Bipolar disorder affects adolescents more than many people may realize. According to diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), “an estimated 2.9% of adolescents [age 13-18] had bipolar disorder, and 2.6% had severe impairment. Also, “The prevalence of bipolar disorder among adolescents was higher for females (3.3%) than for males (2.6%).” Now, while these statistics may seem small, based on the current population that’s over half a million adolescents in the U.S. alone who are struggling with a significantly damaging mental health disorder.
What Exactly Is Bipolar Disorder?
According to a publication by authors Jain and Mitra titled Bipolar Disorder, “Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder, is one of the top 10 leading causes of disability worldwide.” Moreover, it “is characterized by chronically occurring episodes of mania or hypomania alternating with depression and is often misdiagnosed initially.” Perhaps the key to understanding bipolar disorder is recognizing its intense emotional peaks and valleys.
Ultimately, bipolar disorder informs some significant characteristics of excitable anxiety as well as intense episodes of deeper depression. However, it should be noted that these highs and lows are not uniform among individuals who struggle with bipolar disorder. For instance, some individuals experience more intense levels of mania accompanied by feelings more akin to persistent depressive disorder (PPD). On the other hand, others may experience more major depressive episodes followed by short-lived periods of hypomania. Thus, there are different classifications of bipolar disorder based on the type and severity of symptoms experienced.
What Are the Types of Bipolar Disorder?
While there are multiple types of bipolar disorder, with some symptoms appearing more severe than others, one should never minimize any diagnosis of a specific type of bipolar disorder. They are all relative to the individual and can be painful and detrimental to everyday life.
There are multiple classifications of bipolar disorder. However, the most common diagnoses include bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymia (also called cyclothymic disorder).
Bipolar I Disorder
First, bipolar I disorder is perhaps the type that most people think of with this disorder. Bipolar I disorder is mainly categorized by the intensity of manic episodes that it causes. These manic episodes can be long-lasting and rather severe, even informing hallucinations and delusions. Depression is often felt on a lesser scale in bipolar I when compared to other types of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar II Disorder
Next, bipolar II disorder is classified by the intensity of depressive symptoms associated with it rather than the magnitude of manic symptoms. In fact, with bipolar II disorder, manic symptoms are often referred to as hypomania because they do not elevate to the scale of full mania. However, depressive episodes can be much more severe in bipolar II disorder compared to the other types of bipolar disorder.
Lastly, cyclothymic disorder shares characteristics of both bipolar I and II disorder, but neither depression nor mania rises to the level of their classifications. These episodes may be less intense in nature, but symptoms may become more pronounced over time. Still, as mentioned earlier, the symptoms of cyclothymic disorder can significantly disrupt an individual’s daily life.
Some Warning Signs of Bipolar Disorder
Being able to spot the warning signs of bipolar disorder can help get your daughter help sooner than later, and thus help to avoid long-term side effects. The following are just a few of the warning signs of bipolar disorder:
- Not sleeping for extended periods of time followed by bouts of depression
- Exhibiting very intense mood swings
- Expressing delusions of grandeur
- Being very easily distracted
- Talking very quickly and expressing unusually prolonged feelings of elation
The Potential Dangers of Untreated Bipolar Disorder
Now, if any of the previously mentioned warning signs of bipolar disorder appear, it is highly recommended that you reach out to professional help. This is because untreated bipolar disorder can impair an individual’s ability to function normally in daily life. For instance, indivdiuals with untreated bipolar disorder can become delusional and harmful to themself and others.
Further, individuals with bipolar disorder are also much more likely to engage in risky behaviors due to the disorder’s potential to disrupt competent judgment. This can lead to risky sexual and poor behavior choices that can also inform the development of other co-occurring disorders. The depression aspect of bipolar disorder can also lead to life-threatening concerns such as self-harm and/or suicidal ideations.
The good news is that there are many effective treatment options for indivdiuals with bipolar disorder. The primary treatment modalities for bipolar disorder include medication and psychotherapy. Generally, a combination of both of these is the most effective way to achieve lasting symptom management from bipolar disorder.
Lighting the Path of Recovery at Clearview Girls Academy
Our mission at Clearview Girls Academy is to ensure that our students don’t just recover at the moment but rather that they acquire the tools they need to go forth and live productive lives free of the distractions of their disorder.
We like to say that we light the path for our students to walk the road of recovery. But that isn’t all. We also pass the light onto them so they can keep the light burning as they tackle the world and become the future leaders of tomorrow.
Bipolar disorder is being diagnosed in adolescent populations more and more. For this reason, it is critical that bipolar disorder continue to be discussed and better understood. This is especially true for parents that either have a daughter struggling with bipolar disorder or who suspect that their child may have a form of bipolar disorder. Treating bipolar disorder sooner than later can be the difference between experiencing short-term side effects and long-term consequences. If you feel like your daughter may be struggling with a type of bipolar disorder, it is important to reach out for professional guidance. For more information on effective treatment options for bipolar disorder, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.