Bipolar disorder

Some young people do experience normal ups and downs. It is when the mood swings are extreme, episodic, and accompanied by shifts in energy levels, sleep, and impact on day-to-day functioning, bipolar disorder should not be ruled out.

A young person with bipolar disorder may have manic episodes (euphoria), depressive episodes, or “mixed” episodes (both manic and depressive).

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What are the red flags?

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These are a number of red flags that you and/or you child might notice during a manic episode:

Intense euphoria for long periods of time

Grandiose and inflated view of own capabilities

Have a very short temper or seem extremely irritable

Talk fast about a lot of things

Have trouble staying focused and experience racing thoughts

Insomnia or significantly decreased need for sleep, but not feel tired

Risky and reckless behaviours that show poor judgment


These are a number of red flags that you and/or you child might notice during a depressive episode:

Unprovoked sadness for long periods of time

Increased irritability, anger, or hostility

Feel hopeless and worthless

Loss of energy and no interest in activities once enjoyed

Increase in the amount of sleep

Eat too much or too little

Have recurring thoughts of death or suicide


Why this is happening?

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The exact causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, but several factors may contribute such as:

Genetic predisposition

Adversity, trauma, and stressful life events

Young people with bipolar disorder can other conditions at the same time such as alcohol and drug misuse, ADHD, and anxiety.

What is my approach?

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As a first step, I will carry a thorough evaluation with you and/or your child. Screening questionnaires, physical examination or liaison with other professionals and school will be provided if you wish.

Once the condition(s) is identified, I will develop a personalized treatment plan jointly with you and/or your child based on personal needs. The treatment will include an integrated approach to achieve optimal mood.

This can include:

Information and support to better understand and cope (psychoeducation)

Personal development and self-improvement

Person-centred talking therapy such as interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, play therapy, social skills therapy

Tailored learning techniques and/or behaviour learning plan with school when appropriate

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Mind-body centre exercise to increase the relaxation response

Empower parents through positive parenting techniques

Family therapy

Promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise, diet and micronutrients

Sleep therapy

State-of-the-art medication when appropriate


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55 Harley Street, London W1G 8QR
Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 6 pm

Appointments: 020 3488 6250

Fax: 020 3745 0225
Email: secretary.drsala@londonpsychiatry.clinic

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