Childhood bipolar disorder (CBD) or adolescent bipolar disorder (ABD) is a highly treatable psychiatric condition. Unfortunately, there is no wholesale cure for bipolar disorder. However, adolescent mental health treatment adapted to an individual’s temperament and needs can be highly effective in allowing individuals living with bipolar disorder to lead healthy lives. If you suspect that a child you love may have bipolar disorder, seek professional guidance and support as soon as possible.

At Fort Behavioral Health, we have the knowledge and experience to provide world-class adolescent mental health treatment and family support services. Contact us today at 844.332.1807 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.

What Is Adolescent Bipolar Disorder?

Many people have heard of bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic depression, but most don’t know that bipolar disorder is one of the most common developmental disorders. Bipolar disorder is most commonly distinguished by intense mood swings that alternate from extremely high to exceptionally low energy and activity levels. Mania is a period of euphoria, while depression is an intense period of dysphoria.

During the manic phase, an adolescent with bipolar disorder may exhibit distinct and concerning changes in behavior. For example, they may make rapid-fire decisions that don’t align with their personality or engage in active self-sabotage. They may also be unable to process guilt or take responsibility for their actions in a euphoric state.

During the depressive phase, there may be little energy or motivation for task completion, and relationships with others may suffer from withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to poor social functioning and academic performance.

Manic and depressive episodes can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months, or even longer. For young people, these cycling phases can be especially traumatic because they are easily be mistaken for personality traits. This, in turn, contributes to diminished self-esteem and self-worth or the sense that something is innately wrong with them.

Causes of Adolescent Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can affect any young person, which can arise at any age. It doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, or sexuality. Bipolar doesn’t discriminate against socioeconomic status, and it certainly doesn’t discriminate against intellectual ability or other traits.

Most people experience periods of mood swings, depression, or anxiety at one time or another in their lives. What distinguishes bipolar disorder from usual mood fluctuations is the consistent and cyclical nature of the swings and the fact that this mania-depression cycle disrupts living.

Some people don’t develop bipolar disorder until later in life; others experience these symptoms as children or adolescents. Puberty can trigger the onset of bipolar symptoms, for example. However, little is definitively known about the root causes of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Adolescents with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk for developing severe mental health issues later in life, including depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.

There are four effective forms of treatment for bipolar disorder that are typically discussed and implemented in combination with one another.

These treatment methods include:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavioral interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family therapy

Often, the combination of treatments must evolve as the individual matures. Differentiating between these different forms of treatment and measuring their impact on mood and behavior over time involves close observation and trial and error. Therefore, it’s imperative to integrate family therapy into the mix, so that loved ones can assist the adolescent in identifying when treatment needs tweaking. Furthermore, when treating adolescent bipolar disorder, it’s crucial that their adult guardians understand the treatment process and can implement strategies to help their child’s progress in getting better.

Contact Fort Behavioral Today for Help with Adolescent Bipolar Disorder

At Fort Behavioral Health, our team is ready to employ a vast reservoir of resources, expertise, and experience to support you and your family and provide treatment for adolescent bipolar disorder. We can help. Reach out to us online or at 844.332.1807.


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You don’t have to face the journey of recovery by yourself. There are people out there ready to help with what you’re going through. Reach out to someone for support today.

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