A serious misunderstanding about bipolar disorder is that depression is all there is to it, but that's not the case.
Like most mental illnesses, manic depression, the old term for bipolar affective disorder, also indicates medication, but it can be treated to an extent that often allows a patient to return to a reasonably normal life.
Bipolar affective disorder consists of alternate periods of mania resulting in excessive behavior, enthusiasm, energy, sleep deprivation or alternating times of depression that may be triggered by the loss of a loved one, an incapacitating illness or other emotional events. Family, friends and employers are also affected.
Many children with symptoms of mental disorders are not being diagnosed or treated, and the teen years are critical. I advocate for the examination of teenage boys and girls, and if the tests show propensity, then counseling, conferences with a teacher and professional help should be provided.
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The subject of mental health, which is really part of our overall physical health, and the public's knowledge and acceptance of it, has grown in recent years, but it still has a long way to go.