Some teenagers and young adults can be moody or downright uncomfortable at times. As a parent, you may be tempted to dismiss it as an adolescent fear, but should you?
Although mood swings and difficulties can be viewed as 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 pushing your buttons and battling inner demons. Without your intervention, their problems could quickly spiral out of control.
Common mental health problems in teenagers and young adults
Mental disorders in adolescents and young adults are more common than many people realize. It is estimated that 10-20% of young people around the world are struggling with mental illness.1 Unfortunately, many symptoms of mental illness in teenagers go undiagnosed and treated before they can get worse in adulthood.
The most common behavioral and mental illnesses in adolescents and young adults include:
- Anxiety – About 31% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 in the United States have an anxiety disorder.2
- Depressions – In the United States, approximately 13% of teenagers ages 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive disorder.3
- ADHD – An estimated 6 in 10 children with ADHD also have some other mental or behavioral health status.4th
- Eating disorder – The mean age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18 years.5
- Substance abuse Substance abuse and abuse in adolescence increase the risk of developing an addictive disorder in adulthood.6th
Warning signs and symptoms of mental illness in young adults
While a little bit of moodiness is normal in teenagers, what if it’s a little more? It can be difficult to tell the difference between teenage anxiety and mental illness, especially if you are a parent and may be too close to the situation, but our Cleveland mental health professionals are here to help.
If you suspect your child is fighting more than just the teenage blues, here are some common signs of mental health issues in young adults to watch out for:
- Excessive concern
- Bad grades, especially suddenly
- Bad concentration
- Loss of motivation
- Retreat from friends and family
- Avoiding social events
- Difficulty making and keeping friends
- Excessive secrecy
- Bad physical hygiene
- Inexplicable physical health problems
- Lack of interest in extracurricular activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed
- Intense mood swings
- Lack of emotion
- Strange sleep schedule or trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite or weight
- They don’t want to leave their room
- Signs of self harm
- Self-hatred or suicidal talk
- Substance abuse
The exact signs of mental illness in adolescents and young adults depend on both the mental health status and the person. In general, if you sense something is wrong, as a parent, you are probably right. It is important to act when you notice early signs of mental illness in young adults rather than waiting for the situation to get worse.
How to help young adults who show signs of mental illness
Although half of all mental illnesses start by age 14, most go undiagnosed and treated.1 If your child seems to be showing signs of a mental disorder, it is hard to know what to do. Even if you feel it is your duty to protect them, your child’s needs may be more than you can handle on your own.
If your teenage child shows signs of mental illness, you should:
- Don’t ignore the problem
- Talk to your child’s doctor
- Try to encourage open communication with your child
- Take your child to a professional
- Look for youth therapy in your area
- Do your research
- Create a safe and comfortable living environment
- Try to remove unnecessary stress from your life
- Cooperate with their school
- Don’t neglect your needs
- Join a support group
Especially if your child could pose a danger to themselves or others, abuse drugs or alcohol, or appear to have a shift from reality, act immediately. These behaviors could be a sign of imminent danger that could even threaten their lives.
Unfortunately, many symptoms of mental illness go unnoticed in young adults and can get worse over time. If you notice a child, student, friend, or family is having trouble, try to help. Our Rocky River, Ohio mental health center offers a variety of services for teens and young adults. Contact us today to find out more.
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