Mohammed, 15 years old, seemed like an average teenager. Moody and sulky at times, outgoing and cheerful at others. Although not the best in his class, he managed to fare pretty well. He was enthusiastic about sports, football in particular. For the past couple of years his behaviour had started to change. At times he was loud and talkative, planning to do things at an impossible pace. Staying awake till all hours of the night watching television, reading, hanging out with friends. His parents thought this to be a normal part of teenage life and did not pay much attention. What did get their attention however is how his mood changed. Sometimes he would seem hyperactive and sometimes he would seem morose and depressed, but most of the time he seemed just like the sweet and loving son they had raised. The duration of these moods would vary and they would change randomly as well.
With his mood swings getting more and more pronounced, his parents began to worry even more. When he was in a “manic” mood, he would be extremely active and all over the place, often thinking of himself as invincible. When he was in a “depressed” mood however, he would be silent and would spend much of his time locked up in his own room. In between he would seem like his old self and would go about things as he normally did. These moods affected his relationship with his parents, his friends and even with his schoolwork. Mohammed himself was oblivious to the fact that he was having such violent mood swings or how they were affecting him and those around him. His parents feared the worst – thinking that he may have got into bad company and started taking illegal drugs. At the end of their wits about what to do with their son, they consulted their family doctor, hoping that whatever it was that ailed their son could be treated medically. Finding nothing to be wrong with the boy physically, the family doctor referred him to a psychiatrist. Based on the information provided by Mohammed’s parents, as well as extensive sessions with him, the psychiatrist concluded that he was showing the symptoms of Bipolar disorder, a mental condition.
Patients with Bipolar disorder often swing between being “manic” and being “depressed” with large periods of normalcy in between. With the right combination of medication and therapy, this condition can be bought under control, allowing the patient to lead a near normal life.
Mohammed, now 17, still seems like an average teenager. With therapy and medication, his symptoms are under control and his school and social life continue unhampered.
Please note that the information in this case study should not be considered as medical advice for an individual’s condition. If anyone shows or feel symptoms of a possible medical condition, we strongly encourage you to seek advice from your primary physician or a mental health professional for an evaluation as soon as possible.
The names been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.