Juvenile Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

March 16, 2012 — 1,035 views  

Bipolar disorder, the commonly used term for what was previously referred to as manic depression, is often discussed but sometimes misunderstood. Special education professionals must be able to determine whether or not these behaviors are genuinely indicative of this type of juvenile bipolar disorder, to quickly determine a course of treatment.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that over 50 percent of all bipolar disorder cases begin in people below the age of 25. Signs can surface in childhood, but late adolescence is a more common time for the disorder to arise.

Symptoms are either "manic" or "depressive" - hence the disorder's original name. On the manic side, signs include prolonged periods of excessive happiness, a lack of focus, restlessness and impulsive and high-risk behaviors. Negative or depressive behaviors include a lack of interest in work or activities, feeling tired, sleeping too much (or too little) and morbid or suicidal thoughts and actions.

If a teenager you are working with exhibits these symptoms and his or her family contains a history of bipolar disorder or mental illness, he or she may in fact be bipolar. In other instances, the condition arises out of abnormalities in the brain that have no relation to genetic tendencies.

An experienced mental health professional will deliver the most accurate assessment regarding this issue. If the specialist determines a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, it can be treated through a combination of medications and psychotherapy - such as antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.