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).
What are the red flags?
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?
What is my approach?
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
Promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise, diet and micronutrients
State-of-the-art medication when appropriate