He said, “I didn’t know what was going on or if it could be treated.” He added that for parents of teenagers who have a hard time identifying abnormal behavior in teenagers, “it is sometimes difficult to distinguish what is an illness and what is normal grandiosity or normal sadness caused by breaking up with a girlfriend could have been caused “. “.
Burmaher stressed that although young people with bipolar disorder often experience repeated major depressive episodes, “episodes of depression are not necessary to make a diagnosis”. In some cases, mania is the main symptom.
When depression is the symptom that prompts people to seek professional help, making a proper diagnosis can be especially difficult. As Ketter explained, sometimes people with depression cannot remember previous episodes of mania that occurred when they were not depressed.
Miklowitz mentioned that one of the first signs of bipolar disorder is “emotional dysregulation,” which means the child feels angry or depressed at a certain moment and feels excited, happy, and full of ideas shortly afterwards.
He made a list of characteristics that can help parents distinguish these extremes from the normal ups and downs of adolescence. Some of these symptoms, many of which should be obvious to those around them, are “delusions of grandeur, decreased need for sleep, accelerated or hasty speaking and / or cunning thinking, delusional ideas, distractions, excessive goal-oriented activity, and risky and impulsive behavior,” said Miklowitz.
As for the symptoms of depression, he suggests observing whether “there is some deterioration in normal activities; For example, if the child is suddenly absent from school or is late, does not finish homework, falls asleep in class, the grade drops, does not want to eat with others, talks about suicide or injures himself. “
Depending on the severity of the respective deterioration, if non-life-threatening symptoms are found in adolescence, it is possible to initiate psychotherapy and avoid drugs with side effects, said Miklowitz.