When a teen is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it means they struggle with unusual and severe mood episodes. More than just an ordinary mood swing, bipolar episodes last weeks. At Visions, our teen bipolar treatment centers and programs are personalized to meet each adolescent’s unique recovery needs.

Bipolar disorder is named such because it typically involves both “highs” (manic episodes) and “lows” (depressive episodes). Within the same context, most other mood disorders can be considered “depressive unipolar” disorders, as they present without mania.

While mania can be considered the “polar opposite” of depression, it is not a positive experience. Teens feel excessively stimulated during a manic episode, feeling more impulsive and irritable. Mania can feel unsettling and anxiety-inducing, like speeding on an unlit highway. Regardless of which a teen is feeling, both mania and depression are debilitating and destructive.

Types and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder in Teens

Bipolar disorder is categorized into three types, with a fourth “unspecified” type for cases not matching the first three types. Bipolar symptoms can be difficult to accurately diagnose because a single depressive episode might suggest a different mood disorder, and some manic episodes can be so severe their symptoms are mistaken for schizophrenia. Some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens include:

Bipolar Depression Symptoms

  • Fatigue and oversleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling overwhelmed by simple choices
  • Stress eating
  • Feelings of guilt and loss
  • Lack of motivation for anything

Manic Depression Symptoms

  • Hypomania, which is a milder, functioning form of mania
  • Uncontrollable behavior
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Unpredictable and irritated emotions
  • Reckless decision making
  • Delusional thinking
  • Inappropriate euphoria
  • Increased energy, talking speed, volume
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Potential psychosis (hallucinations)

Not all episodes of mania or depression are created equal. In some cases, a manic episode starts off as hypomanic, and eventually turns into full-blown mania. To help distinguish certain bipolar archetypes, three distinguishing diagnoses were created:

Bipolar I

This diagnosis focuses on manic episodes. Teens with bipolar I might not necessarily experience severe depressive episodes, but they do experience symptoms of severe mania for at least seven days or experience manic symptoms requiring hospitalization. Teens with bipolar I may also have severe depressive episodes.

Bipolar II

This diagnosis implies a teen cycles between severe depression and hypomania. Teens with bipolar II struggle with depression, but not with total mania. Hypomanic episodes are still distinct from normal behavior, but teens can usually function and lead a normal life during a hypomanic episode, with some difficulty.

Cyclothymic Disorder

This diagnosis describes cases of chronic bipolar disorder, with a mood constantly shifting between mild depression and hypomania for at least a full two years. Episodes of normal mood typically last for less than eight weeks in cases of cyclothymic disorder.

Visions’ Teen Bipolar Treatment Centers

Bipolar disorder is a complex diagnosis, and requires that bipolar treatment centers to address its unique nature. Depressive episodes in a bipolar disorder are not usually treated the same way as in a different mood disorder. Medication still plays an important role in bipolar treatment centers and programs, but antidepressants usually play a smaller role. At Visions’ teen bipolar treatment centers, we utilize a multimodal and holistic approach.

Medication

The first-line treatment for bipolar disorder is a mood stabilizer, with common ones being Carbamazepine and lithium. Some drugs are more effective for bipolar I, while others are more effective for bipolar II. Antidepressants might also be prescribed. Medication is often important in severe cases to help suppress the most destructive symptoms and give teens a chance to manage their disorder through other means.

Talk Therapy

Either via groups or one-on-one, talk therapy leverages effective techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help teens recognize and address aberrant and dangerous thoughts, and curb their symptoms.

Alternative Treatments

These are secondary and tertiary treatments complementary to medication and talk therapy, but often necessary to achieve long-lasting progress when combating the symptoms of bipolar disorder. At Visions, alternative treatments are tailored to a teen’s strengths and interests and can include a variety of therapeutic activities and experiential therapies.

OUR ASSESSMENT IS FREE, REQUEST A CALL TODAY

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Bridging the Gap Between Teen Bipolar Treatment and Recovery


At Visions, we understand the importance of combining effective pharmacology with a therapeutic environment, and the guidance and counseling of experienced professionals. Our teen bipolar treatment centers and programs are tailored to each teen, and we go through a lengthy comprehensive psychological evaluation process ,and coordinate with medical professionals to determine the most effective medications, therapies, and treatments for your teen.