The Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers have programs designed to help teenagers deal with rapid mood swings and feelings of depression. Our staff members treat a wide variety of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. To make an appointment at a treatment center in Los Angeles or Malibu, please contact Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers at 866-889-3665.

Learn About Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Depression and bipolar disorder are mood disorders that share many of the same symptoms. Both disorders are characterized by feelings of sadness and listlessness. When experienced for short periods of time, these emotions are normal, but more long-term depressive disorders can affect how a person thinks and acts.

People with depression may have trouble engaging in normal, day-to-day activities. They may also feel like life is not worth living. Examples of specific depressive disorders include dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, and situational depression.

In addition to symptoms of depression, people with bipolar disorder also experience periods of elevated mood. While many people associate “elevated mood” with happiness or euphoria, it can also refer to feelings of irritability or anger. During periods of mania, people with bipolar disorder can also display symptoms of psychosis.

Symptoms & Signs of Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Depression and the depressive phase of bipolar disorder share a number of symptoms, including:

  • Feelings of sadness, listlessness, or hopelessness
  • Feelings of fear, worry, or anticipation (see anxiety for more information)
  • Increased feelings of anger and irritability
  • A loss of interest in hobbies, entertainment, and even sex
  • Abnormal sleep patterns, including oversleeping and insomnia
  • A lack of energy or willpower that goes beyond tiredness
  • A change in appetite that can differ from person to person
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Mild to moderate physical discomfort, including headache and muscle pain

While bipolar disorders exhibits many of the same symptoms as depressive disorders, it is also characterized by significant mood swings. During the manic phase, symptoms include:

  • An inflated need of self or increased self esteem
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts and increased levels of talkativeness
  • Increased activity with regard to a particular area (hobbies, work, school)
  • Erratic, unusual behavior, including overspending and sexual promiscuity

Variations in severity are indicative of a “hypomanic episode,” while variations in duration may indicate a different type of depressive disorder, including bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, or cyclothymic disorder.

Treating Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Treatment for depressive and bipolar disorders includes psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, and possible hospitalization. Psychotherapy is most common immediately after diagnosis and helps to prevent symptoms from returning. For teenagers, it’s important to get professional treatment to prevent any long-term psychological damage.