I am sure you have said or heard your friends say, “my teen is being such a child right now.” Or, “Don’t worry they are just being kids.”

Sometimes you need to think twice about “just a teenage” behavior

Youth go through so many changes during their teen years, both physically can mentally. They are transitioning from children into adulthood and that is a lot of growing and development for a relatively short period of time. It is during this time that teen’s behaviors fluctuate rather frequently because of their hormones and whatnot. Which is why this is a critical time to stay in contact with your teens to know what is going on in their lives.

Approximately 1 in every 5 adolescents has some sort of diagnosable mental health disorder but only about 50% ever get the help they need. There are so many signs to indicate various types of mental health disorders, but unfortunately many of these behaviors, when seen in teens, are identified as “teens being moody” or “just teens going through puberty”. Two of the most common mental disorders are depression and anxiety, and many of their common symptoms are often times chalked up to “teens just being teens”.

Some common symptoms for depression include:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Hard time concentrating
  • Physical aches and pains

Some common symptoms for anxiety include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Easily startled
  • Trembling

When teens exhibit these types of behaviors they are often seen as “typical teenage behavior” and are brushed off. However, when these symptoms go overlooked or unmonitored, teens will often turn to some kind of substance to try and help alleviate their pain. Unfortunately, it can also work the opposite way where teens who abuse various substances develop some kind of mental disorder. Regardless, using drugs and alcohol to cope with the difficulties of mental disorders can lead to even more mental issues. It is hard for a teen to go through this alone, and they shouldn’t have to.

Parents, take the time to talk to your kids about their mental health and about substance abuse. Remind them that they are not alone and you are there for them. There are so many resources that can help you talk to your kids.

For more information on how to help your teen see below:

Teen Co-occurring Disorders