One in five teens will develop a mental health disorder, with most problems beginning by the age of 15, according to an article on mental health on medicinenet.com.
Many parents watch their kids go through four years of high school without realizing their kid is mentally ill. Mental illnesses are often go unnoticed because they are not as obvious as a physical illness.
There is a wide range of different mental illnesses that may have similar symptoms but are very different. ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders are all categorized as mental illnesses.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of psychiatric diagnoses. Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of fear about future events, and fear is a reaction to current events.
People with anxiety experience physical (racing heart, sweating), emotional (panic, stress), behavioral (nervous habits, compulsions), and cognitive (racing thoughts, obsessions) symptoms. Many of these symptoms are similar to the body's normal "fight-or-flight" response to a dangerous situation.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) includes problems of not being able to focus, being overactive, not being able control behavior, or a combination of all of these. If not treated appropriately, ADHD may lead to drug and alcohol abuse, failure in school, problems keeping a job, and troubles with the law.
Irritability, poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are all symptoms that go along with ADHD.
“Growing up with ADHD has been a huge struggle. I used to put myself down because I couldn’t understand why it took so much of myself to actually focus and getting something down while everyone else made it look so simple.” Christian Thomas, victim of ADHD, reported.
Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how teenagers think, feel and behave, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems.
Teens with depression may sleep excessively, change eating habits, and may be involved in criminal activities such as stealing or using drugs.
Bipolar disorder is a serious brain illness. Bipolar disorder is not the same as the normal ups and downs every kid goes through. Bipolar symptoms are more powerful than that. The symptoms are so strong that they can make it hard for a teenager to do well in school or get along with friends and family members.
Rushed speech, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, poor judgment, impulsivity, and switching topics frequently are all signs of a bipolar disorder; these signs should not be ignored.
Recovery from mental illness symptoms is quicker for people who feel supported by those around them.
You don’t have to be a therapist or counselor; you just have to be supportive and understanding to help the person suffering from a mental health disorder.
www.nami.org is a website on National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is a nonprofit, self-help support organization of individuals with mental disorders and their families. It provides resources on mental disorders, including support groups, education, and training.
“People with a mental illness are just like people with a physical illness except they are expected to act like there is nothing wrong because they can’t exactly prove that there is actually something wrong,” stated Kristie Johnson, ER nurse at Barnes Jewish Hospital.
“Many wouldn’t expect someone with the flu to go to school when they can barely get out of bed, so someone with a mental illness that can barely get out of bed should be treated with the same expectations,” Johnson also stated.
Other possible warning signs of a mental illness include changes in physical health or appearance, including weight gain or loss; neglecting personal hygiene; a new group of friends; difficulty coping with problems and daily activities; persistent nightmares; alcohol and/or drug abuse; frequent outbursts of aggression or anger; threats of harm to themselves or others; self-injury or self-destructive behavior; and threatening to run away.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)