ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION OR BIPOLAR DISORDER?
On occasion, parents of students enrolling at Wolf Creek Academy will be concerned as to whether their child has been accurately diagnosed. Particularly in adolescents, bipolar disorder and depression can mistakenly be diagnosed if all previous symptoms are not disclosed and explored.
Dr. Gabriela Cora’, MD, MBA, Managing Partner at the Florida Neuroscience Center, in Fort Lauderdale and Miami and President of the Executive Health and Wellness Institute states:
“For a person to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they just need to have one manic episode”.
Bipolar Disorder, also called Manic-Depression Disorder, causes extreme shifts in moods. They may swing from highs of feeling on top of the world, making very erratic decisions, large purchases, shopping sprees, acting totally “out of character” (the manic state) and then enter the depressive state with feelings of guilt and hopelessness or suicidal with a few weeks of normal moods in between.
Symptoms of Mania will include:
- Being overly happy, excited, or overly optimistic
- Being overly energetic and needing little sleep
- Having rapid speech with racing thoughts
- Feeling invincible
- Acting impulsively, taking excessive risks, exercising poor judgment
- Inability to remain focused on one thing with restlessness
- Being easily agitated or angered
Dr. Cora’ explains, “Typically, a manic phase will last six to nine months, during which time the person with bipolar will act out of character and seem to be off”.
If manic symptoms are not recognized, the condition may be diagnosed as major depression. It is imperative that close family members participate in the assessment in order that full disclosure of all previous behaviors be disclosed to promote an accurate diagnosis.
In adolescents, hypomania may be mistaken for normal adolescent behavior or those being diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If left untreated, it may progress to severe mania. Therefore, early intervention is imminent for the well-being and safety of the adolescent suspect of bipolar disorder.
Once an accurate diagnosis is made, either disorder, bipolar or depression, can be easily treated and managed with the help of appropriate medication and psychotherapy.
We, at Wolf Creek Academy, strive to help parents and their child’s doctor gain all helpful information in order to assess and arrive at a clear and accurate diagnosis for the optimum of treatment.