Teen Treatment Center


Bipolar Disorder is one of the most widely misunderstood teen mental health conditions. It is characterized by extreme shifts in mood and energy levels. As a parent, you may think your teen is experiencing “normal” mood changes as they grow up. However, the intense fluctuations in mood caused by bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, are very different from normal teenage moodiness. Educating yourself about the disorder and current bipolar treatment options for teens is crucial in order to cope with your teen’s bipolar disorder as a parent.

Polaris provides a loving, safe environment to help manage bipolar disorders. With support from experienced professionals, your teen will receive specialized care to ensure long-term impact. As an experienced adolescent bipolar disorder treatment center, we understand bipolar diagnoses come with good and bad news. The bad news is that this disorder is almost always a lifetime condition. However, with the help of experienced treatment specialists, bipolar disorders can be managed. Teens can go on to live happy, productive lives.

As an adolescent mental health condition, teen bipolar differs from adults. For example, the frequency and severity of their mood swings may be more noticeable. As a result, more care and attention must be given to them.

treatment for bipolar teens

Know The Symptoms

Often, parents confuse the symptoms of bipolar disorder with other cause, such as substance abuse or an unrelated anxiety disorder. The most common symptoms are apparent as “episodes,” which are described as:

In a manic episode, your teen may seem unusually happy or anxious. They may have a short temper, conduct risky behavior, and have difficulty sleeping. A manic episode could last as long as a week. Other common symptoms include high energy levels, impatience, illogical beliefs, extreme optimism, and impulsiveness, among others.

Your teen may feel sad, sleep too much, and have low self-esteem. Bipolar Disorder may reveal itself as a teen eating disorder during a depressive episode, and your teen may talk openly about suicide. Other common symptoms include agitation, angry outbursts, lack of motivation, heightened sensitivity, apathy, struggles in school, and suicide attempts, among others.
These are periods when the ups and downs of manic and depressive symptoms change over the course of a week or longer. Your teen is likely to have more mixed episodes than an adult with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is different from the changes in mood that are typically observed in teenagers. What makes bipolar disorder distinct is the severity of these changes, the impact they have on the individual’s health, and their external and internal causes. If your teenager systematically exhibits these kinds of behaviors, they may have bipolar disorder. If you believe your teen might have bipolar disorder, you should contact a certified professional in order to receive a proper teen bipolar disorder diagnosis.


Bipolar disorder is diagnosable in up to 3% of American teenagers, but for parents and teenagers alike, this condition can be both confusing and frustrating. This is especially true if they do not understand it entirely.


Genes – Teens with a parent who has bipolar disorder are far more likely to develop bipolar.

Brain abnormalities – Usually as a result of a birth defect.

Anxiety disorders – Teens who have already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder have an increased risk of bipolar disorder.

Though the causes of bipolar disorder are not yet confirmed, the heavy correlation between genetics and the presence of a parent with bipolar disorder helps identify the condition early enough to help make it manageable.


Bipolar disorder can be divided into multiple subtypes. This includes bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymia, rapid cycling, and others. Bipolar I and bipolar II are similar. However, what makes them distinct from one another is their severity:

Bipolar I Disorder – Phases of mania combined with major depression. Bipolar I disorder is more severe than bipolar II disorder. It requires at least one observable episode of mania in order to make a proper diagnosis.

Bipolar II Disorder – Major depression with phases of hypomania. Bipolar II is milder and more difficult to diagnose than Bipolar I.

Cyclothymic Disorder – Depressive and hypomanic symptoms without major depression. With regards to the other variations, cyclothymia is generally considered to be the most mild. However, it is also the least common diagnosis.

Rapid Cycling Bipolar – Does not vary in regards to severity. Rather, the length of each manic and depressive episode is much shorter in length. Only a professional psychologist can distinguish the differences between these variations.

Bipolar Disorder NOS (not otherwise specified) – The common diagnosis if symptoms do not correlate with any bipolar disorder types listed above.


Bipolar disorder is difficult for parents to empathize with. They do not understand what their child or teenager might be feeling.

During an episode of mania, an individual with bipolar disorder experiences a change in brain chemistry that is measurably abnormal. They speak or do things with excessive quickness, demonstrate recklessness, and act without regard for long-term consequences. During an episode of depression, the individual may seem ready to give up on everything and want to be left alone. These feelings cannot simply be suppressed by wishing them away. They are very real and worthy of attention.

Living with teen bipolar disorder is not easy. It makes some tasks that seem simple nearly impossible. School and work become more difficult to manage. Socialization becomes less important, and isolation increases. Overall, the struggle can feel like a heavy weight on their shoulders. However, with patience, kindness, and a willingness to find the best treatment options available, parents can find the help their teens need.


Bipolar disorder, characterized by mood swings that range from depressive lows to manic highs, is typically treated through a combination of methods:

Teen Bipolar Disorder Medication:


  • Mood Stabilizers: These are the cornerstones of treating bipolar disorder. Lithium is the most well-known and has been used for decades. Other mood stabilizers include anticonvulsants.
  • Antipsychotics: If symptoms of depression or mania persist despite treatment with other medications, antipsychotic drugs might be used.
  • Antidepressants: These can be used to manage depressive episodes but are typically prescribed with a mood stabilizer to prevent triggering a manic episode.



  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify and change harmful patterns of thinking and behavior.
  • Family-Focused Therapy: Involves family members. It enhances family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved ones. It may also involve looking at other bipolar disorder resources for families.
  • Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT): Focuses on stabilizing daily rhythms, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising.

Lifestyle Changes:


  • Regular Exercise: Can help manage symptoms.
  • Keeping a Life Chart: Recording daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help patients and their doctors track and treat bipolar disorder most effectively.
Each treatment plan is highly individualized, based on the severity of the symptoms, the patient’s overall health, and their response to previous treatments. It’s crucial for individuals with bipolar disorder to work closely with their healthcare providers to find the most effective treatment plan.


3.4 million
Adolescents and teens in the U.S. struggle with depression. Of those, one-third may develop early-onset bipolar disorder. DBSA
Highly Satisfied

Individuals with bipolar disorder who report being highly satisfied with treatment are able to cope with the illness better than those who don’t receive treatment.

Of teens who have a parent with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop the disorder at some point in their life.
Of adolescents who have been diagnosed with major depression are more likely to develop bipolar disorder within five years. Nimh.nih.gov
3.3% More Female

Bipolar disorder affects female (3.3%) adolescents more than males (2.6%). Nimh.nih.gov

1 in 5
People struggling with bipolar disorder commit suicide. Nimh.nih.gov