in their early 20s.
This is one of the many reasons why early detection and treatment is so crucial. By properly identifying and managing symptoms of bipolar disorder early on, it can prevent long-term complications including physical and mental ailments and even substance abuse.
Symptoms of Teen Bipolar Disorder
When trying to properly identify symptoms of bipolar disorder in your teen or young adult, it is essential to remember that everyone shows signs and symptoms differently. Especially when it comes to teens, some of the behaviors expressed with bipolar disorder may just look like typical “moody teen” behavior.
That being said, below are some of the more common manic and depressive episode signs and symptoms:
Someone experiencing a manic episode may exhibit the following behavior:
- Increased energy and activity levels
- Elevated or irritable mood
- Racing thoughts and rapid speech
- Impulsive behavior and poor judgment
- Decreased need for sleep
- Having a hard time falling asleep
- Participating or showing interest in pleasurable but risky activities
- Engaging in risky or reckless activities that show poor judgment
Someone experiencing a manic episode may exhibit the following behavior:
- Persistent sadness or irritability
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- frequently expressing aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
It is important to note that not all teenagers experience both manic and depressive episodes. Some may predominantly experience one type of episode, which is known as bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.
If you have concerns that your child may be struggling with Bipolar Disorder, it is important to reach out to a professional such as the ones here at Luna Recovery Services. We will go over possible treatment options with you and explain to you how you can get your teen the help that they need.
Causes of Teen Bipolar Disorder
While there is not one specific known “cause” of teen bipolar disorder, research has shown that genetics play a significant role in the development of Bipolar Disorder.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that anywhere from 80-90% of people with Bipolar Disorder also have at least one relative that also has either Bipolar Disorder or depression.
Furthermore, if a teen or young adult has an immediate relative (ie parent or sibling) with Bipolar Disorder, their odds of developing the condition are 10 times greater.
In addition to genetics, some other common causes of bipolar disorder include:
- Childhood trauma
- Neurochemical imbalance
- Birth complications
- Infections during pregnancy or in adulthood
- Substance abuse
- High-stress levels
Risk Factors of Bipolar Disorder
In addition to the list of causes above, several risk factors can increase the chances that a teen develops Bipolar Disorder.
These risk factors include:
Teenagers who engage in substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol, are at a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder. The side effects associated with many different substances of abuse can cause mental illnesses, one of which is Bipolar Disorder.
Someone who suffers from both a mental health condition and a substance use disorder often has to attend a specialized form of treatment known as dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both the mental health issue and substance use disorder at the same time.
Teenagers that are already struggling with their mental health, especially when it comes to depression and anxiety are more likely to develop bipolar disorder.
Much like someone suffering from a mental health condition and a substance use disorder, someone suffering from multiple mental health conditions may also benefit from dual diagnosis treatment to address their co-occurring disorders.
Teenagers with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm. Parents, friends, and educators need to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, which may include:
- Talking about death or suicide
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Dramatic changes in behavior or appearance
- Giving away personal belongings
- Withdrawing from friends and activities
- Engaging in reckless or self-destructive behavior
If you suspect your child is in immediate danger or may be attempting to commit suicide, call 911 immediately.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder in Teens
Properly diagnosing your teen with Bipolar Disorder can be tricky. After all, as we mentioned above, many of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can mimic typical “moody teen” behavior.
Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder in teens involves an assessment or psychiatric evaluation being done by an experienced mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
During the evaluation, your teen may be asked a series of questions about their mood, energy levels, sleep, as well as other things. From there the mental health professional will share the results with you and go over possible treatment options should it be determined that your teen is suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
Teen Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options
At Luna Recovery Services, we understand the struggles that teens deal with daily, especially when it comes to their mental health. Teens may often experience feelings of depression and anxiety which, when left untreated, can lead to more serious issues like bipolar disorder.
That’s why we offer treatment programs to help teens that are not only struggling with substance abuse but with mental health struggles as well. We offer several different programs including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and a partial hospitalization program.
Within each of these programs, we offer several different types of therapy to help address your teenager’s struggles including:
Individual therapy is done in a 1-on-one setting. During individual therapy sessions, the therapist will work closely with your teen, providing individualized counseling to address their unique needs and challenges. Individual therapy is used to help teens develop healthy coping mechanisms, emotional regulation skills, and a positive self-image.
We understand the importance of involving the family in the treatment process. Our family therapy sessions promote open communication, strengthen relationships, and educate parents and siblings about bipolar disorder. The family of the teen suffering from bipolar disorder needs to understand what they are going through so that they can better help at home.
In addition to some of our more traditional forms of therapy, we also offer holistic therapies. These therapies are used to complement the more traditional therapies we offer and enhance emotional well-being and promote self-care.
Examples of holistic therapies include yoga, meditation, art therapy, and recreational activities.
Receive Teen Bipolar Disorder Treatment at Luna Recovery Services
If your teenager is struggling with bipolar disorder, know that there is hope and help available. Luna Recovery Services is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective teen bipolar disorder treatment in Texas.
Contact us today to learn more about the treatment programs we offer and how we can help your teen live a happy and healthy life.
Dr. Allaire received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, as Valedictorian of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and his Medical Doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as Chief Resident. He is the medical monitor for the Physician Counseling Committee of the Harris County Medical Society and the Medical Director of Serenity House Detox. Dr. Allaire specializes in medically assisted detox cases, treating patients in recovery from addiction or other mental health disorders, the medical assessment and monitoring of patients with addictive disorders, medical care related to eating disorders and the medical treatment of patients with mental health conditions.