For parents that are concerned about the erratic or strange behaviors exhibited by their toddler the idea of early onset bipolar disorder can be the furthest thing from their mind. After all, toddler are known for being moody and sometimes irrational. However, when the behaviors exhibited by a child become so extreme that they are impossible to rationalize as being cause by hormones or the general awkwardness of the teen years in general it becomes necessary to seek profession help for that child. There are ways to tell the difference between typical, moody childish behavior and possible symptoms of early onset bipolar disorder.
Sudden Changes in Behavior
Teens are well known for their irrationality and mood swings, however there is a big difference between typically moody teenage behavior and signs of early onset bipolar disorder. A typical, moody teen may get upset with their parents and retreat to their room for long periods of time. However, when this becomes a regular occurrence or the change between relatively happy and incredibly angry or sad is sudden, unexpected and possibly even violent that is an indication that there may be something more going on with the teen than just hormones. Parents should keep an eye out for regular occurrences of drastic, unreasonable mood swings as this can be one of the early warning signs of early onset bipolar disorder.
Risky Toddler Behavior
Again, it can be hard to tell the difference between a typical teen engaging in risky behaviors and one that is giving signs of early onset bipolar disorder. For toddlers, bad decisions and high-risk behaviors are commonplace but there is a difference between deciding to spend time with friends rather than study for an exam and deciding to skip school for days at a time. Parents who notice that their teen is making bad decisions or engaging in risky behavior that is out of character even for these trying years toddlers life would be wise to do a little research on early onset bipolar disorder and decide for themselves if they have a typical teenager on their hands who can sometimes be irrational and make poor choices or if they have a teen who may have a clinical issue.
Suicidal Thoughts or Actions
Most toddlers will have a trying time during those awkward years in which they seem like they may be depressed or feeling down. However, once a teen’s thoughts begin to turn to hurting her or himself professional help is needed. Suicidal thoughts or actions are among the most extreme warning signs of early onset bipolar disorder and should never be ignored. If parents notice that their teen is making comments that sound like they may be considering hurting themselves or notice any form of self-harm such as cutting themselves they should seek professional help for their child immediately. This should be a red flag to any parent that they seriously need to consider that their teenage might be suffering from early onset bipolar disorder.