Quite often, mental health disorder in teens may be dismissed as the typical stages, phases, and attitudes that such individuals experience as they progress through adolescence. According to 2017 data supplied by Mental Health America, more than 11 percent of American youths ages 12 to 17 experienced at least one major depressive episode.
Like other illnesses, early detection is key when it comes to mental health disorders. Find out if your teen has mental health condition through the red flags below.
Red Flags Every Parent Must Know
Though it might not always be easy to discern the feelings a youth is actually experiencing, there are certain warning signs parents should look out for that might alert them to the fact that their kids may have some type of mental health issue. These might include:
Dramatic Change In Mood
Due to changing hormones and social pressures, all teenagers will experience mood changes from time to time. However, if a parent notices that their child exhibits extreme sadness, feelings of hopelessness and anger for extended durations, such manifestations might indicate that the child has a mental health disorder.
Unexplained Personal Or Social Life Changes
Teens coping with some undiagnosed mental health problem might experience a sudden change such as a withdrawal from friends, other associations and activities they once enjoyed. Additionally, parents might also notice impacted young people may also experience a significant decline in academic performance. This could be especially alarming in a youth whose grades go from good to bad over a semester. School attendance might also drop precipitously.
Odd Lifestyle Changes or Habits
If a youth engages in actions like neglecting their appearance or hygiene, drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs or partaking in dangerous or reckless behaviors, your teen may be afflicted with a mental health disorder.
Unexplained Pain or Illnesses
Teens that suddenly complain of unexplained illnesses like digestive problems and non-descript aches and pains might be stricken with an underlying mental disorder. Parents are also urged to pay attention to habits such as increased fatigue, a significant change in sleeping patterns or wild fluctuations in energy levels might also be indicative of a problem.
Unexplained changes in appetite may indicate that a mental health issue is present.
Irrational Fears Or Concerns
Teens with an underlying mental health problem might suddenly express significant or irrational fears that arise with no specific basis. Examples of such fears could be unsubstantiated threats that someone wishes to do them harm or paranoid beliefs that people like their friends, siblings or teachers are speaking behind their backs or conspiring against them and have joined forces in an attempt to smear their names.
Inability To Cope With Everyday Life
Though learning to cope with life’s responsibilities and challenges is something that might take time for a developing teen, such persons should acquire these skills as they age and mature. Youths stricken with a mental illness might exhibit an increasing inability to deal with such issues. In some instances, impacted teens might not be able to handle even basic, day-to-day activities.
What to Do as a Parent?
It is important to note that a teen displaying a few of the previously mentioned symptoms may not have a mental health issue. That said, such physical and emotional manifestations could be precipitated by another underlying health problem. However, the only way to receive reassurance is to have the young person in question receive a medical and, if need be, a psychological evaluation geared towards diagnosing whatever problem exists.
When (and if) a specific diagnosis is made, the appropriate treatment options can be explored. If a mental health condition is suspected, the appropriate treatment options can be explored and administered depending upon certain factors, most notably the condition’s severity.
If your child is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, the staff at the Hillcrest Adolescent treatment center might be able to help. Contact us for more information.