Just like adults, children and teenagers can sometimes feel intense emotions that they struggle to manage. Some children might even go through traumatic or stressful events that color their reactions to specific situations. The important thing to remember about mental health issues for teenagers is that help is available.
The most common mental health problems for teens
Some of the most common mental health issues among teenagers and young adults are:
· Depression: While many people are subject to periods of sadness, clinical depression is a significant medical condition that requires immediate treatment. Even mild depression can progress to serious conditions of self-harm and paranoia.
· Eating disorders: Concerns with body image are very common among teenagers. However, in mental health issues, these concerns take on an obsessive nature, and can lead to dangerous weight-loss habits.
· Drug abuse: Alongside peer pressure, various mental health issues can lead teenagers into experimentation with alcohol and drugs. This can eventually lead to addiction, behavioral problems and more.
Warning signs to watch for
Unfortunately, whether you're a parent or a friend watching out for someone close to you, it's worth noting that it's not always possible to recognize the signs of mental illness. However, knowing which symptoms indicate mental health issues can mean that it's easier for you to pinpoint a problem when one arises.
In the case of teenagers, it's often tough to tell if the troubling behavior of a certain individual is just a natural part of their attitude changing as they grow up, or whether it's something that should be discussed with a professional. However, if you notice any of these red flags that are interfering with someone's daily life, there could be cause for concern:
· Excessive exhaustion and sleeping: Sleeping beyond the standard "teenage fatigue", could be a sign of substance abuse, depression or insomnia.
· Serious problems with confidence or self-esteem.
· Loss of interest in their favorite pastimes, or general periods of isolation.
· Sudden and unexpected decline in academic performance.
· Loss of appetite or weight, which could indicate the presence of an eating disorder.
· Changes and shifts to personality, such as excessive anger and aggression that are often highly out of character, and could be related to drug problems, depression or psychological illness.
Mental health issues can be treated
As terrifying as mental health issues can sometimes be – particularly for the friends and family who are watching someone go through this difficult period – it's worth noting that they can be treated. If you know a teenager who is suffering from mental health problems, the first thing that you should do is encourage them to speak to an expert about the way that they feel.
Many teenagers isolate themselves with technology, and attempt to avoid interaction with other people, and this can worsen various mental health problems. That's why it's so important for friends and family to maintain an ongoing relationship with teenagers as they move through the next stage in their lives.
Parents can work with their teenagers to find a solution to common mental health issue problems. Often, therapy can be extremely useful, and retreats or health centers such as Newport Academy can give teens the access to professional guidance that they need.
Ultimately, the solution that works best for any individual will depend on the scope of their mental health problems and what kind of treatments appeal most to them.
Overcoming mental health issues
It's easy for parents to feel as though they're losing track of their teenagers from time to time. As teens make the journey from childhood to adulthood, they often face a number of strange emotions that can be difficult to handle. However, there's a big difference between teenage mood swings and mental illness.
If you're concerned about your child's mental health, then the first thing you'll need to do is discuss those concerns with your child. Supporting good communication goes a long way towards ensuring positive mental health habits. If your concerns are serious, you can also consider discussing them with your doctor. Because many mental health issues present with physical manifestations, your doctor may be able to offer an initial medical assessment that can lead to further help for your teen.