Early Signs of Teenage Mental Illness


No parent wants her teen to struggle with the complication and confusion associated with mental illness; however, all too frequently teens are forced to bear the burden of this mental challenge. While nothing you can do can prevent your teen from developing a mental illness, you can watch for signs so you can catch any metal illnesses that do strike early, and therefore respond more effectively.


Many parents make the false assumption that mental illness is not something that can impact a teen. In truth, teens are susceptible to nearly all of the same mental illnesses as adults. The prevalence of these mental illnesses varies based on type, with depression being the most common. As TeenDepression.org reports, 20 percent of all teens will likely experience depression of some form prior to their 18th birthdays.

Common Signs

Teens in the midst of a mental illness struggle often exhibit telltale signs of their internal turmoil. These signs include extreme mood swings, withdrawal from friends and family members, a loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed and an extreme and unexplained increase in irritability. Many parents initially discount these signs as simply common emotional changes that accompany teen development, leaving many teen mental illnesses undiagnosed.

Importance of Early Detection

Early detection is key when it comes to treating teen mental illness. The sooner a teen is identified as a potential mental illnesses sufferer, the sooner treatment for this mental illness can begin. If you suspect that your teen has a mental illness, take immediate action. Failure to do so will result in your teen continuing to struggle as a result of his mental illness.

Impact of Early Detection and Treatment

If you detect your teen’s mental illness promptly and provide him with access to the treatment he needs, you can set him up for future success. Teens who receive immediate treatment for mental illness are more capable of forming relationships and do better in school. Early detection and treatment may also help keep your teen safe, as teens who receive this prompt treatment are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior and less likely to experiment with elicited substances, reports TeenDepression.org.

Response to Signs

Deciding what to do when you suspect mental illness can be challenging. Before you do anything, it is often best to discuss the situation with your teen. Ask the teen how he feels and what is causing him to feel this way. If he states that he is often sad or confused and doesn’t know why, this could reinforce your belief that he is a mental illness sufferer. Also, share your concerns with your teen’s pediatrician or family doctor and ask this professional to refer you to a mental health professional so that you can acquire the treatment your child needs.



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