Being the parent of a teenager is often challenging. You worry about so many things, especially if they turn to substance abuse. But substance abuse is often an attempt to self-medicate for other underlying mental health issues that need to be addressed.
Teens suffer from mental health issues, just as adults do. The good news is that most of these mental health issues are highly treatable. Whether your teen already has substance abuse issues or you want to prevent that from happening, treating mental health issues makes good sense. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the top three mental health issues facing teens.
Depression is a major public health crisis, and it doesn’t only affect adults. Approximately 8% of teens between the ages of 12-17 have had a major depressive episode in the past year. More girls than boys are affected by it, as well.
Major depression is not the same as just being in a down mood. Some of the symptoms of major depression include:
- Lasting feelings of sadness
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, or despair
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of wanting to die or wishing you were already dead
- Loss of interest in activities you once found pleasurable
- Sleep problems, including insomnia
- Change of appetite
- Frequent physical complaints, like stomach ache or headache
- Excessive isolation
These are just some of the possible symptoms of depression. If you’re concerned that something is wrong, you should have your teen screened by a mental health professional.
Anxiety can affect people at any age, but anxiety among teens is increasing; nearly 1 in 3 teens between the ages of 12-17 have experienced an anxiety disorder, and the number increased by 20% between 2007 and 2012.
Anxiety can have many causes. Some people blame the heavy use of social media by teens for the rise in anxiety. Others claim that too much pressure to succeed is a contributing factor. And of course, the world often looks like a scary place, even to adults.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Recurring fears and worries about routine things
- Behavioral changes, including irritability
- Avoiding school, activities, or social interactions
- Dropping grades or poor school performance (especially if they were once good)
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor concentration
In addition to providing reassurance and trying to help your teen cope with their anxiety, it’s also a good idea to seek professional help. Untreated anxiety disorders can often lead to substance abuse or even suicide, which is the second-leading cause of death in teens.
3. Attention-deficit problems
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is more commonly associated with young children, but that doesn’t mean older kids outgrow the problem. Approximately 9% of people are diagnosed with ADHD by the age of 17. While it may appear at younger ages, sometimes attention deficits don’t become truly problematic until the teen years.
There are three types of attention-deficit disorders: the hyperactive type, the inattentive type, and a combined type. The hyperactive type typically presents as having difficulty sitting still and completing projects. The inattentive type typically lacks focus and is easily distracted.
If your teen shows any signs of any of the above types of mental illness, it’s important to have them assessed by a professional. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center can perform an assessment and recommend the most appropriate treatment. Call us today at any of our locations, or request an appointment online.