Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Millcreek Behavioral Health to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Millcreek Behavioral Health.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Signs, Symptoms, & Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The first step to getting help is recognizing the problem. If you’re concerned your child or teenager may be suffering from bipolar disorder, learn more about the signs and symptoms to watch for.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Learn about bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that is marked by dramatic mood swings that cause those suffering from the disorder to experience extreme emotional highs and extreme emotional lows. These intense changes in mood can have a severe impact on a person’s ability to function appropriately on a daily basis. The effects of the disorder will not only impact that person’s life, but will impact the lives around him or her as well.

When children or adolescents have bipolar disorder, the illness will present itself differently than it does in adults. Adults suffering from bipolar disorder will typically display pattern-like mood swings, while children and adolescents do not always have such recognizable patterns of emotional highs and lows. Due to this fact, people under the age of 18 were historically not given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. However, as research continued, professionals in the field were able to classify specific symptoms that children with bipolar disorder may display, which allows the illness to stand out from other mental health disorder diagnoses that were traditionally given to children and adolescents. These advancements have allowed children and adolescents suffering from bipolar disorder to get the appropriate treatment that they need in order to overcome their severe symptoms.


Bipolar disorder statistics

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the estimated lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is said to be between 0%-3% in children and adolescents. However, as a result of the boundaries of the diagnosis still being under debate amongst professionals in the field, the true prevalence is not well established.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for bipolar disorder in children and teens

There is not any one specific factor that is said to cause the development of bipolar disorder, but rather it is believed that there are a combination of factors working together that lead to its onset. These factors are said to include:

Genetic: Bipolar disorder is believed to have a strong genetic component as it is known to run in families. It is estimated that when children have one parent who has bipolar disorder, they have a 15%-25% chance of developing the illness as well. It has also been noted that these children will typically begin experiencing symptoms of the disorder approximately ten years younger than their parents did.

Physical: Chemical imbalances in the brain are said to be one of the most prominent reasons why individuals develop bipolar disorder. More specifically, the dysfunction of neurotransmitters, which hold the responsibility of sending messages throughout the various areas of the brain, is said to lead to the onset of bipolar disorder symptoms.

Environmental: Although it is somewhat controversial and continues to be debated amongst researchers, there are some professionals who believe that certain environmental circumstances can cause an individual to develop bipolar disorder without the presence of genetic influences. Some believe, for example, that experiencing a severe trauma or growing up in a chaotic environment can lead a person to develop bipolar disorder. However, it is more commonly accepted that genetic or physical traits must be present and that certain environmental factors will simply exacerbate the symptoms.

Risk Factors:

  • Having a blood-relative, such as a biological parent or sibling, who suffers from bipolar disorder
  • Family history of other mental illnesses
  • Significant substance abuse
  • Experiencing severe trauma
  • Going through major life changes and stressors
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and teens

The signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder will present differently from child to child. The symptoms will also greatly vary depending on what emotional state the child is experiencing, whether he or she is in a manic state, a depressive state, or a mixed state. The following are some examples of different symptoms that children and adolescents who are suffering from bipolar disorder may exhibit:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Acting out aggressively
  • Acting out impulsively
  • Acting out sexually
  • Explosive and/or violent temper tantrums
  • Oppositional and defiant behaviors
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid speech
  • Hoarding
  • Manipulative behaviors
  • Self-harm

Physical symptoms:

  • High arousal states
  • Bedwetting
  • Teeth grinding
  • Motor or vocal tics
  • Drastic fluctuations in bodily temperature
  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Heightened startle response

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor working memory
  • Difficulty concentrating / becoming easily distracted
  • Having hallucinations or delusions
  • Racing thoughts
  • Having night terrors

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Low self-esteem or inflated self-esteem
  • Elated feelings
  • Grandiose feelings
  • Prolonged periods of emotional excitability
  • Excessive irritability
  • Increased levels of anxiety, including separation anxiety
  • Becoming easily humiliated or shamed
  • Suicidal ideation

Effects of bipolar disorder in children and teens

Due to the fact that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, its symptoms will continue to affect those suffering from it throughout their lifetime. While there is presently no cure for bipolar disorder, people can find relief from their symptoms through proper treatment, including participating in therapy and implementing the use of psychotropic medications. If left untreated, however, the symptoms that children and adolescents experience will most likely continue to worsen as they grow into adulthood. Some long-term effects of untreated bipolar disorder can include:

  • Academic failure
  • Having difficulty or being unable to establish and maintain a career
  • Having difficulty or being unable to maintain healthy, lasting relationships
  • Chronic self-injury
  • Substance abuse
  • Criminal involvement / incarceration
  • Suicide
Co-Occurring Disorders

Bipolar disorder and co-occurring disorders

Many children and adolescents who are suffering from bipolar disorder are believed to suffer from other disorders as well. However, it is debated whether or not giving children multiple diagnoses is appropriate because some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can mirror the symptoms of these other illnesses.

Some examples of disorders that are believed to co-exist with bipolar disorder in children and adolescents include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conduct disorder (CD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse disorders