symptoms of a mental health disorder in teens

iStock_000003185053_MediumBehaviors that Underlie Mental Illness in Teenagers

It is not uncommon for teens to experience psychological ups and downs as they mature. The influx of teenage hormones combined with transitioning out of childhood can lead to emotional outbursts and mood swings that parents may take for granted.

However, teens can also fall victim to mental health conditions that require prompt and professional treatment. These signature behaviors often accompany mental illness in teenagers.

Excessive Sleeping

Teens who suffer from mental health conditions often use sleep as an escape from their psychological or emotional distress. In particular, teenagers who are depressed may be so apathetic or sad that they would rather sleep than go about with their normal routines or interact with others.

While it is normal for teenagers to sleep up to eight hours a night, parents should be concerned if their teen sleeps longer than this period of time or if their teen would rather sleep than hang out with friends or enjoy other typical teenage activities. Parents should contact their teens’ pediatrician or doctor if their kids sleep longer than normal.

Drastic Personality Changes

Kids develop their own unique personalities during teenagehood. However, when teens exhibit behaviors like extreme anger, sadness, depression, or anxiety, it may be time to have them evaluated for mental health conditions.

These extreme emotions could indicate that they are suffering from bipolar disorder or even schizophrenia. These conditions and other teen mental health disorders are treatable as long as they receive professional medical attention.

Excessive Isolation

Most teens love to hang out with friends, go to parties, or even chat with friends and schoolmates online or via text. When they start to prefer to be left alone than interact with friends or spend time with their household family members, it is time for parents to have them evaluated by a mental health professional.

Excessive isolation often underlies disorders like depression, apathy, or anxiety. With proper counseling and medication, teens can once again find enjoyment in socializing with others.

Abandonment of Activities

Teenagehood is the time when most kids participate in sports, clubs, and other activities both in and out of school. When teens abandon activities that they once took pride in and found enjoyable, however, they may be suffering from a mental health disorder.

It is normal for teens to change what they like to do or even quit one club in favor of another. However, when they refuse to participate in activities that they once loved or would rather be left alone at home than participate in activities even only occasionally, they may need to be seen and treated for mental health disorders.

Excessive Changes in Diet

It is not uncommon for teens to develop different preferences for what they will and will not eat or even how often they will eat during a typical day. When parents notice, however, that their teens are refusing to eat altogether or purging their food after meals, they should immediately have their teenagers evaluated for mental health disorders like bulimia or anorexia.

These conditions can cause long-term damage to kids’ health. Fortunately, both disorders are treatable if they are diagnosed promptly and correctly.

Teens can suffer from psychological and emotional distresses just like adults. Parents should act quickly if they notice their teens showing these behaviors.

Effective Teen Mental Health Treatments

The teen years can be very a very difficult time for today’s youth. Teenagers are under a lot of stress to be liked, to do well in school, to get along with family members, and to prepare for their future. Due to their unique situation and due to a brain that is still developing, mental health treatment for teens must be different for a teen than for an adult. The human brain does not reach its full size until the age of 21, and the regions of the brain that inhibit risky and impulsive behaviors are not fully formed until age 25.

Teen mental health treatment needs to be completed by individuals who have good working knowledge and experience in adolescence. Teens may find it hard to communicate; they may lash out at family and friends for no reason. It takes a counselor who has patience and understanding to help adolescents understand and communicate their feelings. There are many counselors who specialize specifically in the needs of teenagers. In addition, medication management must also be provided by a provider who has experience in treating teens. A teen will react differently to medications than an adult will.

It can be very difficult for parents to understand their teenagers with mental illness. Therefore, in addition to individual counseling for the teen, family counseling is often recommended. When dealing with mental illness, teenagers can lash out at family and friends, self-isolate, reject previous interests and hobbies, and withdraw emotionally from their parents. This can be very difficult for parents who may feel helpless. Family counseling can help bridge the communication gap between teen and parents, as well as educate parents as to the symptoms of the teen’s disorder. Family therapy can help parents avoid punishing or blaming the teen for behaviors caused by their mental illness. It can help families know what to watch for and how best to help their teen.

Mental health treatment for teens begins with parents or family who are observant and aware of their teens. They recognize a change in patterns of behavior. It is important for parents not to excuse or reject poor social behavior or self isolation as “normal teenage behavior,” but truly seek to understand their teens. When parents recognize that there is a problem they can seek treatment earlier. Treatment is available, and it works.

Approximately one in twenty teens has a mental health problem, including mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disease, anxiety, eating disorders, or schizophrenia. Each disorder has its own symptoms and a unique treatment program. However, the most effective teen mental health treatment includes a combination of talk therapy and medications. This is especially true when dealing with depression or anxiety.

Help Your Teen With Mental Health Issues

The human body is a machine with complexity and functionality that scientists are only beginning to comprehend. There are still some bodily processes that are tricky to explain, and even more difficult to replicate in a lab. Trying to balance the chemicals found in the brain is one of these challenging fields of study. Fortunately, there have already been several breakthroughs in teen mental health issues and therapies.

It was not that long ago that all mental illnesses were lumped together in a large category: insanity. Sufferers may have been placed in a sanitarium even if his or her illness was not severe. Since the early days of medicine, and even the past one hundred years, people have come to have a greater understanding of depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other relatively common psychological issues.

Along with understanding have come better treatment options and a general attitude of acceptance and love from parents and friends of teens who have a mental issue. Therapy along with a good home environment can do more to help a teen recover from a serious mental issue than many pharmaceuticals, and much better than locking a child away in an insane asylum.

A parent or a loved one should seek a professional counselor to ask questions about teen mental health issues and therapies. With the help of an experienced therapist, parents and teens alike can find ways to engage the mind and encourage the growth of new neural pathways that will allow the teen to live a more normal life, without worrying about the stress of a mental issue.

Teen Mental Health Issues Affecting Boys

There are many teen mental health issues in boys which often go unnoticed and untreated, often because the parents do not even know that their son is suffering from a mental illness.

If you are the parent of a teen boy, then you might want to be aware of this important information:

The “typical” behaviors of teenagers often mask the presence of mental health problems. As a parent, you can be on the lookout for those seemingly typical behaviors which last longer or are dramatic. For instance, too much or too little sleeping, crying, isolation, eating too much or too little, withdrawal from normal activities and friends. Just because your son is a teen, he should not become a totally different or unhappy person.

Is there a history of mental illness in your family? A history of mental illness is an indication that your teen may be struggling with mental health issues. Do not wait to obtain help for your son with the idea that the symptoms may go away with time. Instead, learn all you can about mental illness, particularly the ones which have been present in the family history.

Find a mental health professional with experience working with teen boys. This professional should understand the situations and stresses facing teen boys. Do not wait until you have permission from your son to schedule the first appointment. The risks of not acting soon enough include alcohol or substance abuse, trouble in school or with the law, and even suicide.

Address teen mental health issues in boys before these issues lead to very serious consequences. Protect your teen son by arming yourself with information and a preparedness to act.

Teen Mental Health Issues in Girls

The presence of teen mental health issues in girls goes far beyond the “normal” emotions and struggles which confront most girls during their adolescence. While most teen girls will have moments of sadness or frustration, some girls will suffer from serious depression or other mental health issues.

Without appropriate treatment, the teen girl may turn to alcohol, drugs, self-mutilation, aggression, and even suicide because of their mental health problems.

If you are a teacher, a counselor, or a parent of a teen girl and you are concerned that she may be struggling with depression or another mental health issue, then decide now to take action.

Watch out for these signs and symptoms: feelings of hopelessness, sadness that lingers, frequent crying, withdrawal and isolation, loss of interest in previous activities and friendships, changes in habits of eating and sleeping, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and a preoccupation with death or suicide. There may be other indications of mental health issues as well.

There are some important differences between mental health issues experienced by teen girls and by adults. These differences might involve grouchy, irritable moods instead of sadness, many unexplained pains, an extreme sensitivity to any type of criticism, and withdrawal from most people, but not all. The symptoms of adults do not seem to follow these same patterns.

The effects of mental health issues on teen girls may include trouble at school, running away from home, the use of alcohol or drugs, low self-esteem and feelings of guilt, Internet addiction, violent or reckless behavior, and self-injury.

To help your daughter who may be affected by teen mental health issues in girls, make yourself aware of warning signs and then take action when you recognize those signs.

Learning From Stories of Teen Mental Health Problems

On the internet and in the blogosphere there are many different types of people who share their lives with the world. You can find inspirational, accusatory, angry, and feel good stories about almost any topic under the sun. Stories of teen mental health problems are written with varying perspectives, and you can find first person evidence to support both successes and failures.

If you are a parent looking for a boost to help you to deal with your teenager that has psychological issues, you should be careful when searching on the internet. It is true that there are countless people who write about how they have overcome the trails of depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental problems, but there are a few tales that expound on their own failures. Being cautious and making sure to have a positive attitude, even when reading stories of teen mental issues, can help you learn what to do for your teen, and what not to do.

You may stumble across an amazing blog of a person who is bi-polar. The nature of bi-polar disorder is amazing highs, and the lowest lows. Reading this person’s stories can fill you with hope for the future, or dismay at a failure. This person is giving you a firsthand experience into their mind, allowing you to share their very real feelings. Reading stories of teen mental health problems can help you to understand what your teen is going through, but you must not be discouraged by them. Try to find the good messages to keep you and your teen hopeful.

Recognize the Social Issues Facing Teens with Mental Health Problems

The teenage years often represent a time period which is difficult and painful for the adolescent. These years are fraught with new challenges, stresses, and confusion as your teen tries to determine their role in the world around them. As a parent, it is important that you are aware of the struggles which your teen is having, so that you will be able to determine whether those struggles are “typical” or if they represent the social issues for teens with mental health problems.

The role which parents take in obtaining treatment for the mental health problems which your teen is struggling with can have a strong influence on your teen’s success. When left undiagnosed and untreated, the mental health problems can affect your teen’s social interactions personally, at school, and in almost every other facet of their life.

The sooner mental health problems are identified and treated, the greater chances are for your teen’s success.

There are some important warning signs which should signal you to take prompt action. These include an increased desire to isolate themselves, changes in diet or friends, trouble in school or dropping grades, and other sudden and drastic changes in your teen’s life.

When you or your teen’s peers or teacher notice any of these signs, you can act quickly by talking to your teen and then talking to a qualified professional. This professional may be a counselor at your teen’s school, the family doctor, or a mental health professional who specializes in teens and the issues they commonly face.

Your efforts at recognizing the social issues for teens with mental health problems can be a very important step in helping your teen to enjoy a happy and successful adolescence.

How Parents Can Help Teens With Mental Issues

Depression, anxiety, irrational fears, or personality disorders are all fairly common among teenagers and adults. What makes all the difference is how parents and friends treat those affected with psychological disorders. A note to parents of a teen with mental issues is to be as patient and caring as you can.

It is no surprise when a teenager is moody and withdrawn, temper tantrums are still something teenagers are learning to outgrow. What is not normal is when a teen cannot get out of a funk of depression or anger. Sometimes, it is almost impossible for a teen to self regulate his or her emotions. In these cases, outside help may be required. Parents can be too close to a situation to see the big picture. What to a parent looks like deliberate disobedience could be a cry for help the only way the child knows how.

Teenagers begin to look more like adults, but no matter how much they may protest otherwise, they are still adolescents learning how to manage their growing bodies and minds. Sometimes, the mind’s chemicals become unbalanced, and mental issues ensue. This is not something to make your child ashamed about, but it is something that should be treated.

A last note to parents of a teen with mental issues is to search for the therapy that works for your adolescent. There are so many varieties of mental health therapy that you can find the regimen that does not make your teen even more withdrawn, but allows him or her to open up.

The Right Time to Medicate a Teen With Mental Health Problems

The mind is a complex entity controlled by the physical properties of the human brain. Chemical, neurons, and brain tissue all work in sync to make sure the body responds correctly to physical and mental stimuli. However, there are some instances when something is not working properly, and the mind responds inaccurately to the world around it. This happens to teens and adults with psychological issues. Sometimes, if the imbalance is too severe, you may need to investigate medications for teen mental health problems.

It can be said that medication should be prescribed for teens only in the most severe cases, and after other psychotherapy options have been pursued. Since the adolescent mind is still forming and growing, the side effects of medications that work well on adults can be different for teens. Some medications may be too much for the teen brain to handle, so if you are searching for a medication, make sure to only use clinically tested and well researched pharmaceuticals.

Psychotherapy may seem less effective than medications, but part of healing psychological issues is teaching the brain to fix itself. In some cases of severe bi-polar disorder or anxiety, it may not be possible for the brain to heal fast enough. In these cases, medications for teen mental health problems are common. When placing your child on any new medication, it does not hurt to get a second opinion. If you find that a medication has potential side effects that you are not willing to risk, a second opinion should be your first order of business.

Recognizing Drug Abuse for Teens with Mental Health Issues

There are many reasons why your teen may turn to drug abuse; these include curiosity, peer use, or as a method of improving athletically. However, the impulses behind drug abuse for teens with mental health issues may be much different. These reasons might include depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

While the consequences of using drugs are often damaging, the teen abuser often has many compelling reasons to continue with the use of the substances. Because of this, recovery from the substance abuse can be very difficult. These reasons include the surge of pleasant feelings during drug use, the “need” for the drugs becomes as important as the need for food or sleep, changes made in the brain, and the strength of the urge to use the drugs.

If you are concerned that your teen is using drugs or another addictive substance, there are some signs which you can watch out for. These include physical signs such as bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils or an sudden increase of the use of eye drops. Social signs that your teen is using drugs might include a tendency to isolate themselves, the loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and leaving their old friends for new ones. Any increase in the amount of secrecy which your teen seeks may be seen as a warning sign. You might also be concerned about dropping grades, trouble at school or at work, or if you are suddenly missing money or other belongings.

Recognizing the signs of drug abuse for teens with mental health issues is one of the first steps you need to take in order to get the help that your son or daughter needs.