Bipolar disorder can develop at any point in a person’s life. However, most people recognize the onset of this disorder in their late teen years. As the parent of a teen, it is important to know the following five facts about this condition, so you can be educated on the topic, and be ready to support and help your teen should they develop Bipolar Disorder.
- Bipolar Disorder is also known as Manic Depressive Disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder is a brain illness that causes very extreme and inconsistent mood swings, causing the person suffering from the disorder to quickly transition between phases of manic and depressive states. These mood swings are not the same as those that teens experience as a normal part of their growth and hormonal development, though. When a teen suffers from Manic Depressive Disorder, their changes in mood will be extremely severe, and often dangerous.
- Bipolar Disorder is not the same thing as Depression.
Bipolar Disorder and Depression are very different conditions. Even though Bipolar teens will experience depressive states where they feel deflated and sad, they will also experience very extreme moments of mania that can lead to intense happiness, manic behavior, changes in sleep, and an inability to focus. While Bipolar Disorder can mimic many of the signals of depression, the manic phases and extreme mood changes associated with Bipolar Disorder can help you differentiate the two conditions from one another.
- The manic phase of Bipolar Disorder is just as dangerous as the depressive phase.
While many Bipolar teens seem to be experiencing great joy and intense happiness during a manic phase, such an extreme mood change can often be just as dangerous as the depressive phase. According to Everyday Health, the manic phase can cause the mind to race, and make it difficult to make good decisions. This results in dangerous activities such as:
- Risk taking
- Impulsive behavior or spending
- Sexual indiscretions
- Aggressive outbursts
- Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- Bipolar disorder affects adults, teens, and children.
According to the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, Bipolar Disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world. This mental illness can affect anyone, at any point in their life. However, most people who develop Bipolar Disorder do so during their late teen, or early adult years. While genetics play a role in determining likelihood of developing Bipolar Disorder, there are other factors such as stress and environment as well.
- Most people are able to effectively manage their Bipolar Disorder.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, more than 5.7 million Americans have Bipolar Disorder. However, with medication, lifestyle changes, family support, and therapy, nine out of ten people with Bipolar Disorder are able to manage their condition, and lead healthy, happy lives.
If you believe that your teenager is suffering from Bipolar Disorder, it is important that you love and support them unconditionally as you help them seek treatment from a medical professional or counselor. While Bipolar Disorder is typically a lifelong mental illness, with strong support and treatment it can be managed, and your teen can live a great life.