5 Common Teenage Mental Health Issues Parents Should Know

mental health

Life comes with challenges, and it helps when you admit you are not lonely against your challenge. This article will be helpful for parents to recognize and overcome the most common teenage mental health issues. Get the support and share it with your children. Parents can help teens address these issues head-on and live healthy lives with understanding, patience, and proper resources. Keep on reading!

Please, note: We provide general knowledge only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If your teen has mental health issues, please consult a healthcare practitioner for diagnosis and treatment options.

5 Common Mental Health Disorders in Teens

Social Issues

Teens today face much pressure to look and act a certain way, often leading to social issues such as bullying or self-harm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 percent of high school students report bullying during their academic careers. In addition, parents should know that their teens feel isolated or out of place because they don’t fit in with the “popular crowd.”

Bullying may be physical or verbal and can lead to feelings of loneliness, fear, and depression among teens. In addition to the psychological effects of bullying, teens may experience physical health issues such as headaches, stomach problems, and poorer academic performance.

What can parents do?

If your children face troubles at high school, with friends, or learning, make them feel safe at home in the first place. Create an environment where your kids can talk about their issues, and do not judge them for a thing. One way to do it is by being an open listener. Invite your teen to talk about their day or any struggles and show them that you are there to listen. Be all ears, pay attention to details and mood, or suggest doing some activities together to distract a bit.

Encourage open dialogue about online safety, mental health, bullying, etc., to provide guidance and support. Also, do not worry if the child does not want to talk, as it may happen time after time. If you see that silence is not ordinary, try engaging a psychologist.

Show your teen how talking to a psychologist can provide them with valuable tools to deal with their emotions healthily and how it might help them better understand how to cope with their issues. Spend time researching different psychologists and mental health services in your area so you can find one that may be the right fit for your teen. Together, you will help the ability to adapt and succeed in school and life.

Substance Misuse

Teenagers have so many responsibilities and obligations to juggle. They must learn how to manage their time, money, relationships, and emotions to succeed in school, work, sports, and other vital aspects of life. When you’re a teen, it’s hard enough to figure out who you are and your place in the world. Unfortunately, teenage substance misuse is relatively common, especially during high school when peer pressure runs high.

What can parents do?

Substance misuse is abusing any substance, including tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. It can have a devastating impact on the lives of teens and their families. Fortunately, there are several things that parents can do to prevent their teens from engaging in substance misuse.

Parents should actively talk to their teens about the risks of drug and alcohol use and monitor their behavior for signs of substance abuse.

Ensure that your teens are well-informed about the dangers of substance misuse, such as the risk for addiction, health issues, and legal consequences. In addition, seek professional help from a specialist who can provide the appropriate treatment, therapy, and support needed to overcome addiction.

Parents must stay involved and supportive while their adolescent goes through recovery. The most effective way to help your child is by setting and consistently enforcing those boundaries.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating, can profoundly affect teens’ lives. However, these issues aren’t simply about food and weight issues. Instead, they’re complex conditions that combine eating habits, body image, and feelings about self-worth into one unhealthy package, interfering with a teen’s ability to function at home, school, or in social life.

Thus, parents should resist the urge to judge or criticize the teen’s behavior to make the teen feel more comfortable in the conversation. Instead, parents need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and the best things they can do to help their teens.

Common signs of an eating disorder may include excessive dieting and the restriction of food, avoiding meals or the fear of eating in front of others, drastic weight loss, the emergence of body image issues, the compulsive need to exercise, and the use of laxatives or diuretics for weight loss. Having an open dialogue with your teen can also be beneficial in learning the signs of an eating disorder.

What can parents do?

First, parents must signalize the purest love without paying attention to shape, size, or other metrics. Second, do not compare your teen with others. Besides, parents need to support their teen’s body image and recognize signs of potentially developing an eating disorder. Some symptoms of disordered eating include:

  • Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or “too big” even though they are at a healthy weight or underweight
  • Constantly checking in the mirror to monitor the size of their body parts (e.g., stomach, arms)
  • Frequently engaging in dieting behavior such as skipping meals, fasting, or vomiting after meals to lose weight (purging)
  • Avoiding social situations where food may be served (e.g., parties/events) because of concerns about being judged by others due to weight/shape
  • Restriction of food intake (e.g., fasting, limiting portion sizes). It is the most common type of eating disorder.

You can help by encouraging proper eating behavior and a positive attitude when it is an early stage. However, when your case goes too far, contact specialists immediately. The treatment may take time and effort and a unique program, so, with doctors’ help, you will handle that!

Anxiety and Stress

Teens face many pressures today that can cause high stress and anxiety levels. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness that doesn’t go away and can interfere with your daily life. Everyone feels anxious sometimes, but anxiety disorders are different than normal feelings of fear or worry about a big exam or other events. They occur when anxiety gets so intense that it interferes with your life and makes you feel out of control. Anxiety disorders are treatable conditions that are manageable with the right treatment plan.

Stress affects everyone differently depending on age, health, lifestyle choices, environment, and other factors such as family relationships or peer groups at school. But, of course, we all experience stress from time to time – it’s part of being human! But if we don’t manage our stress levels, it can affect our mental health by making us feel anxious or depressed, for example.

What can parents do?

Parents can help their teens manage stress and anxiety by setting boundaries, providing support, teaching healthy coping skills, and prioritizing well-being. Setting boundaries helps to create an environment where teens feel safe and protected. It includes consistent expectations for behavior and limits on screen time and other activities that may be causing undue stress or anxiety. Providing support is also essential. It has listened to teens without judgment, openly discussing their feelings and helping them solve their problems.

Teaching healthy coping skills can include introducing mindfulness and relaxation exercises, and problem-solving skills. Finally, parents must prioritize self-care and well-being for themselves and their teens. It includes getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and engaging in joyful activities. Taking time to care for oneself can improve mental health and resilience against stress and anxiety.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that affects people of all ages, but it happens to children and teens. Kids with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, and multitasking. As a result, they may be impulsive and easily distracted by things happening around them. Living with it can be frustrating and challenging, as it may harm relationships, ruin school performance, increase the risk of substance use and abuse, and lead to depression or anxiety.

What can parents do?

Learning about mental health issues can empower parents to recognize when their teen may need extra support. By being proactive, parents can ensure their teen is adequately cared for and given the help they need. Many doctors recommend medication as the first line of treatment, but other options, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, can also effectively treat ADHD symptoms. Parents of teens with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have a few different options for managing their child’s disorder.

  • Medication 

Stimulant medications are the most commonly prescribed treatment for ADHD in teens. Stimulant medications increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, which help improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. Although stimulants are very effective in treating ADHD symptoms, some teens may experience side effects such as decreased appetite, insomnia, or stomach upset.

  • Therapy

Behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help teens with ADHD manage their symptoms. This therapy focuses on helping the teen identify situations where they are likely to have difficulty concentrating or controlling impulsive behavior and providing them with strategies to cope with these situations. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) also helps teens develop problem-solving skills, handle difficult emotions, and improve their self-esteem.

  • Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes is also essential to managing ADHD symptoms in teens. For example, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and incorporating physical activity into a daily routine can help improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. In addition, creating a structured environment with consistent rules and expectations can help teens with ADHD stay on track.

Thank you for reading! We hope this article has provided insight into the most common teenage mental health issues parents should know about. By learning the signs and symptoms, parents can stay informed and provide their teens with the support they need to be healthy and happy. Good luck!