Signs and Symptoms: Frequently Asked Questions

Signs and Symptoms: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five most common youth mental health disorders?

The most common mental health disorders in adolescents include anxiety disorders, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders.

What are the main causes of youth mental health disorders?

Mental health disorders can have a wide range of causes. It’s likely that for many youth, there is a combination of factors. The environment they live in, and their life experiences, can play a role in a youth’s mental health.

Childhood abuse or trauma, social isolation, severe or long-term stress, family conflict and biological factors, such as an imbalanced level of neurotransmitters, may contribute to a youth’s mental health disorder.

In addition, some children are genetically more vulnerable to mental illness than others. A family history of bipolar disorder, for example, can increase a teen’s risk of developing bipolar disorder.

What are the top 10 warning signs of depression in teenagers?

Teenagers go through tremendous emotional, cognitive and physical changes. It’s natural for them to experience mood swings and hard days.

While fluctuations in mood and strong feelings are hallmarks of adolescence, it’s important to recognize that some behaviors might indicate your child is experiencing adolescent depression. These include:

  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities/interests
  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Unexplained aches or pains
  • Anger and rage
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Reckless behavior, including binge drinking and substance abuse
  • Sudden changes in sleep and diet

How can I tell if my child has anxiety?

It’s not always easy to tell when typical teen stress crosses over into anxiety in teenagers, but teens with an anxiety disorder experience intense emotional stress. These feelings get worse over time, rather than improving on their own.

Teens with anxiety disorders struggle with feelings of tension and fear that can interfere with daily activities at work and at school. Furthermore, like other teen mental health disorders, teen anxiety affects adolescents’ relationships with peers and family members.

My teenager is moody. Is it a sign of mental illness?

Identifying teenage mental illness symptoms can be challenging. Many teens are moody and emotional during this time of dramatic physical, emotional and mental changes. However, mental illness in teens involves behavioral and mood changes that are persistent and far more extreme than average, including frequent crying or outbursts, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating and withdrawing from friends and family.

What are the top warning signs of suicide in teens?

Young people who are most at risk for suicide are those who have a history of suicide attempts. Warning signs include:

  1. Talking about or making plans for suicide
  2. Expressing hopelessness about their future
  3. Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
  4. Withdrawing from social connections
  5. Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
  6. Increased agitation or irritability

What are the most effective mental health treatment options for youth?

Mental health treatment for youth can include a variety of approaches and occur in a variety of settings.

Depending on your child’s diagnosis and the symptom severity, treatment might include counseling therapies, including family therapy, individual and/or group counseling, as well as psychiatric medication evaluation and support. Therapy can help your child learn to regulate behavior, express and cope with their feelings appropriately, develop self-esteem and good social skills and improve family bonds.

Treatment services are generally offered in a variety of settings including: outpatient services, in-home services, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, and inpatient psychiatric hospitalization in a secure facility.

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