What Parents Can Learn about Johnny Manziel’s Bipolar Disorder Revelation
Former Texas A&M Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Manziel has gone public with his recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder in hopes of explaining his behavior that helped him lose his job as an NFL quarterback.
“At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit differently crossed than yours,” Manziel said on Good Morning America. “I can’t help my mental makeup or the way that I was created.”
Manziel said he used alcohol has his method of self-medication and battled depression on his way to his “huge downfall.”
The former first-round draft pick told GMA that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago. Today, Manziel said he is currently sober and taking medication for bipolar disorder.
So how do you know if your child is battling bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition marked by extreme swings and mood and energy. It can affect the ability to function normally. The mood changes of bipolar disorder are more severe than normal ups and down.
Roxanne Boyd, LCSW, a family therapist for inpatient psychiatry at Cook Children’s, said people with bipolar disorder usually see multiple health care specialists before being diagnosed.
“For example, it can look at various times like depression, chemical dependency, even ADHD. In Johnny Manziel’s case, he was initially treated for chemical dependency,” Boyd said.
She added people with Borderline Personality Disorder are at high risk for chemical dependency, trying to manage their moods with alcohol, anxiety medication, like Xanax, or amphetamines.
Lisa Farmer, director of Psychiatric Services at Cook Children’s, said a differentiating character of bipolar disorder as opposed to unipolar depression is the presence of “clinical mania."
“Receiving a psychiatric evaluation is very important because of the risk of misdiagnosis. Medication management of depression, anxiety, and ADHD can be quite different from treating bipolar disorder. A psychiatric evaluation will help so the child is not treated with incorrect medication.”
Some use the acronym DIGFAST to refer to mania symptoms:
I-Indiscretion or high risk behaviors
F-Flight of ideas or racing thoughts
T-talkativeness or hyperverbal, pressured speech
"These symptoms will cause an impairment in the ability to complete daily activities and the symptoms will affect multiple aspects - school, home and even the inability to be successful in extracurricular activities and peer relationships," said Kia Carter, M.D., co-medical director of Psychiatry at Cook Children's. "In bipolar, I think the key is that we are looking for a combination of impairing symptoms and not just focusing on the mood swing that children or adolescents may present with."
Dr. Carter said making your pediatrician aware of any concerning symptoms early on can help with early detection and treatment if necessary. If your child is having these symptoms and there is an impairment in function, please call 682-885-3917.
The cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. Specific genes may play a role, though it is most likely many different genes that act together.
A family history of the disorder may increase a person from developing it. Let your doctor know your family’s history with bipolar disorder.
- Dramatic moods wings – This can range from elated excitability, unrealistic goal setting, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance to feelings of hopelessness.
- Periods of normal mood in between ups and downs.
- Extreme changes in energy and behavior.
Mania may cause:
- A mood that is extremely high or overly good
- Increased energy and effort toward goal-directed activities
- Restlessness and agitation
- Racing thoughts, jumping from one idea to another
- Rapid speech or pressure to keep talking
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased need for sleep
- Overconfidence or inflated self-esteem
- Poor judgment, often involving spending sprees and sexual indiscretions
Depression may cause:
- Prolonged sad, hopeless, or empty mood
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Trouble concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
- Restlessness or diminished movements
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Unintended weight loss or gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts
Severe episodes of mania or depression may sometimes be associated with psychotic symptoms, such as:
- Disorders of thought
Get to know more about Cook Children's Psychiatry
Our psychiatry department helps children, ages 2-17, and their families who are experiencing behavioral, neurodevelopmental and emotional challenges. Our staff is specifically trained to work with young patients and our psychiatrists are board certified in child and/or adolescent psychiatry.
Our treatment team works together to help re-establish the family unit as the most important influence in the child's life. That way, the child's care can be maintained at home whenever possible. Click here to learn more or to access any of our services, please contact our Intake Department by calling 682-885-3917.