Some teenagers and young adults can be moody or downright unpleasant to be around sometimes. As a parent, you may be tempted to brush it off as adolescent angst, but should you?
Although mood swings and getting into trouble may be considered part of being a teenager, there is a fine line between “normal” teenage behavior and mental illness. At Vertava Health Rocky River, we want to help you learn the difference between when your child is pushing your buttons and when they are battling inner demons. Without you stepping in, their problems could quickly spiral out of control.
Common Mental Health Issues in Teens & Young Adults
Mental disorders in teens and young adults are more common than many people realize. By some estimates, 10-20% of adolescents around the world struggle with mental illness.1 Unfortunately, many teenage mental illness symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated before potentially getting worse in adulthood.
Some of the most common behavioral and mental illnesses in teens and young adults include:
- Anxiety – About 31% of adolescents ages 13 to 18 in the United States have an anxiety disorder.2
- Depression – In the United States, about 13% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 experienced at least one major depressive disorder.3
- ADHD – An estimated 6 in 10 children with ADHD also have another mental or behavioral health condition.4
- Eating Disorders – The median age of onset for both bulimia and anorexia is 18.5
- Substance Abuse- Substance abuse and misuse in adolescence increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder in adulthood.6
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness in Young Adults
While a little teenage moodiness is normal, what if it is something more? It can be difficult to tell the difference between teenage angst and a mental health condition, especially when you are a parent and may be too close to the situation, but our mental health care professionals in Cleveland want to help.
If you suspect your child is battling more than just the teenage blues, here are some common signs of mental health issues in young adults to be on the lookout for:
- Excessive worrying
- Bad grades, especially suddenly
- Poor concentration
- Loss of motivation
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Avoiding social events
- Struggling to make and keep friends
- Excessive secrecy
- Poor physical hygiene
- Unexplained physical health problems
- Lack of interest in extracurricular activities or hobbies once enjoyed
- Intense mood swings
- Lack of emotions
- Strange sleep schedule or sleep problems
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Not wanting to leave their room
- Signs of self-harm
- Self-loathing or suicidal talk
- Substance abuse
The exact signs of mental illness in teens and young adults will depend on the mental health condition as well as the individual. Generally, as a parent, if you sense something is wrong, you are probably right. It is important to act when you notice early signs of mental illness in young adults rather than waiting until the situation gets worse.
How to Help a Young Adults Showing Signs of Mental Illness
Although half of all mental health condition begins by the age of 14, most go undiagnosed and untreated.1 When your child appears to be showing signs of a mental health disorder, it is hard to know what to do. While you may feel that it is your duty to protect them, your child’s needs may be more than you can handle alone.
If your adolescent child is showing signs of mental illness, you should:
- Not ignore the problem
- Talk with your child’s doctor
- Try to promote open communication with your child
- Take your child to a professional
- Look for adolescent therapy in your area
- Do your research
- Create a safe and comfortable home environment
- Try to eliminate unnecessary stress for their lives
- Work with their school
- Not neglect your needs
- Join a support group
Especially if your child could be a danger to themselves or others, is abusing drugs or alcohol, or appears to have a break from reality, take action immediately. These behaviors could be a sign of immediate dangers that could even threaten their life.
Article Source: vertavahealth.com