According to the CDC, more than a third of students in high school reported poor mental health during the pandemic in 2021. That number increased in 2022, with 44% of high school students saying they felt sad or hopeless persistently throughout the year. It’s common for teenagers to feel pressure from school, friends, work, sports, and more. With their bodies and personalities changing, it is essential to focus on mental wellness. Parents may struggle to connect with their teens as their relationship differs from their previous childhood years. With the hustle and bustle of work and everyday life, parents may not notice the signs of mental health concerns. You can pay attention to these top ten signs that teenagers struggle with mental wellness.
Your teenager may already be moody, but they will go through some extreme mood swings if suffering from depression or another mood disorder. You may notice they snap at you suddenly for no reason. If these mood swings are out of the norm, they may point to mental illness. You should speak with a doctor about your concerns if you see euphoria, aggressiveness, or impulsive behavior.
If you start to see your teenager not taking care of themselves, it could be more than laziness. You may notice that they stop brushing their teeth or only take showers once a week. Parents often overlook this sign as typical teenage behavior, but it could be more than that. It could signify depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. Having an open and honest relationship with your teen will help to mitigate lying or behaviors that could be considered dangerous.
Problems Staying and Falling Asleep
Teenagers are notorious for wanting to stay up all night playing video games or talking on the phone. When these situations become daily, it becomes a cause for concern. You may notice your teenager having difficulty staying awake throughout the day because they were up all night. They may seem overly fatigued and lose interest in their everyday activities. Teenagers need an average of eight to ten hours of sleep per night to function properly throughout the day. If you notice your teen getting much less, it’s time to talk about their well-being with them and perhaps a doctor.
Lack of Motivation
Teenagers have a lot to deal with, including social life, academic pressure, and more. If you start to notice your child lacks motivation to the extreme, it’s a sign to speak with a doctor. Lethargy and lack of motivation could be a sign of an underlying condition, especially when it’s an intense change from their normal behavior. You may notice they seem sleepy all day or start to have difficulty in school. These are things to watch out for to ensure your teenager has proper medical attention for all of their health needs.
Changes in Eating Habits
Changes in weight, such as excessive weight gain or loss, may indicate an eating disorder in youths. The National Eating Disorder Association has discovered that nearly half of all girls and boys suffer from some sort of eating disorder. You may notice changes in the way they eat. For example, skipping meals, hiding food, or taking pills such as laxatives to try to lose weight are all red flags of an eating disorder. They may conceal food due to a need to eat in secret. It’s best to have an open relationship with your youngster to ensure they will talk to you about any concerns.
If your teen goes from a straight-A student to a drop, that is a surefire sign that something is wrong. However, even subtle signs of declining grades are a red flag for your teen’s mental wellness. Your teenager has a lot to deal with daily — homework, fitting in at school, and body differences. These changes are entirely normal and not cause for concern. If you detect their grades declining, speak to them to find the cause. This sign, mixed with others on this list, is cause for concern regarding their mental health. It may be beneficial to rule out ADHD before moving on to other mental health issues, especially if grades decline more as the school year progresses.
Loss of Interest in Activities
If you have a teenager that’s usually very active but begins to notice they are missing sports practice or staying home when all of their friends are going out, it may be cause for concern. Teenagers that are depressed often lose interest in all of their normal activities and tend to stay locked up in their rooms. If you notice this happening to your teen, it’s time to speak with a doctor about your teen’s mental wellness. No one should struggle with depression or other mental health concerns when help is available.
Withdrawing from Friends and Family
If your teenager is normally a social butterfly but begins showing signs of avoidance, even with their own friends, it’s time to speak with a doctor. It’s common for people to hide when they’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, and your teenager isn’t any different. Adults do this as well. Speak with your youngster to discover the reason behind their pullback. If they don’t know the reason behind their withdrawal or don’t want to talk to you, it is time to speak with a medical professional to help.
Teenagers seeking a way to escape reality may take drugs or other medications. Maybe they give in to peer pressure and want to be cool. Whatever the case, this behavior will only worsen their problems and lead to a substance abuse disorder. It’s important to lock all prescription medications away from their reach and talk to them about using drugs to avoid unfortunate circumstances like addiction or overdose. If you notice your teenager acting strangely, it may indicate an underlying problem. You should contact a doctor immediately to get them the desperately needed help.
Feeling Worthless and Self-Harming
Differences in how your teen acts, especially when it is drastic, are a big red flag. If you notice them talking about feeling worthless, it could be a sign of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. It may seem like they struggle with everyday life and begin withdrawing from the world. If you see these extreme changes, such as talking about death or witnessing cut marks, get help immediately. These drastic changes could lead to suicidal thoughts, which are dangerous at any age.
We Are Ready to Help Teenagers
Our trained medical staff can help improve your teen’s mental wellness. From mental health issues to substance abuse, we have the tools and knowledge to help. Ask about a free assessment for diagnosis so we can start a personalized treatment plan for your teen. Inpatient and outpatient programs are available for counseling and other therapies.