The symptoms of teen mental health issues can be difficult to detect due to the natural moody and impulsive nature of adolescents. Normal teen behavior can include irritability, secretive behaviors, concern about self-image, or changes in sleep patterns. However, these same symptoms can also be indicators of a serious mental health concern.
One in twenty teens in the US has mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, or schizophrenia. Therefore, parents of teens need to watch for not just one or two symptoms, but a broad range of symptoms that persist and become more severe over time.
Symptoms of teen mental health problems include a sudden change in personality, often with an increase in aggression or volatility. Another is a change in self-confidence.
Watch for a teen who had previously been confident, but who begins to put himself down or to use self-depreciating comments about their abilities, appearance, or skills. Watch for dramatic changes in weight, as many teens struggle with body image issues and may turn to anorexia or bulimia.
Alternatively, individuals with depression may overeat and stop exercising which can lead to an increase in weight. Be aware of sudden changes in academic performance, as mental illness often prevents teens from concentrating, or causes them to be distracted.
Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities is also a sign of problem. Finally, watch for a change in sleep patterns. If your teen is sleeping excessively and still is tired, this may be an indicator that there is a problem.
If you have noticed any symptoms of teen mental health issues in your teen, then you should contact a mental health professional for further information and guidance.