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Behavioral health disorders in teens are not uncommon. In fact, according to the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) conducted with over 10,000 teens from 2001-2004, nearly half (49.5%) of U.S. teens ages 13-18 suffered from at least one mental disorder, including one in five with behavior disorders and three in ten with anxiety disorders. The most common mental disorders in children, according to the Center for Disease Control, are ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression. The numbers are increasing of teens diagnosed with depression and anxiety over the past several years and in need of teen behavioral health treatment.

If mental health disorders are so common in teenagers, how does a parent recognize the signs that their teen may possibly be one of those struggling with behavioral health? Teens often don’t want to talk with their parents about any anxiety or depression they may be feeling or may not even realize their feelings are atypical. How does a parent know when to reach out for teen mental health treatment?

Anxiety is a pretty normal feeling for teens. From childhood on children have fears, from the toddler who cries when a parent leaves them at daycare, to a child who is afraid of the dark. Fears and worries are a natural part of growth and development, but when it becomes persistent and extreme in teens, it could be signs of anxiety or depression. If the fears and worries become so severe that they interfere with school, home, and activities, that is a sign that there may be an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can also make teens irritable and angry, or cause trouble sleeping, fatigue, headaches, or stomach aches. Severe anxiety can lead to panic attacks with heart-pounding, trouble breathing, or even dizziness, shaking, and sweating.

Being sad or feeling hopeless is also something every teen faces occasionally, just like adults. When that sadness becomes persistent, or they become disinterested in things they normally enjoy, or experience feelings of hopelessness in situations that they can change, they might be experiencing depression. This could be the time to reach out for teen depression treatment.

If anxiety and sadness are normal feelings for a teenager, how does a parent know when their teen is experiencing more severe symptoms than average? There are signs that a parent can watch for in their teenager that may indicate a problem.

The top 10 signs of Teens Struggling with Behavioral Health Issues:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable a lot of the time
  • Not wanting to do fun things, or no longer enjoy things they used to
  • Changes in eating patterns – eating a lot more or a lot less than usual
  • Changes in sleep patterns – sleeping a lot more or a lot less than normal
  • Changes in energy – being tired and sluggish or tense and restless a lot of the time
  • Having a hard time paying attention
  • Feeling worthless, useless, or guilty
  • Being uncooperative and hostile
  • Showing self-injury and self-destructive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Teens experiencing extreme depression may begin to think about suicide or even plan for suicide. According to the CDC, suicide is the leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24 years. Parents should watch for the signs of possible behavioral issues with their teen to catch them before their child becomes overwhelmed. IF you think your teen has any of these signs, please call Aspire Counseling today. The teen behavioral health programs at Aspire Counseling can help your teen to deal with these overwhelming feelings.

Planting Seeds, Saving Lives

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Planting Seeds, Saving Lives.

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