Teens who suffer from Bipolar Disorder experience the highs of mania as well as the lows of depression. And depending upon the type of Bipolar Disorder, they may frequently swing back and forth between these states. As a parent, you can help stabilize your teen’s moods. This article will provide a few tips for doing so.
If you’re new to the illness of Bipolar Disorder, supporting your teen through the depression and especially the mania might feel overwhelming. Mania, in particular, can be accompanied with risky behavior, impulsivity, overspending, and other dangerous behavior.
Bipolar is a mood disorder that affects mood, emotions, and perception. Characteristic of this disorder is a swing in moods from depression to mania. This illness will develop in about 1-5% of those under 18 years of old. However, when Bipolar Disorder develops in childhood or early adolescence, it is known as an early-onset form of the mental illness. The typical onset for this mental illness is 25 years of age. Bipolar can begin in childhood and develop as late as 40 years of age. Research now indicates that the mood swings in teens with Bipolar might be more severe than adults with the illness due to the differences in brain development.
If you want to help your teen manage the mood swings, consider the following strategies:
- Document the cycles of your teen’s moods. You might jot down the signs that indicate the beginning of a manic period. This can help you determine when your teen is about to experience an increased level of energy and also prepare you for what may come as a result.
- Make sure your teenager is taking his or her prescribed medication.
- Encourage your teen to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle.
- Chart moods and sleep patterns.
- Encourage your adolescent to avoid alcohol, drugs, and all other substances.
Although you might do your best to prevent any risky situations, sometimes your teen’s behavior might escalate in a manic episode.
Consider the following to help your teen stay safe when a manic episode appears to be getting risky:
- To prevent risky behavior and poor choices, ask that your teen give up the keys to the car if they have one.
- Assert that your child not make any major life decisions while in the middle of a manic episode.
- Strongly advise your teen to not manage large sums of money.
- Minimize the levels of stimulation in the house and, as much as possible, create a sense of serenity at home. This might include keeping the television and radios off.
- Impose appropriate consequences if your teen engages in abusive behavior.
- If your child is experiencing a manic episode and he or she is engaging in risky or dangerous behavior, call the police.
In addition to the above, contact your teen’s psychiatrist. Doing this can not only help minimize escalating manic symptoms, but you also get professional help on your side. The psychiatrist will likely examine the medications your teen is currently taking and make adjustments to the prescription so that the mania is better managed. Staying on top of your teen’s mood swings can help your teen feel safe in the midst of the chaos this illness can create for them.