THE SOURCE: EDUCATION TOPICS

Bipolar Disorder

BIPOLAR DISORDER

Bipolar Disorder is more than just having frequent changes in mood or changing one’s mind.

Everyone’s mood changes depending on what’s happening around them, what they are doing and what they are thinking about. Sometimes those things or thoughts happen quickly and our emotions change quickly in reaction.

For children, this happens even more often since they are still learning how to regulate their emotions, which is a normal part of their developmental process. (To learn more about self-regulation, visit the Behavior page).

The main characteristic of bipolar disorder is to have sustained periods of depression and mania that negatively impact the person’s daily life.

The Source | Education Topics | Bipolar Disorder

The diagnosis of bipolar requires evaluation by a mental health professional who will first rule out other causes.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the “highs” of bipolar disorder (also called manic episodes or, in less severe cases, hypomanic episodes) are marked by a combination of symptoms.

The “highs” may include:

• decreased need for sleep •
• restlessness •
• irritability •
• grandiosity •
• excessive energy and activity •
• rapid, pressured talking and racing thoughts •
• poor judgment and risky behavior •
• a feeling that nothing can go wrong •

The “lows” (also called depressive episodes)
may involve feelings of:

• constant sadness or anxiety •
• changes in appetite or sleep patterns •
• low energy •
• restlessness •
• irritability •
• thoughts about death •
• loss of interest in favorite or pleasurable activities •

Further Reading

From The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens.

Julie Fast from Bipolar Magazine talks about what she would change about the perception others have of bipolar disorder.

Author AJ Mendez encourages those who are newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has two handouts that explain bipolar disorder to caregivers and young adults.

Find more resources at bphope.com.

The Source • Youth Mental Health Network

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