Frequently Asked Questions About Teenage Mental Health Problems

When your kids turn into teenagers, they suddenly undergo many physical, emotional, and mental changes. It can become overwhelming for them and maybe challenging to handle. So you may notice your teen being more conscious about how they look or keeping things to themselves more.

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Some teenagers may even start to feel sad and isolated. For some, these feelings are temporary. And for others, it is a symptom of mental health issue that requires your immediate attention and medical care. Depression in teens is caused by both the changes they undergo and other growing up problems like peer pressure and academic expectations. This condition is also one of the leading mental health issues among adolescents worldwide.

If you notice that your teenager is increasingly irritable, sad, distracted, angry, or annoyed, they probably suffer from depression. You must also be cautious about how they talk about themselves and whether they tend to bring up the idea of dying. This kind of speech calls for an immediate visit to a mental health professional.

But, depression is not the only thing that you may need to watch out for. Other mental health concerns may affect your teens. Addiction, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and behavioral problems are common problems for their age group.

If you want to understand how you can best help your child, here are some frequently asked questions about teenage mental health problems.

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Should my teenager see a therapist?

A therapist can help your teenager deal with the changes they undergo as they grow. Being a teenager is one of the most critical and sometimes unstable stages of growing up. Seeing a therapist can both equip them with behavioral and emotional skills. Therapists also help deal with behavioral, emotional problems, mental health issues, relationship problems, stress, and even substance abuse. Generally, therapy can improve all aspects of your teenager’s life.

How do I know if my teenager needs therapy?

Bring your teenager to a therapist when you start noticing unusual changes in their behavior and emotions, especially when there’s self-harm involved. You can check whether your teenager’s reactions to stress are still normal or they have become extreme. For example, are they easily and more frequently angered and irritable, or are they always in a worrying mood? Sometimes, you will notice changes in their school performance and social life, like a sudden change of friends or isolation. A change in their physical health is also sometimes a warning sign of a deeper mental health issue.

At what point should I see a therapist?

It’s time to seek help if your issues are overwhelming you and have a hard time coping with them. For example, you’re always worried, anxious, or have emotion regulation problems that negatively affect school, work, or relationships.

What are the signs of a troubled teenager?

A troubled teenager’s behaviors may include drug or alcohol abuse, but it’s not always the case. The more obvious signs are destructive behaviors like bullying, stealing, skipping school, secretive behaviors, promiscuity, self-injury, or poor academic performance. Other indications include extreme isolating behaviors, such as social withdrawal, excessive electronics usage, and too much time sleeping. Your teenager may also have poor hygiene, low self-esteem, body image issues.  When these manifestations come out, it might be a sign that they’re dealing with a deeper issue psychologically or calling for guidance.

Do therapists have to tell parents?

No. It is a psychologist’s legal mandate to protect the privacy of their clients. Confidentiality is one of the foundations of trust in therapy, allowing patients to open up. However, if cases that jeopardize safety arise, a psychologist can inform the parents or even authorities. Examples are self-harm cases, ongoing domestic violence, abuse, or neglect of a child, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Otherwise, your psychologist cannot share information with others without your consent.

What is the best antidepressant for a teenager?

Among the FDA-approved drugs to treat depression among teens, the best choices are fluoxetine (Prozac) and Escitalopram (Lexapro). However, remember that you should not give your teenager any antidepressant without a clinical psychologist’s proper diagnosis. Unsupervised intake of these drugs can have severe and more damaging effects, like suicidal ideation.

How do I find a good therapist for my teenager?

To find a good therapist for your teenager, you must consider the therapists’ expertise and what your teen specifically needs. Teenagers are not easy to deal with, and particular therapists are specially trained for their cases. Exhaust your resources before settling with a therapist. You can try to search online and seek advice from other experts, such as your teen’s school. If possible, get referrals from someone who has undergone the same services or has worked with the therapist. Afterward, evaluate whether the therapists’ approach or personality suits your child best; which conditions would they be more comfortable with?

What is the most common psychological problem in adolescence?

The most common psychological problem in adolescence revolves around mood, anxiety, attention, behavior, and depression.  Anxiety is when someone finds it hard to control worry that it interferes with their daily life. Mood disorders have various types, but generally, it is extreme and disproportionate mood changes. Lastly, behavioral problems are patterns of destructive and harmful behaviors to others, including oppositional-defiant disorder and conduct disorder.

Are therapists worth it?

Seeking professional psychological help is costly but is worth it. Your growing teenager may encounter similar or worse stressors or problems as they grow, and early intervention is an investment. The younger they are, the better it is to sort out their internal issues and build healthy coping skills.

 Can puberty cause mental illness?

Puberty is a stage of abrupt and significant physical and social changes, and these can have adverse effects psychologically. If these changes get too overwhelming and stressful, improper management and support can cause mental health problems.

What are the common health problems of a teenager?

Common health issues among teenagers are injuries, infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, and mental health illnesses. These could be due to the new yet unsafe explorations they’re exposed to, like unsafe sex, drunk driving, or excessive alcohol and tobacco use.

What is the age of adolescence?

The World Health Organization defines an adolescent as someone who falls within 10-19 years old. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, most adolescents fall under 18 years old or are considered minor.

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Teenagers have a lot on their plates as changes in their bodies occur and pressure from their environment increases. As their parent, the best way to help them at home is to show care, understanding, and patience. Sometimes, they may need to know that you are there to support them through whatever emotions they are going through.

It is also vital to detect and treat these mental health issues before more severe complications arise. Suicide is a complication of these conditions and is the third leading cause of death in adolescents. Part of what leads to this end is that half of the mental health problems in teens are often undetected and untreated.

Often, teenagers will not seek help because they don’t understand what is happening to them. When they talk about it, they do it with their peers and not with their parents or counselors. So, as your kid turns into a teen, it is essential to be more aware of their behaviors. You don’t need to watch their every step, but it promotes open communication at home. Make them feel safe about talking about their emotions. Make them feel loved.

As a parent, these things may all seem too much and even scary to imagine. But just like your child, you are not alone in facing these struggles. Mental health professionals and even their guidance counselors can assist you and your teen with these problems. And most of the time, these people are just a call away for you and your struggling child. So, if you notice the symptoms, take the first step with your child and seek immediate medical care for them.