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How Do I Know If My Teenager Has A Mental Illness?

a teen looks at the camera wondering how do I know if my teenager has a mental illness

Is this normal teenage behavior? An instance of adolescent angst or rebellion? Growing pains? Caught between childhood and adulthood, teenagers are struggling to find their identity and become comfortable in their own skin. As part of this struggle, it is common for teens to exhibit out-of-the-ordinary behaviors, flex their want of independence, become moody, and engage in other behaviors.

How do you know if something more is going on with your teenager? How do you know if your teenager has a mental health disorder? If you are concerned about your teen or adolescent, if you think they may be facing a serious mental health concern, the more you know and the more you understand what to be on the lookout for in their lives, the better equipped you will be able to get them the help they need. Contact Honey Lake Clinic at 888.428.0562 for our adolescent treatment program.

How Do I Know If My Teenager Has a Mental Illness?

It can be challenging to determine whether your teenager is experiencing regular teenage ups and downs or struggling with a mental health disorder. Teens often try to hide their emotions and may not always communicate openly about what they are going through. However, there are some signs and symptoms that can indicate a potential mental health concern in your teenager.

Here are signs of mental illness in teens:

  • Mood swings – Look for drastic mood changes, signs of sadness, and withdrawal from people and activities, and take careful note of when any of these signs last for a few days, causing difficulties in relationships at home and school.
  • Intense emotions – Look for strong emotional responses, feelings of being overwhelmed, unfounded fears, and extreme worry, especially if these emotions interfere with routine activities.
  • Difficulty concentrating – Look for signs your teenager struggles to focus, listen, follow instructions, or sit still. Typically, these signs become evident with performance in school, reflected in your child’s grades.
  • Behavioral changes – Look for dramatic changes in your teen’s behavior or personality, out-of-control anger, aggression, arguing, fighting, or desire to hurt themselves or others.
  • Weight loss – Look for sudden and dramatic changes in your teen’s appetite, eating patterns, and unexplained weight loss.
  • Physical harm – Look for any deliberate self-injury or self-harm, such as cutting or burning. Any expression of self-harm, suicidal thought, or ideation should be taken very seriously.
  • Substance use – Look for any indication your teen is attempting to ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol or drugs of any kind. Substance use can contribute to an increase in pre-existing mental illness symptoms.

Just having a diagnosis—putting a name to the struggle—can start your teenager on a path to healing and health.

What Kinds of Mental Health Concerns are Common Among Teens?

Adolescents can suffer the same kinds of mental health issues as adults, but their symptoms may look different. While a depressed adult, for instance, may seem sad, a depressed teen may seem more irritable and angry.

Teenagers caren’t always put their feelings into words or adequately articulate what they’re experiencing. As such, a proper diagnosis—identifying your teen’s particular struggles—is critical to getting the appropriate treatment they need.

Some of the most common mental health disorders among teenagers include:

  • Anxiety disorders – Such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.
  • Depression and bipolar disorder – While depression is not uncommon in youth, it can present uniquely. Manic episodes may be easily misunderstood or missed altogether.
  • Eating disorders – Adolescence is a time when many teens experience dissatisfaction with their body image. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders.
  • Substance use disorder – Young people may turn to drugs or alcohol for self-medication—although many adults do this as well—and may inherit a predisposition to addiction.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. While ADHD is a neurotype and not a mental illness, therapy and medication can still help.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – Teens with OCD may exhibit obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand-washing or counting.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Teens who’ve experienced traumatic events may develop symptoms of PTSD, such as persistent, recurrent fear, a feeling of reliving the event, avoidance of anything related to the event, and intrusive thoughts.

If you notice any signs of mental illness in your teenager, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. Early intervention and treatment can significantly impact your teen’s recovery and well-being.

Getting Help for Your Teen at Honey Lake Clinic

If you are concerned about your teenager’s mental health, it is essential to seek help as soon as possible. Untreated mental health disorders can impact your teen’s overall well-being and may lead to further struggles in the future.

Honey Lake Clinic offers a Christian mental health program specifically designed for adolescents. Our team of experienced professionals understands teens’ unique challenges and is equipped to provide individualized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. We offer a range of therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy,

Honey Lake Clinic’s Adolescent Treatment Program for Girls between the ages of 13-17 is an excellent first call to make if your daughter is struggling. Our team of caring and experienced mental health professionals are here to help!

Call today to talk about your daughter’s life transformation. More than a return to life before her struggles, let’s help her move forward into an exceptional life beyond them! Let us help you help her to reclaim her story. Call us at 888.428.0562 today.