Mental health disorders

Mental health disorders

1.Anxiety Disorders 

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorder among adolescents today. The World  Health Organization reports that four percent of 10-14 year-olds, and five percent of 15-19 year-olds  experienced an anxiety disorder. Most people develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder before age 21. 

Anxiety disorders are not simply isolated feelings of anxiety – they affect one’s day to day living. They  are characterized by persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. In teens,  anxiety might show as: 

Constant feelings of apprehension or dread 

Restlessness and irritability 

Anticipation of the worst possible outcomes 

Racing heartbeat and shortness of breath 

Upset stomach and fatigue 

Insomnia or frequent trouble sleeping 

Feeling tense of jumpy 

There are different types of anxiety disorders, so it is important to meet with your clinician if you  suspect this mental health condition is arising in your teen. Anxiety disorders may fall into the category of a phobia, panic disorder, social anxiety, or generalized anxiety disorder. It is recommended that  professional treatment is sought out for any of the above, particularly in teenagers. Teens’ brains are  still in development, so it is important to treat mental health conditions as early as they are detected. 

2.Depression 

Depression is the second most common mental health disorder in adolescents, affecting three percent  of 15 to 19 year-olds globally. In the United States, however, approximately 13 percent of youth (ages  12 to 17) suffered a major depressive episode in the year 2020. Nine percent of youth in the U.S., or 2.2  million, were coping with severe major depression in the year 2020. 

Depression is a disorder that involves recurrent, severe periods of negative mood changes, thought  processes, and motivation. Teens and young adults battling depression often feel hopeless, lonely, and  lacking energy or motivation. Common signs of depression include: 

Changes in sleep or appetite 

Lack of concentration

Loss of energy and motivation 

Lack of interest in activities/friendships 

Hopelessness  

Physical aches, pains, and general ailments 

Suicidal thoughts 

Depression can affect school attendance, relationships, and general performance for adolescents.  Particularly in recent years due to COVID-19, social withdrawal can create isolation and exacerbate  symptoms of depression in teenagers. It is important for parents to act on any symptoms of depression,  and to help their teen to see a professional. Left untreated, depression can persist into adulthood  and/or lead to issues with substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. 

3.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is very common among adolescents, and is typically  identified early due to this condition’s effects on learning and behavior. Almost nine percent of children  ages 4 to 17 are estimated to be facing ADHD today. These children may have difficulty paying attention,  become easily distracted, and exhibit hyperactive and/or impulsive behaviors. 

Common signs of ADHD in children and teenagers include: 

Jumping from activity to activity 

Becoming bored with a task quickly and easily 

Difficulty focusing on a task or paying attention to others 

Trouble completing schoolwork  

Difficulty processing information quickly 

Trouble sitting still for a period of time 

Touching or playing with everything 

Acting without regard for consequences 

Talking a lot and interrupting others 

ADHD affects a child’s ability to learn and often requires creativity in classroom and home  environments. Therefore, recognizing and treating this disorder can be integral for your teen’s future  success. Additionally, it is important for parents to know that about two-thirds of children with ADHD  also face another condition. These may include a learning disability, conduct disorder, or another mental  health condition like anxiety or depression. For those with co-occurring or multiple mental health  disorders, integrated dual diagnosis treatment is recommended.

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