Let’s face it, raising a teenager is difficult even on a good day. That is because being a teen is difficult. But when your child is having a meltdown because she cannot find the right color nail polish to match her belt or enraged because he cannot use the car, it is a nightmare. Teens are going through so many different changes in their bodies and in their daily lives that they can be sweet as pie one minute and act like they want to kill you another. So, how do you know whether your teen is just being dramatic or if they may have a mental health condition that needs to be addressed?
Normal Teen Behavior
It is not easy to describe normal teen behavior. Just like trying to describe what a normal adult should act like, all of us are different so what do we accept as “normal?” Well, some of it is just common sense. If your teen has become withdrawn, isolated, and doing badly in school, it may be time to sit them down and have a chat with them. Honestly, that is what it is all about: communication. If you talk to your child on a regular basis, preferably several times a day if you can, you will be more likely to notice when something changes. For example, if you talk to each other every day and you make yourself available to your child, they are more likely to come to you if they have a problem or want to talk about something.
Many people know it as manic depression but it is the same thing, and yes, it is a debilitating and serious disorder that needs treatment. Most people with the disorder will need both medication and therapy to maintain a good quality of life. Imagine having this as a teenager. For several days you feel like you can do anything, you love everyone and want to do things, lots of things, and who needs sleep? Then all of a sudden, you hit a wall and feel so weak and hopeless that you cannot even get out of bed. You are tired for days and do not even want to get up, let alone take a shower, get dressed, and go to school. As an adult this is hard but as a teen, it can be life-threatening. Your parents are telling you to get out of bed and go to school or you are grounded forever and once you finally do get up and go, you have to deal with your “friends” who are messing with you and teachers yelling at you to wake up or go to the principal’s office. Wow, it is just too much.
Talking to your teen about how they are feeling is vital whether they have bipolar disorder or not. Keeping yourself open to communication is important so your teen knows if they do need to tell you something that they can. So, what are some of the signs of bipolar disorder? There are two phases of bipolar disorder so the symptoms can vary a great deal. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most common symptoms include:
- Manic Phase
- Feeling happier or more energetic than usual
- Speaking quickly and about many different things
- Unable to focus on any one thing
- Short tempered
- Not sleeping but not tired either
- Friendly with anyone, including strangers
- Risky behavior
- Depressive Phase
- Feeling sad or hopeless for no obvious reason
- Lack of energy, extreme sleepiness
- Not wanting to get out of bed
- Ignoring family and friends
- Lack of interest in activities usually enjoyed
- Eating more or less than usual
- Random aches and pains or stomach issues
- Talking about hurting themselves or others
Talk to Someone
No matter what, if you believe your teen may be bipolar or is having any of these symptoms, you need to talk to someone right away. Do not wait to “see if it will go away.” Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens and young adults. Help for you is just a text or phone call away. Online therapy is becoming very popular, especially with young adults, because it is easy, fast, and can be done from anywhere. You do not even have to leave the house or make an appointment.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.