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Teenagers and rapid mood swings-Bipolar?

Q. If a teenager is very angry and hurtful one minute and within 2 minutes is very sweet and complimentary and swings back and forth like that, is it possible to be diagnosed as bipolar or is bi polar more gradual swings?

A. It’s very normal for teenagers to display this kind of behavior. Teenagers at this stage of development are in the process of forming their own identity and it is a very traumatic time. The abrupt mood changes are most likely not from bipolar disorder but are more likely a part of normal human growth. The mood swings associated with bipolar disorder are not usually so abrupt and are usually longer in duration. To read more about the stages of development, read Erik Erickson’s psychosocial stages of human development and concentrate on ego-identity Vs role confusion.

Teenagers and rapid mood swings-Bipolar?

Teenagers and rapid mood swings-Bipolar?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2005). Teenagers and rapid mood swings-Bipolar?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 14, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 Mar 2005
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Mar 2005
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