Teenage Mental illness Symptoms, Teenage Mental Health Issues, Facts & Remedies

teenage illness 2018

Are you worried about your teenager’s mental health? You’re not alone. Mental illness is a growing concern among teenagers, with studies showing that 1 in 5 teens will experience some form of mental illness. But what are the signs and symptoms of mental illness in teenagers, and what can you do to help?

First, let’s look at the common symptoms of mental illness in teenagers. These can include:

  • Depression: Teenagers may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. They may also have trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety: Teenagers may experience excessive worry, fear, and nervousness. They may also have physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, and shaking.
  • Eating disorders: Teenagers may have an obsession with food, body weight, and shape. They may also engage in disordered eating behaviors such as excessive dieting, purging, or overeating.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Teenagers with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, following instructions, and completing tasks. They may also be hyperactive and impulsive.
  • Bipolar disorder: Teenagers with bipolar disorder may experience extreme mood swings, including periods of high energy and creativity (mania) and periods of low energy and depression.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, or physical illness. However, if these symptoms are persistent, severe, or impacting your teenager’s daily life, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

So, what can you do to help your teenager who may be experiencing mental illness? Here are some tips:

  • Talk to them: Encourage your teenager to open up about how they’re feeling. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about mental health and that you’re there to support them.
  • Seek professional help: A mental health professional can assess your teenager’s symptoms and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan. This may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the different types of mental illness and how they can affect teenagers. This will help you understand what your teenager is going through and how you can support them.
  • Create a supportive environment: Encourage your teenager to engage in healthy behaviors, such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. Limit their exposure to stressors, such as bullying or social media.
  • Be patient: Mental illness can take time to diagnose and treat. It’s important to be patient with your teenager and understand that recovery is a process.

It’s important to remember that mental illness is not a choice and it’s not something your teenager can just “snap out of.” With the right support and treatment, your teenager can recover and lead a happy and healthy life.

In conclusion, mental illness is a growing concern among teenagers, with studies showing that 1 in 5 teens will experience some form of mental illness. The common symptoms of mental illness in teenagers are depression, anxiety, eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. If you suspect your teenager may be experiencing mental illness, it’s important to seek professional help, educate yourself, create a supportive environment, and be patient with the recovery process. Remember, mental illness is not a choice, and with the right support and treatment, your teenager can recover and lead a happy and healthy life.

Teenage & Mental Health Issues

Depression is the most common issue that almost every teenager faced in his/her life.Its the main reason behind most of the mental disorders. So Its very critical to know about depression, anxiety so that necessary right actions can be taken for healthy lifestyle.

teenage mental health stats

[Source:National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) ]

What is depression exactly?

Sadness, that exceeds to a level that can be understood as depression after diagnosis that is critical and affect the ability of teen to function properly. This illness is more common in the United States for a long term.

  • Do you think your child is suffering from depression or a mental health problem?
  • And because of this depression they use drugs and alcohols to overcome the depression? 

Some thinks that it’s not a problem because he isn’t alone. Nowadays, many of the teens are suffering from mental illness problems. This mental health problem is mainly depressive disorders and extreme behavioral problems. The bad thing our society is what they are doing with these teenagers is they do not receive help for their disorders because they don’t think this a disorder.

But you don’t need to worry because there are several treatments for teens who are suffering from this disorder. There are a lot of many centers where your son or daughter can be treated and they can get their life back on the right path.

What are the main mental health disorders?

Here are some of the common mental health disorders:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Insomnia
  • Antisocial disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Other behavioral disorders

Teenage mental illness symptoms:

Warning signals for possibly existing illness

There are several mental illnesses from which you can notice that your son or daughter is under depression or not:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • No participation in extra activities
  • Low level of energy
  • No social circle
  • Decline in grades
  • Use of excessive drugs and alcohols
  • Loss of interest in habits
  • No more interest to fulfill his aim
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Start hating his own family
  • Anger and irritability


teen mental health issues

When mental illnesses develop in childhood and adolescence, a combination of various factors is assumed. Biological and psychological factors as well as the social and cultural environment are important.

Risk factors

The following biological factors influence the risk of a mental illness

  • genetic factors
  • physical illnesses
  • Disorders of brain functions (e.g. inflammatory diseases or malformations of the brain)
  • gender
  • Temperament of the child with the following typical aspects
    • the extent of the child’s activity,
    • the regularity of different processes (such as sleep-wake rhythm or eating behavior) or
    • the tendency to approach or withdraw with new stimuli.
    • Studies show that various aspects of temperament are genetically determined and that children have these characteristics from birth on.)

Psychological factors that affect the risk of mental illness include the child’s personality traits, negative, stressful events and traumatic experiences that can affect the child’s personality and behavior. There are some aspects within the family that affect the risk of mental disorder. This includes

  • inconsistent (inconsistent) upbringing
  • physical violence, abuse and sexual abuse
  • Neglect or indifferent treatment
  • strong protective and interfering parenting behavior
  • frequent quarrel, divorce or separation of parents
  • Mental illnesses of parents

In addition, factors in kindergarten and school (e.g. behavior of educators and teachers, school climate) and the quality of contacts with peers (e.g. unfavorable or missing friendships) play a role. Finally, socio-cultural factors such as social class and cultural background also affect the risk of developing a mental disorder.

Protective factors

On the other hand, there are factors that can protect against mental illness or at least reduce the likelihood of developing such a disorder. This can be certain characteristics of the child or adolescent such. B. be a high self-esteem, an active, open and flexible temperament or a high intelligence.

Favorable conditions in the family can also protect against mental illness. This includes a stable emotional relationship with at least one caregiver, good cohesion within the family and a positive, supportive family atmosphere.

Protection factors in the social environment outside the family are positive friendships, social support outside the family and positive experiences at school.


Behavioral and emotional disorders beginning in childhood

and adolescence

This includes a number of different disorders in which behavior and / or feelings play a role:

  1. hyperkinetic disorders such as attention and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is characterized by overactive behavior, inattentiveness and a lack of persistence
  2. Disorders of social behavior, in which persistent aggressiveness, disregard for social rules and defiant behavior occur
  3. emotional disorders, for example separation anxiety, fear of certain objects (phobias), social anxiety and depressive disorders
  4. a combination of disorders of social behavior and emotional disorders: Here, typical features of a social behavior disorder and typical features of emotional disorders occur simultaneously.
  5. Disorders of social functions beginning in childhood: These include elective mutism and attachment disorders. With elective mutism, the child only speaks to certain people or in certain situations. In the event of a binding disorder, the child clings to caregivers or shows a mixture of approach and avoidance.
  6. Tic disorders, in which involuntary, rapid and repeated movements occur. Motor tics such as blinking or grimacing and vocal tics such as the repetition of certain words can occur.
  7. other behavioral or emotional disorders beginning in childhood and adolescence. These include various disorders such as involuntary wetting (enuresis), voluntary or involuntary discontinuation of stool in inappropriate places (enkopresis), feeding disorders in early childhood, movement disorders with repeated, rhythmic movements, rumbling (fast, jerky, difficult to understand speech) and stuttering.


Duration and causes of depression in children and


In total, about 9 percent of children and adolescents are affected by depression. While depression is less common in younger children, it occurs significantly more often from the age of 13. Depression affects approximately 1 percent of children, 2 to 3 percent of primary school children and 3 to 10 percent of young people between 12 and 17 years of age.


Depression in children and adolescents usually lasts shorter than in adults and more often completely disappears. Depression in adolescence, however, is more likely to relapse than in adults, and people at risk are more likely to develop depression as adults.

Depression means that those affected cannot participate in many activities and withdraw from social relationships. This can lead to delays in development. In this way, children and adolescents often continue to lose confidence, which can increase the depressive symptoms.

Some children and adolescents also experience alcohol or drug abuse due to depression, which can also increase depressive symptoms.

Possible causes

Experts believe that the interplay of biological, psychological and social factors contributes to the development and course of depression. Research suggests that the tendency to develop depression is partly genetic – especially in cases of severe and early onset depression.

Furthermore, it is assumed that a deficiency of the messenger substances serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine plays a role in the development of depression.

Adverse psychological and social factors can influence the development and course of depression. This includes:

  • Lack of positive experiences (lack of positive reinforcement)
  • negative image of yourself, your environment and the future
  • Conviction that you cannot influence events yourself (learned helplessness).

Depression can be triggered by stressful life events, such as the death of a parent, or prolonged stresses, such as physical or sexual abuse or conflicts between parents.

Unfavorable relationship patterns can also contribute to the development of depression, for example if the parents show little attention to their child, do not respond to their needs or if there are often conflicts.

Problems with peers, such as frequent conflicts or a lack of friendship, and difficulties at school can also contribute to the development of depression.

What other disturbances often occur simultaneously?

If a child or adolescent suffers from depression, other mental disorders often occur. Up to 75 percent of those affected also have an anxiety disorder, up to 50 percent have a social behavior disorder and up to 25 percent have misused alcohol or drugs. Furthermore, psychosomatic complaints, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders or attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often occur simultaneously with depression.

Diagnosis of depression in children and adolescents

Since the symptoms of depression in children and adolescents are often atypical, the diagnosis should be carried out by an expert, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist or a child and adolescent psychotherapist.

First of all, there is a detailed discussion with the parents and their child (anamnesis), in which the development and course of the symptoms, the development of the child and stress factors in the family are recorded.

In order to be able to assess the symptoms as precisely as possible, educators or teachers are also included in the diagnosis if possible.

Depression questionnaires can help assess the symptoms and severity of the condition more closely. In young children, non-verbal tests such as drawing or a sentence supplement test are often used to shed light on their feelings and symptoms.

Depression is diagnosed if symptoms persist almost every day and most of the day for at least two weeks. At the same time, it is important to carefully monitor signs of an increased risk of suicide, as this is a typical characteristic of depression.

To rule out the fact that the symptoms are due to a physical illness – such as a brain illness or a functional disorder of the thyroid gland – a physical and neurological examination is also carried out.

It also records whether medication is being used regularly and whether there is abuse of alcohol or drugs, as these substances can contribute to the symptoms of depression.

Finally, depression needs to be differentiated from other mental illnesses, especially bipolar (manic-depressive) illness, schizophrenic illness, obsessive-compulsive disorder and adaptive disorder.

Treatment of depression

The treatment usually uses multimodal therapy consisting of measures of psychoeducation, psychotherapy and in some cases also medication (antidepressants).


First, the child and his parents are adequately informed about depression, its development, its course and the treatment options (psychoeducation). They are also informed that depression can reappear later (relapse).

In the event of mild depression, the parents and the child receive detailed advice and active support. For example, parents are given advice on how to reduce stress factors and how to shape their relationship with their child positively. Problem-solving strategies are also taught. If the symptoms have not improved sufficiently after 6 to 8 weeks, further measures should be considered, in particular psychotherapy.

For moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is the treatment of first choice. If it is not sufficiently effective in moderate depression, treatment with antidepressants can also be considered. However, possible side effects, especially an increase in suicidal thoughts, must be taken into account.

In severe depression, a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants is usually useful. In most cases, therapy takes place on an outpatient basis. In the case of severe depression, other mental illnesses or an increased risk of suicide, the therapy should be carried out as an inpatient.

It is important to always pay attention to whether there is an increased risk of suicide during therapy. This should always be taken seriously and appropriate protective measures should be taken.


Psychotherapy promises the greatest success in treating depression in childhood and adolescence. Cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy and family therapy have proven to be the most effective.

It makes sense to always include the family in the therapy. In some cases, additional educational support from the youth welfare office can be useful.

Important goals of psychotherapy for depression in children and adolescents are:

  • Reduce burdens
  • increase positive activities
  • to structure everyday life better
  • Communicate problem-solving strategies
  • Improve the child’s self-esteem and social skills

Central aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy are to change the stressful conditions that led to the depression, to build positive activities, to change unfavorable thinking patterns and to convey strategies for problem solving and stress management.

Interpersonal therapy is about dealing with interpersonal problems in a practical and pragmatic way. The participants develop strategies to deal with interpersonal conflicts and learn to improve their social skills.

With family therapy approaches, the family and important caregivers are also included in the therapy. Therapy should build sustainable relationships between family members, deal with conflicts and deal with and change unfavorable relationship patterns or deficits in communication.

Another important aspect of therapy is the prevention (prevention) of relapses. In addition, the participants learn which early warning signs can indicate the recurrence of depression and how they can behave when the first symptoms appear in order to avoid relapse.

Finally, they learn where to get support in the event of a relapse.

Therapy with antidepressants

In contrast to adults, there is little evidence of the effectiveness of antidepressants in children and adolescents. Therefore, they should only be used as part of comprehensive child and adolescent psychiatric treatment or together with psychotherapy.

If antidepressants are prescribed, the parents or adolescents should be fully informed about their effects and possible side effects. At present, only the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine is approved for depression in children and adolescents from 8 years in Germany. It is therefore recommended as the drug of first choice.

If treatment with fluoxetine is not possible or is not desired, the SSRIs citalopram, escitalopram or sertraline can be used. The medication should be taken regularly and for at least six months after the depression has subsided and slowly (gradually) discontinued.

SSRIs cause a so-called activation syndrome in children and adolescents more often than in adults. This can increase thoughts of suicide and the risk of suicide.

Other possible side effects include nausea, decreased appetite, headache, and trouble sleeping. Undesirable side effects should therefore be observed closely during therapy.

Older, so-called tri- and tetracyclic antidepressants are not recommended for children and adolescents. In Germany, St. John’s wort is often used in children and adolescents with depression. However, there is little evidence of its effectiveness.

Teenage mental health facts:

  • Depression that exceeds from the point of sadness to the point of illness which affects the ability of the victim to function properly.
  • 20% of the teenagers are suffering from mental health illness by the time they become adults.
  • Suffering from depression has not one cause but several factors like psychological, biological and environmental risk factors.

Biologically it affects the brain by reducing the level of neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain which decrease the size of some part of brain and increase the activity in the remaining part.

Psychological disorder includes low self-esteem, poor body posture, mood disorders, low immunity and other factors.

The environmental factors include sexual abuse, death of a beloved, victim of bullying etc.

  • It is alarming if you notice general depression symptoms like having depressed mood more than two weeks.
  • The third reason of teenager suicide is suffering from mental illness under the age of 10-24 in the United States.
  • If you want to diagnose mental health illness you have to visit a health-care professional which may perform a routine a test, a medical or physical examine to diagnose.
  • About half of the teenagers who are under depression cure from this disorder by taking antidepressants. It takes about 6 weeks to start feeling better after taking treatment.
  • The disability of people over 5 years of age in United States is because of the depression.

Remedies of depression:

  • If you want to help your teen to get out of depression, he will undergo with few psychotherapies which includes Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These therapies are very effective to help your teen get rid of negative thoughts and mental illness.

He will learn how to change his unhealthy behaviors.

  • The other most important therapy is the involvement of family. Family therapy gives the teen to strengthens and heal quickly.
  • The other one is recreational therapy which will teach your teen to engage in fun without thinking of the negative thoughts.


WHO Mental Health Day 2019

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