Teen Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme and unpredictable mood swings and fluctuating energy levels, ranging from “manic” highs to depressive lows. Because of these mood cycles, the condition is also sometimes referred to as Teen Manic-Depressive Illness. The fluctuations of Teen Bipolar Disorder are so extreme that they often prohibit teens from being able to function healthily. It’s common for teens struggling with Bipolar Disorder to struggle in school, have difficulty in relationships, and feel overwhelmed by the helplessness of the manic and depressive cycles, which are called “mood episodes.”
One of the most challenging aspects of Teen Bipolar Disorder is what teens are feeling and experiencing can change so extremely so quickly. Teens can be overwhelmed with happiness and an over-abundance of energy one moment, only to then quickly plunge into a debilitating sadness, the next. It’s also possible for teens to experience these symptoms along a spectrum of these two extreme states, or even experience some symptoms of each extreme at once, which is called a “mixed state.”
The high points of these mood waves usually include a variety of accompanying symptoms, including extreme high energy and excitement, bursts of inspiration, and feelings of happiness. Simultaneously, teens can have difficulty concentrating and feel restless, experience extreme insomnia for up to several days at a time, and engage in risky or impulsive behaviors. The low points of the mood waves, or depressive episodes, are the periods when teens feel extreme sadness, apathy, and overall hopelessness. During these low moods, teens might also feel irritable, experience a loss of appetite, a sudden lack of interest and/or care, and suicidal thoughts.
There are five different subtypes of Teen Bipolar Disorder, categorized according to nature of symptoms. These include: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, Mixed Episode Bipolar Disorder, Rapid Cycling Disorder, and Cyclothymia.
Paradigm Treatment Centers Teen Bipolar Disorder Treatment
For teens struggling with Bipolar Disorder, it’s important to get Teen Bipolar Disorder Treatment, as early as possible. The mood cycling can be overwhelming and severe, and the depressive episodes especially can make teens vulnerable to dark thoughts of harming themselves or others. Moreover, because Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder, teens need help in working through the challenging symptoms. At Paradigm Treatment Centers, we work with many young people struggling with Teen Bipolar Disorder and design each treatment plan according to teens’ individual needs, symptoms, experiences, interests, and strengths.
For our Teen Bipolar Disorder Treatment programs, we combine talk therapy and behavioral therapy strategies, along with medication. At Paradigm Treatment Centers, all teens receive individual daily therapy sessions, in which the lead therapists help teens to work through the details and underlying emotional aspects of their current experience. In these sessions, therapists generally want to help uncover potential challenges, stressors, and/or triggers in teens’ lives which need to be addressed. At the same time, in individual, family, and group therapy sessions, therapists teach teens to observe the connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, as well as healthy practices and behaviors that will help teens in navigating both their symptoms and their challenges. We also find that in most cases of Teen Bipolar Disorder, teens benefit greatly from medication, which helps to reduce the extremity and frequency of mood swings, while also helping teens to feel steadier overall. In instances of Co-Occurring Disorders, our psychiatrists also work carefully with teens and families to prescribe medications that most precisely address all symptoms present.
Taken in conjunction with programs that help teens with their other individual needs and goals, our well-rounded holistic approach is designed to go beyond just addressing symptoms of illness, and instead, help teens to become healthier and more empowered, capable individuals, in all areas of their lives.