Hints Your Teen May Be Facing a Mental Disorder

As your child grows into the teen years, it’s normal to see a range of behavioral changes. Some of which can be troubling. It can prove challenging to determine whether this troubling behavior is simply a part of him growing into a young adult or whether this is a serious concern that you need to get him help for.

Knowing some of the signs that your troubled teen is living with a mental disorder can help you determine when it’s the right time to get him evaluated by a professional.

What kind of mental disorders could your teen be facing?

In years past, there was not as much information known about mental disorders. Many people didn’t get an accurate diagnosis until they were adults. One of the unfortunate downsides to this delayed diagnosis is that people struggled with the side effects of their mental disorder. Some may have seen a negative impact on their personal relationships, school, and their ability to establish a career.

Studies have shown that there are increasing cases of mental disorders in children and teens, with many having disorders that occur together. Some of these mental disorders could include the following.

  • Anxiety disorders. There are several types of anxiety disorders, each of which can lead to feelings of distress and worry that take a toll on your troubled teen’s ability to lead a normal life.
    • Social anxiety
    • Generalized anxiety
    • Panic disorder
    • Obsessive compulsive disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression. Depression can present with or without anxiety. A mood disorder, depression can present in several ways. Some may be more severe than others, with the risk of self-harm and suicide being very real for troubled teens.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This disorder is more of a behavioral disorder that can result in a teen struggling to concentrate and stay focused. Troubled teens who have ADHD can be more impulsive.
  • Psychosis. A very serious mental disorder that can often appear in teens and early adults. It can be challenging to see hints of psychosis, but it is entirely treatable when caught early.
  • Eating disorders. Quite commonly seen in teen girls, eating disorders do impact teen males. They are more than just a diet. Eating disorders can be potentially life-threatening. There are several types of eating disorders, with some of the signs being hard to spot.
    • Anorexia
    • Bulimia
    • Binge-eating disorder
  • Substance abuse disorder. With peer pressure contributing to today’s teens having increased access to drugs and alcohol, substance abuse disorder can become a concern. The teen brain is still developing, which means that the introduction of alcohol or drugs can take a toll on brain development. Substance abuse disorder can also contribute to other mental and mental health disorders developing.

What should you be looking for?

It can be tricky to pick up on a mental disorder in your troubled teen. You do know your teen more than anyone else does, certainly. The signs for each disorder can look different between ages, genders, and individuals. Recognizing some of the hints that your teen is struggling can be the first step in determining whether your teen may need help from trained mental health professionals.

Several signs can appear across the board of several mental disorders.

  • Tumbling grades at school and disciplinary actions from the school due to performance or behavioral issues.
  • Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed and excelled at.
  • Increased isolation from family and friends. Troubled teens may also withdraw and isolate themselves if they have struggled with bullying.
  • Changes in sleeping habits, either sleeping more than usual or sleeping less.
  • Decrease in energy levels, without another explanation.
  • Lowered self-esteem, with negative self-talk.
  • Signs of self-harm or expressions of aggression towards others.
  • Eating habits change, including a fixation on dieting or eating more than usual. Changes in eating habits can indicate an eating disorder, but other mental disorders can also result in a drop in appetite.
  • Becoming increasingly secretive about who they are talking to or who they are meeting with.
  • Speaking about feeling hopeless or talking about having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bouts of emotional outbursts, including crying or expressions of anger.
  • Engaging in potentially risky behavior or behavior that may be considered self-destructive.
  • Use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

If your troubled teen is displaying any of these hints that they are faced with a mental disorder, it is important to tackle it carefully and strategically.

How can you help?

Perhaps one of the best things that you can do for your troubled teen is to do your part is to break down the stigma that surrounds mental disorders. Be open with discussions about mental illness, be open to direct questions. Don’t shy away from honest interactions. The more you are willing to discuss mental wellness, the more your troubled teen may be willing to share with you.

  • Don’t judge what they tell you or how they choose to tell you.
  • Speak with mental health professionals who can help.
  • Provide help by following through on treatment plans, whether that looks like making appointments or driving him to the appointments.
  • Speak with teachers and school administrators. Your troubled teen may need accommodations to help catch up and keep up with academic goals.

Helping your troubled teen to get the help that he needs is important. But it’s just as important that you are taking care of yourself. Self-care can help you manage your stress levels as you work with your teen facing mental disorders. Get plenty of rest, seek out support from family and friends, and be sure that you get support from mental health professionals.

One of the most challenging parts of being a parent can be facing life with a troubled teen. With support and the right resources, the healing process can begin. A residential treatment center can help your teen find his way back to stability.

At Help Your Teen Now, we work to connect your family with the resources and residential treatment center that can most effectively meet his mental wellness needs.

In a structured residential treatment center, your child can get help from mental health professionals who can offer the proper treatment solutions to meet his individual needs.

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