It’s completely normal for teenagers to be moody at times, but when are these moods a sign of something more serious? Mental health issues in teens are commonplace, and thankfully many types of mental disorders are treatable, it’s just a case of defining the diagnosis.
Here are 6 facts about mental illness in teens which parents should be aware of.
Medical professionals define mental illnesses in different ways than we do. They will look at specific criteria, such as depressed mood or a lack of interest in hobbies or recreation. However, that could describe most teens. These signs might show up as changes in their grades, a disinterest in friends, or out-of-character irritability.
They will also look for symptoms such as:
- changes in sleep
- onset of guilt
- changes in energy levels
- changes in concentration
- changes in appetite
- changes in motivation
- thoughts of suicide
If a teen has experienced five of these symptoms most days for at least two weeks, he or she might be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. The lesson for parents though is if your teen has occasional episodes of anger or stays out late sometimes, it’s probably not a reason to be worried.
However, if these persist, or there are other additional symptoms, then it is probably a good idea to talk to a professional.
There are a few common types of mental illness in teens. The most common mental illnesses in teens are:
- generalised anxiety
- social phobias
If your teen seems stressed or if there’s been a significant change in their behaviour it’s best to address it in conversation with them first. It may not necessarily mean a psychiatric diagnosis like depression or anxiety, but it could still be a sign that something is going on in their life that is acting as some type of stressor.
If you have concerns about mental illness in teens, contact us today.