Bipolar Disorder In Teenagers

Bipolar disorder in teenagers is usually caused by either a chemical imbalance or heredity. Some of the symptoms include mood swings that are extremely high or low and depression. Adolescent bipolar disorder is usually treated with medication because extreme mood swings and depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. This condition can make a person feel very euphoric at times where energy levels are very high and may include creative productivity. Other times a person make feel so fatigued and irritable that functioning normally is almost impossible. Mania episodes are also experienced with this condition and the symptoms usually include racing thoughts, becoming involved in extreme activities, becoming easily distracted and being more focused.

Depression is often experienced in those that have this condition and symptoms that may surface include loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, feeling like life is hopeless, feeling guilty, changes in sleeping habits, changes in appetite, problems focusing or making decisions, and thoughts of suicide. Bipolar disorder in teenagers can be seen through behavior changes. Parents should watch for extreme changes in teens, such as, agitation, violent behavior, impulsive tendencies, relationship problems, and substance abuse.

Living with a person who has the symptoms of mania and depression can be very difficult, at times. It is important that the entire family receive counseling and therapy so that they can learn to deal with adolescent bipolar disorder. Since this condition can be an inherited condition there is probably someone else in the family gene pool that has suffered with this condition and may not have understood or realized that it wasn't normal. The most important thing to realize is that treatment is available and is usually very successful. Parents need to be patient with treatment because oftentimes several different types of medication may be tried before finding the right one and anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication may take a while to become truly effective. It may take more than one medication and include a combination of different kinds of treatment.

Counseling helps the person make sense of all the different thoughts and feelings that are experienced by talking about the situation with a professional. Since there aren't any blood tests that are helpful with diagnosing bipolar disorder in teenagers, a physician will make a diagnosis based upon historical behavior of the patient. Most physicians will recommend participation in an ongoing support group for the patient because even with treatment there may be times when episodes are still unbearable. Since adolescent bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness, parents and patients need to understand that even though there will be times when the adolescent is feeling better, medication and therapy shouldn't be stopped. Long-term uninterrupted medicating is very important and should be maintained even when the patient thinks they no longer need to do so.

Participating in religious activities may help patients with this condition. Being involved with church activities including fellowship with other believers, prayer, daily Bible reading, and participating in church support groups give the patient other ways to cope and perhaps a new perspective on the illness. Learning to trust in God by making His promises personal, and believing in the hope that scripture offers can relieve the stress of trying to understand why things happen. "To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79). Learning to pray for guidance and then trusting that the Lord is indeed in control may help tremendously when the adolescent feels overwhelmed by mania episodes and depression. With adolescent bipolar disorder there are times when life is just too overwhelming and there seems to be no hope. Trusting in an omnipotent God helps the individual realize that there is someone who has all the answers and though people are limited in their understanding, He is not.

Keeping a journal to record thoughts and feelings is very helpful to a patient with this mental illness. It can also be helpful for the physician in making a diagnosis and deciding on treatment. It might even be helpful to record sleep habits and try to find some correlation to disturbances with sleep patterns. A big meal late at night or too much caffeine could be playing a part in sleep disturbances. Any info that can be provided to the physician can be helpful with therapy and treatment options for bipolar disorder in teenagers. Since extreme mood swings can affect behavior, doctors may recommend maintaining as much of a balance as possible with a regular exercise program, healthy diet, and being ritualistic on sleep times. It may be difficult for a person with bipolar disorder to do things in moderation. It can be very effective if the patient can work towards having a plan everyday that stays the same throughout the week, this helps to curb the mood swings that may be triggered by unexpected events.

Bipolar Disorder In Children

Bipolar disorder in children is oftentimes misdiagnosed as untreatable ADHD and can lead to unnecessary medication and lack of needed treatment in other areas. Though there is a fine line between the two diseases, major differences in treatment are evident as well as necessary. Symptoms such as irritability, hyperactivity, and distractibility are characteristics of both diseases making both hard to diagnose. However, unique characteristics of childhood bipolar disorder include mood swings, decreased need for sleep, and hypersexuality. A variety of treatment options are available including hypnosis, psychological therapy, medication, and change in lifestyle. Even if a child does not show symptoms specifically assigned to this disease they can develop if other problems are not addressed. Symptoms can occur as early as infancy including the inability to sleep alone and short periods of sleep.

Recognizing whether a child has any of these symptoms may be difficult to determine due to the rapid changes a child goes through in their younger years. Searching for a sense of self and individuality should not be mistaken for bipolar disorder in children. Careful note keeping and consultation with a counselor can help determine if a problem exists without unnecessarily upsetting the child. Issues of depression or any sort of identification of a problem a child may have should be handled very sensitively to sustain trust with the child. Some examples may include when a child doesn't think the rules are meant for them, thoughts of being able to do superhuman things, changing subjects rapidly when speaking, and not being tired after inadequate sleep. Likewise, there are huge mood swings throughout the day no matter what is going on. Drug treatment for childhood bipolar disorder is not yet fully researched, therefore any child taking medication to control symptoms of bipolar disorder in children should be observed very carefully both externally and internally. Some adverse effects of medication include increase depression, dry mouth, stomachache, kidney disease, heart disease, attention problems, social withdrawal, and suicide. With the child's permission, making everyone significant in their life aware of what is going on will create a support system as well as create many more watch dogs for adverse effects of the medication.

There are a couple of classifications of depression that lead to bipolar problems for adolescents: Bipolar NOS, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia. Each categorization shows definite signs of depression, however (in order) are classified according to severity. By dividing bipolar disorder in children into these categories, doctors are more easily able to prescribe medication. In addition, puberty creates another factor in the right type of medication for each level of the condition. While all medications show risk of some side effects, the type of side effect is the determinant of which ones will be least disruptive to the body's natural cycle. Likewise, some symptoms associated with childhood bipolar disorder may be short-term normal developmental actions. The diagnosis is hard and handled carefully. If a child shows at least 4 symptoms for more than 2 weeks, professionals suggest further action taken. Substance abuse and genetic disposition are linked to increased risk of developing this disease. If one parent is diagnosed with bipolar condition a child has up to a 30% risk of developing it sometime in their life. If both parents have been diagnosed then the risk increases up to 75%. Even if neither parent has ever been diagnosed a child still runs up to a 6%, which increases to 25% if any siblings show signs. Even with this diagnosis, history shows a broad spectrum of success from alcoholism to successful politicians. When treated properly through a variety of ways, little of no effect on life should take place. "And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them." (Ezekiel 11:5)

Oftentimes what is recognized as characteristics of this disease are misdiagnosed or end with this diagnosis. Constant reevaluation should take place as well as keeping track of how medications are affecting daily life. Reaction to medication can easily be misdiagnosed as a successive disease to bipolar disorder in children. Diseases that usually occur in concurrence are depression, conduct disorder, oppositional-defiant, ADHD, panic, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, Tourettes syndrome, intermittent explosive, and reactive attachment disorder. Misdiagnosis of any of these diseases includes: borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. Parents are key ingredients to the success of any treatment plan including those successful with the administration of medication. Concentration on making the home environment a place for relaxation as well as positive stimulation is key to the management and cure of any mental illness. Structure also plays an important role in the treatment of childhood bipolar disorder. Keeping stress to a minimum and concentrating on positive self-talk for parent and child can have a tremendous impact on the success of therapy. In addition, careful evaluation of the home environment including the use of cleaning products, quality of water, and outside recreational area can impact the development of anyone living there. Studies show a connection to chemicals in the atmosphere as well as those in man-made products and the mental development of an individual. In addition to these changes, choosing a doctor that complies with the parents wishes as well as shows knowledge of current treatment options will increase success of overall management.

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