Bipolar Disorder

by Varun R

What is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder show up differently in different people. Kids who have bipolar disorder may experience particularly rapid mood changes and may have some of the other mood-related symptoms listed below, such as irritability and high levels of anxiety. A person with bipolar disorder will go through episodes of mania (highs) and at other times experience episodes of depression (lows). These aren't the normal periods of happiness and sadness that everyone experiences from time to time. Instead, the episodes are intense or severe mood swings, like a pendulum that keeps arcing higher and higher.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Mania
  • racing speech and thoughts
  • increased energy
  • decreased need for sleep
  • elevated mood and exaggerated optimism
  • increased physical and mental activity
  • excessive irritability, aggressive behavior, and impatience
  • poor judgment
  • reckless behavior, like excessive spending, making rash decisions, and erratic driving
  • difficulty concentrating
  • inflated sense of self-importance

  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • prolonged sad or irritable mood
  • loss of energy or fatigue
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • sleeping too much or inability to sleep
  • drop in grades and inability to concentrate
  • inability to experience pleasure
  • appetite loss or overeating anger, worry, and anxiety
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Other Names and Forms

  1. Bipolar I
  2. Bipolar II
  3. Cyclothymic Disorder
  4. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

How it is Diagnosed

Diagnosing bipolar disorder can be difficult. As yet, there aren't any laboratory tests like a brain scan or blood test that will diagnose it. In teens, bipolar disorder can sometimes be mistaken for illnesses like schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other depressive disorders. That's why a complete, detailed history is so important.

How is it Treated

This team of medical professionals, together with the teen and family, develop what is called a treatment plan. Teens with bipolar disorder will probably receive medication, such as a mood stabilizer, from a psychiatrist or other medical doctor.

Interesting Fact

1 out of 3 people with the Bipolar disease commit suicide