How to Parent A Teenager With Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder refers to extreme shifts in mood. As your kid reaches puberty, they experience sudden changes in behavior. However, the problem begins when your teen has random and intense mood swings. Bipolar disorder is more common in adults and teenagers, but some people can develop it in their childhood, too. Kids with bipolar disorder who approach their teenage years have a harder time adjusting to the new changes in their lives. Parents want the best for their children, but raising a bipolar child may be tough and frustrating. We have compiled a few suggestions that can assist you in helping your teen through their struggles.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The first step to parenting a teen with bipolar disorder is to recognize the symptoms. It is important to understand their condition and how it impacts their mental health. Bipolar disorder is different from the usual mood shifts a teen generally experiences. They are more severe and last for a few days. Bipolar disorder causes people to feel a range of emotions from time to time. Manic episodes are the periods when your teen may feel extremely euphoric, making their energy levels increase. They may feel jumpiness and restlessness, which can lead to impulsive decisions and recklessness. A depressive episode is quite the opposite, it causes their energy levels to plummet and result in fatigue. It can make your teen feel a sense of worthlessness and guilt, as well as intensify their anxiety and irritability. Both episodes have the potential to disturb their sleeping and eating patterns. Several other signs can also help you determine the severity of your teen’s disorder. 

How to Help Your Teen With Bipolar Disorder

Science has not found a cure for bipolar disorder yet. It is mainly treated through psychotherapy, medications, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Along with that, there are some ways parents can support teens dealing with bipolar disorder, too.

Do Your Research

Fortunately, we live in times of great technological innovations. We have access to information just at our fingertips, which makes it easier for us to learn about anything and everything. As a parent of a teen with bipolar, it is crucial to educate yourself. Understanding the symptoms of bipolar disorder, the possible treatment, and other illnesses connected to it can prepare you for any serious health problem that may arise in the future. To help your teen, it is important to understand what they are experiencing. There are many articles of this concern you might want to learn more about to emphasize with your child and support them.

Listen With Compassion

It is not easy to handle your teen during manic and depressive episodes, but it is far more difficult for them. Mood shifts can make your teen behave harshly, however, they may regret it and feel bad about it after the episode ends. Having someone to listen to you can be helpful for many mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Teens with bipolar often feel misunderstood and unheard, which causes them to get isolated from others. Lending an ear to your teen will let them know that you are present for them.

Avoid Family Arguments

Arguments are normal in every household, but they can have a negative impact on your teen’s mood. Manic and depressive episodes are linked to family conflicts. As your child is already suffering from a painful mental illness, repetitive and extreme arguments can make things more difficult for them. At times, a family issue may require a solution. So, rather than arguing or discussing the problem in front of your child, you can involve them in solving it. Such activities can teach them problem-solving skills, which can benefit them in the long run.

Develop a Routine and a Healthy Lifestyle 

A regular schedule for your teen’s day-to-day activities can be effective for reducing the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Adolescents don’t react well to disruptions in their routine and a lot of downtimes, which is why it is recommended to plan out their day. Make a predictable schedule for their eating, sleeping, exercises, and social activities, which is easy for them to follow. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, exercise regime, and participation in support groups is also beneficial for supporting bipolar disorder alongside medications.

Encourage Your Teen

Bipolar disorder can make your child fall behind in academics and their class performance. Studies require a high level of alertness and concentration, while bipolar episodes make people lose focus. Rather than being disappointed in your child, you should appreciate whatever efforts he or she makes in school. It is better to get in touch with their teachers to reduce any heavy academic pressure that may be affecting their mental health.

Remember to Look After Yourself

We understand that parenting a teen with bipolar comes with its own set of challenges. It can be draining and difficult to manage at times. Your child needs your support and empathy, but they want you to live a healthy life, too. Don’t hesitate to communicate with other family members or friends who can understand your struggles. If your child has recently been diagnosed, use this as a chance to learn more about their illness and how you can help them. Together, you and your teen can build a healthy life.

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