Detecting adolescent bipolar disorder can sometimes be difficult as teenagers in general are often affected by mood swings and its symptoms can be confused with those of other mental conditions which often start during youth. However, there is a difference in intensity and frequency between the mood swings of adolescents with bipolar disorder and other adolescents, which enable the professional to establish a diagnostic. These mood changes will often degrade the relationship the teen has with its peers at school and parents at home.

Adolescent bipolar disorder is characterized by bouts of mania, depression and sometimes mixed states (depression and mania). These periods of mania and depression are separated by "normal" states except in extreme cases where depression and mania cycle rapidly. Adolescent bipolar disorder can be inherited, the likelihood of a child having manic depressive disorder (the other name for bipolar disorder) being greater if there already are instances of the condition in the family. Self medication is not advised as attempting to treat one symptom can worsen the other. Like with any medical condition, always consult with a professional beforehand.

Adolescent bipolar disorder is characterized by various symptoms, both for the manic and depressive states. For the manic state, symptoms include: extreme changes in mood, hightened self-esteem, energy boost, restlessness, increased sexual desire and more. For the depressive state symptoms include: irritability, loss of interest, apathy, difficulties to focus, dark thoughts and more. Adolescent bipolar disorder can be linked to physical pains like muscle aches and can increase the chances of substance abuse, like alcohol.

It has been observed that bipolar disorder in adolescents is often more severe than in adults in that there are more instances where there is rapid cycling between manic and depressive states. Also it has been observed that adolescent bipolar disorder is often compounded by other mental disorders like ADD/ADHD. In adults, cases of bipolar disorders with ADHD are less frequent. If you suspect your child of suffering from bipolar disorder, bringing him to a psychiatrist or psychologist for evaluation is important. A specialist will be able to shed some light on the proper medication to use, which can be tricky, especially if the teen also suffers from ADHD.

Treatment for adolescent bipolar disorder is modeled on those of adults. Mood stabilizers like valproate and/or lithium are typically employed. It is always wise to complement the use of medication with some form of therapy for maximum efficiency. Studies on the best treatment for adolescent bipolar disorder are currently under way to one day better treat the condition in teenagers.