For parents the idea that their unruly or moody teenager might have early onset bipolar disorder is usually the last thing that they would think of. Teens are, after all, well known for being irrational, moody and occasionally depressive. It is not uncommon to hear a depressed teen mention suicide, though that does not mean that it should be ignored. However, it can be hard to tell the difference between typically irrational teenagers and those that might be exhibiting early warning signs of early onset bipolar disorder. In order to tell whether your teen is just hyper or experiencing a manic episode here are a few of the early warning signs of early onset bipolar disorder as well as ways to cope with a diagnosis.
Drastically Improved Mood
If just a few days ago you dark and moody teenager was making casual mention of suicide, first of all seek professional help for them. However, if you notice that shortly thereafter they seem to have a marked improvement in their mood they may be experiencing a manic episode meaning you have much more than just typical teenage depression on your hands. Sudden bursts of energy and cheerfulness after a period of sluggish and depressive behavior can be an indication that someone is amiss and it could be early onset bipolar disorder. Other signs relating to a manic episode can include things like risky behavior (promiscuous sex, substance abuse), over confidence and delusional, yet positive thinking. If you notice your teen exhibiting these symptoms you may consider seeking professional help for them.
Drastically Lowered Mood
Extreme lows are the other side of the early onset bipolar disorder coin. If you notice that your chipper, talkative teen is suddenly sullen, withdrawn and making mention of dark subjects like suicide you would be wise to seek counseling for them at the very least. Such behavior, especially after and extremely high mood can be indicative of a number of psychological disorders so you should consult a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. Certainly if at any time your teen makes mention of suicide or self-harm you should seek professional help for them but when this comes after a period of extreme happiness early onset bipolar disorder may be the culprit.
Coping With Early Onset Bipolar Disorder
Early onset bipolar disorder can be a tough diagnosis for a teen. A teen with bipolar dating someone that does not understand that disorder can run into all sorts of very emotional tumultuous situations, further inflaming their condition. However, with proper treatment families, loved ones and even the patients themselves can learn to cope with their diagnosis. Sure, the manic episodes and instances of psychosis can be hard to take but with the right network of support and enough stable, loving relationships this psychological disorder can be effectively managed. With the right form of treatment teens with early onset bipolar disorder and their families can learn to cope with their diagnosis and lead a healthy, happy and above all fulfilling life.