Children and teenagers often experience extreme moods and emotions, but these intense emotions are sometimes a sign of a mood disorder. Colleen Copelan, MD, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, based in Camarillo, California, diagnoses and treats juvenile mood disorders like depression, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), and bipolar disorder. Call Dr. Copelan today to schedule a consultation if you’re concerned about your child’s emotional state, mood, or behavior.
Mood disorders are mental health conditions that interfere with your emotional state. They can also interfere with your child’s physical health, social development, and academic success.
Some of the common mood disorders that affect children and teenagers include depression, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), and bipolar disorder. Mood disorders can also co-occur with other mental health issues like anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse.
Children and teens often experience extreme emotions and moods, but this is often a normal part of growing up and the hormonal changes during puberty. It might be challenging to know if your child’s mood is normal or not.
Different mood disorders cause a variety of symptoms:
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are common signs of depression. Your child might also lose interest in previously enjoyed activities, withdraw from friends and family, and their eating and sleeping habits might change.
DMDD causes intense and persistent irritability — your child might be angry or irritable nearly all day, every day. They might also have more than three or four temper tantrums every week. Their outbursts are most likely disproportionate to their developmental level.
Bipolar disorder causes intense emotional swings between depression and mania or hypomania. Depression symptoms are similar to major depressive disorder.
However, during a manic episode, your child might seem highly energetic or euphoric. They might also seem extremely sensitive or irritable. Mania can also reduce concentration and trigger insomnia and reckless behavior.
Ultimately, you know your child best. If their mood or behavior seems abnormal and you’re concerned, you should make an appointment with Dr. Copelan. She provides thorough evaluations and can either provide peace of mind or the customized psychiatric care your child needs to thrive.
After evaluating and diagnosing your child, Dr. Copelan creates a personalized treatment plan to help regulate their mood and restore their mental, emotional, and physical health. Depending on your child’s needs, she might prescribe medication and recommend counseling.
Medication can help even out your child’s mood, and during therapy, they learn how to identify and express their feelings in healthy, productive ways. They can also practice social skills and learn strategies to cope with negative thoughts and feelings.
Call Colleen Copelan, MD, today if your child has mood disorder symptoms that interfere with their well-being and quality of life.