Young Adults and Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is prevalent among young adults and adults. It is estimated that around 4.4% of adults experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives. Bipolar disorder signs and symptoms typically start in early adulthood, and one’s late teen years. 

Though children and adults can have this disorder, it is more likely to find bipolar disorder in late teens and early adults, especially if the disorder runs in one’s family. This disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Because of this, it is essential to notice the signs of bipolar disorder and develop a treatment plan in order to cope with symptoms. 

Defining Bipolar Disorder

There are three types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder. Those with bipolar disorder experience mood swings – known as manic and depressive episodes – that change behavior, energy levels, and activity levels. While symptoms of each type of bipolar disorder are similar, those with bipolar II disorder and cyclothymic disorder experience less-intense symptoms of mania, known as hypomanic episodes.

Bipolar I Disorder

Bipolar I disorder involves at least seven-day-long manic episodes followed by two weeks of depression. Mixed episodes, when depression and mania overlap during the same time, can also occur. In bipolar I disorder, episodes of mania can often lead to hospitalization depending on how severe the level of mania is. 

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II disorder mainly involves depressive episodes followed by hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe version of mania present in bipolar I disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder

The third type of bipolar disorder is cyclothymic disorder, involving hypomania and depressive symptoms. However, these symptoms are not drastic enough to be considered manic and depressive “episodes.”

Being Aware of the Signs

Though bipolar disorder is associated with mood swings, there are separate and corresponding symptoms or signs for both manic and depressive episodes. Some signs associated with mania are irritability, wavering sleep habits, quick speech or movements (often jumpiness), and an over-inflated sense of self. 

When this period of mania subsides, followed by a depressive episode, behaviors alter and may include an increase in anxiety or sadness, trouble with concentration or focus, trouble completing tasks, and having a much slower take on the day. While these are not all of the signs associated with each episode, it is essential to be aware of them.

These symptoms often go unnoticed by the individual, who may not recognize these symptoms as part of a disorder. If you notice a friend or loved one going through these episode experiences, it is wise to help them seek or recommend treatment. Especially with young adults, encouraging them to seek treatment of some kind early on will help them long-term in their mental health journey and in their lives.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Treatments for bipolar disorder are lifelong. Bipolar disorder treatment most often includes prescribed medication alongside psychotherapy to manage symptoms and improve mental health long-term. Other treatment options may also include natural products and individual practices to ease anxieties or moods. However, these practices are most effective when implemented alongside medications or therapy.


The most common medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. However, medications always have the possibility of surfacing side effects such as nausea, sleepiness, or dizziness. When taking medication for bipolar disorder, it is imperative to consult with a medical professional who can monitor side effects. 


The most recommended form of psychotherapy used to treat bipolar disorder is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT encourages individuals to change their thinking patterns to help them change their behavior. 

Other types of psychotherapy used to treat bipolar disorder include: 

  • Interpersonal and social therapy
  • Psycho-education
  • Chronotherapy

Seeking an Intervention for Those Struggling With Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder commonly goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in young adults. When someone is experiencing a depressive episode, they are more likely to seek help than when they are experiencing a manic episode. This often leads to the misdiagnosis of depression. Others may write off the symptoms of bipolar disorder as normal “mood swings.” When this happens, people can go undiagnosed for years. 

With misdiagnosed and undiagnosed bipolar disorder, individuals will continue to struggle. Bipolar disorder can affect every area of a person’s life, from daily life to social relationships and work. When you notice a loved one is struggling, seeking help as soon as possible is imperative. 

An intervention can help bring awareness to a person’s behaviors. With the help of a professional interventionist, you can help your loved one seek an accurate diagnosis and treatment. The goal of an intervention is to help your loved one live the life they deserve.

Intervention With A New Hope Recovery

At A New Hope Recovery, we implement our four-step intervention process to help those struggling with mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder. We can help assess the situation, plan and implement the intervention, and get your loved one to treatment safely.

When young adults struggle with bipolar disorder, it can affect their entire lives. A New Hope Recovery can help you plan an intervention that can save your loved one’s life. Through our four-step intervention process, those struggling with bipolar disorder can find the treatment they deserve. Using evidence-based motivational techniques and a family-systems-oriented approach, we want to help your loved one become willing to accept treatment and find recovery. We also offer case management and counseling services to ensure you, your loved one, and your family has everything they need to heal. To learn more about our services and how we can help those struggling with bipolar disorder, call A New Hope Recovery today at (407) 501-8490.