Formerly known as “manic depression,” bipolar disorder is likely the most widely known mood disorder. It’s also relatively rare – The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports 2.6 percent of adults are affected by the disorder each year. The disorder usually manifests in people in their mid-20s, although it can start in early childhood. Some studies have shown bipolar disorder can run in families.
Mood swings are a normal part of teenage life. Bipolar disorder is far more serious. Sovereign Health knows how disruptive and dangerous bipolar disorder can be if left untreated. Rancho San Diego, our residential bipolar disorder treatment center for adolescents aged 12 to 17, provides our younger patients with a safe, secure place to deal with and manage their illness.
Bipolar disorder consists of two phases. During the manic phase, patients will experience heightened mood, increased energy levels and self-confidence. While this sounds fine, these symptoms run hand-in-hand with poor judgment, risky behavior and an often inflated sense of self. Teens in a manic phase may appear unusually happy or silly and talk rapidly about many different things. In extreme cases, patients may even hallucinate.
The depressive phase lasts much longer and have many of the same symptoms associated with severe depression. An adolescent in the disorder’s depressive phase will feel very sad, deal with feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and may even express thoughts of suicide and death. Additionally, they may also report feeling aches and pains – these are also common depressive symptoms.
Bipolar disorder comes in several types. Bipolar I disorders is the most serious form; patients may experience periods of psychosis during their manic episodes. Bipolar II has less severe symptoms. Finally, cyclothymia is the mildest form of the illness – although the phases may be greater in number and occur more often, they’re much less severe.
The danger of bipolar disorder is twofold: In the manic phase, adolescents may engage in dangerous behaviors, do risky things and even experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex. Meanwhile, the depressive side of the disorder brings in self-harm, including suicide. Suicide is a leading cause of death for adolescents. Bipolar disorder may be a rare illness in most teens, but it’s a dangerous disease that requires professional treatment for bipolar disorder to treat properly.