Our Latest Blogs

Spotting Bipolar Disorder in Teens

moody teen

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition the symptoms of which are often deeply misunderstood. It can be easily mistaken for other mental health issues, or even brushed away as a natural part of being a teenager, another factor which helps to camouflage it in adolescents. Bipolar disorder is, however, a mental health issue which finds itself high up in the order in terms of the collective subconscious, with most people having heard about it and a good percentage of people knowing someone who has it. Contrary to popular belief and what some fictional realizations of the illness portray, bipolar disorder is not as simple as being happy one second and sad the next. So, with all of that being pointed out, let’s take a look at some more concrete ways for spotting and identifying bipolar disorder in teens.

Mania vs Depression

The key thing to understand in looking for bipolar disorder in teens is the mania and depression spectrums and the fact that these two spectrums alternate frequently and often unconnected to the events and experiences of the teen’s life. “One of the hardest things about spotting bipolar disorder in teens is the fact that the hormones at play for a teenager can occasionally inspire behavior that somewhat resembles that of a sufferer of bipolar disorder, which can lead to misdiagnoses”, notes Erica Hernandez, health blogger at BritStudent. Identifying your teen as having two distinct and strongly felt states is an important first step to discovering if the disorder exists in him or her.

Understand The Symptoms Of Mania

Mania isn’t happiness. It can appear like happiness, but it’s an imbalance in the brain, not an emotion linked to real life events. The list of potential behaviors of teens experiencing mania is frustratingly broad but important to be able to recognize. They might seem euphoric, completely enthused by everything that they encounter. They could act immature for their age. Even though mania is wrongly associated with happiness, having a short temper is also a sign of mania. Inability to focus, talking quickly and switching topics often as well as other ADHD-like phenomena are also common. Other potentially harder to deal with or notice behaviors include engaging in high-risk pursuits, like gambling or petty crime, and an obsession with sex or sexual talk are also traits of an individual experiencing an episode of mania.

Understand The Symptoms Of Depression

Unlike mania, depression is an area which most people, no matter how inexperienced in the field of mental health, seem to think they understand. Sadly, this can make it even more difficult to identify it as part of bipolar disorder, partly because a lot of people misunderstand depression and partly because it’s difficult to see it as a part of bipolar disorder. There’s no such thing as a definitive list for either mania or depression symptoms, but there are a few things that you can look out for. Teens in the depression phase of bipolar disorder might have and express feelings of total sadness, feelings of worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts. They might also be unable to enjoy things they normally would love, and you might find them to be listless. “There are more physical responses to depressive episodes as well. You might see individuals sleep for hours on end or hardly sleep at all. Their appetite could be extreme, meaning either constantly hungry or not hungry at all and they also might experience constant bouts of headaches and/or stomach aches”, writes Wade Collier, mental health writer at NextCoursework. Keeping a vigilant eye out for all of these symptoms is a great way to give yourself the best chance of spotting the presence of bipolar disorder.


The best way to identify bipolar disorder is to be screened for it by a professional. This is also the fastest route to effective treatment, therapy, and medication. Without the confirmation of a professional you also won’t know for certain either way as to the presence of the illness, so please pursue this if in doubt. Hopefully these ways of spotting bipolar disorder will give you some ways to get started on investigating and treating the disorder.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

Contact a Resource Specialist

Emily Marchant is a marketing manager at Academicbrits and Originwritings. She is responsible for renewing and retaining existing subscribers through campaigns that involve newsletters, sponsored content, partnerships, ads and events. An excellent project manager and a team player, she also contributes to the blog over at PhdKingdom.

Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

Recommended for You

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 thoughts on “Spotting Bipolar Disorder in Teens

  1. Gooden Center says:

    Bipolar disorder is a confusing condition, especially for someone viewing it from the outside. If you have a friend or relative living with bipolar, this person may be reluctant to share how they feel. Because this can make it hard to know how the illness affects them, reading first-hand accounts of other people living with bipolar can help you understand the condition from their perspective.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *