This is a summary of a pamphlet published by National Institute of Mental Health to inform parents of this illness. Bipolar dx also known as manic depressive dx is marked by unusual mood changes, extreme “ups” and extreme “downs called mania and depression. It is not the same as normal ups and downs which is common for every kid. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful. Bipolar illness makes it difficult to do school work or to get along with friends and family. Bipolar disorder can be dangerous as sometimes young people with this disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide. People with bipolar disorder should get treatment.
In terms of diagnosing bipolar disorder there are no brain scans or blood tests. However a thorough examination including questions about mood, energy sleep and behavior help to diagnose bipolar disorder. Bipolar is marked by depressions and manias. Someone having a manic episode may: Feel very happy or act silly; have a short temper; Talk really fast about a lot of different things; Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired; have trouble staying focused; Talk and think about sex more often; Do risky things. This is contrasted against depressive episodes. Someone having a depressive episode may: Feel very sad; Complain about pain, stomachaches, headaches; Sleep too little or too much; Feel guilty or worthless; Eat too little or too much; Have little energy or no interest in regular activities; Think about death or suicide.
The important thing for a parent is to watch for any sign of suicidal thinking. These signs should always be taken seriously. In Santa Clara County the crisis line for children and teens is 408-379-9085. The Suicide and Crisis line is 1-855-278-4204