Due to the amount of academic, and social stress that occurs in the teen years it is important for parents to understand the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses.  The teen years are a time for growing independence and for learning coping skills to handle the demands of adulthood. Often untreated mental illness can interfere with this process. Mental Illness is treatable, and the earlier the intervention the better the outcome!

Statistics state that:

  • 1 out 5 youth (13-18 years old) are living with a mental illness
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24
  • In half of all cases of mental illness the onset of symptoms happens before the age of 14.

Common Mental Illnesses that could present in adolescence:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Depression
  • Disruptive Behavior Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Signs and symptoms of mental illness:

It can be difficult for a parent to know when it is time to seek professional advice about their teen’s behaviors.  Parents often question: Is this just a phase, or hormones?  Am I overreacting?  The main factor in determining if it is time to ask a doctor or mental health professional about possible mental illness depends on the duration and intensity of the concerning behaviors.  If any of the following symptoms/behaviors occur for two weeks or more it is advisable to seek a professional opinion.

  • Irritable mood or behavior changes
  • Trouble staying focused on tasks
  • Sadness/teary
  • Apathy, just not engaged or caring
  • Isolating/withdrawing from family and friends
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Unfounded fear or nervousness in daily activities
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Self-injury such as cutting or burning (seek help immediately if this symptom is present)
  • Thoughts of suicide (seek help immediately if this symptom is present)

PrairieCare offers a full continuum of care for adolescents.