Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Select An Article

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Font Size

Does Your Teenager Have Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder commonly begins to show itself in the late teens. Bipolar disorder in the teenage years is serious; it's often more severe than in adults. Adolescents with bipolar disorder are at high risk for suicide.

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder in teens frequently goes undiagnosed and untreated. Partly, this is because while symptoms may begin in adolescence, they often don't meet the full diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens may be unusual -- not a straightforward "manic depression." ADHD, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse are often also present, confusing the picture.

Some symptoms that suggest a teenager might have bipolar disorder are:

  • Uncharacteristic periods of anger and aggression
  • Grandiosity and overconfidence
  • Easy tearfulness, frequent sadness
  • Needing little sleep to feel rested
  • Uncharacteristic impulsive behavior
  • Moodiness
  • Confusion and inattention

Other potential symptoms that may indicate the presence of a psychiatric disorder requiring evaluation may include feeling trapped, overeating, excessive worry, and anxiety. Other possible diagnoses in addition to bipolar disorder that should be considered in the setting of symptoms such as these include unipolar (major) depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, adjustment disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder.

It's important to remember that these symptoms can occur in many healthy teens and adults. The time for concern is when they form a pattern over time, interfering with daily life. Children with symptoms that suggest bipolar disorder should be seen and evaluated by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
Pills on blank prescription paper
Learn about this popular bipolar disorder medication.
serious looking young woman
Assess your symptoms.
teen girl in bad mood
How is each one different?
Feeling Ups and Downs
Bipolar or Schizo
Foods to Avoid
Man being scolded by his shadow
lunar eclipse
depressed man
young women not speaking
man talking with therapist