Roughly 45 million American adults are living with mental illness every year. But adults aren’t the only ones dealing with these issues. Teens also grapple with illness such as anxiety and depression, and these conditions can make life even more difficult for individuals going through a transitional period of life.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 3.1 million individuals who are 12 to 17 years old have had a major depressive episode. That number is equal to slightly more than 12 percent of all people in that age range, and, based on reporting, females seem to experience these episodes more than males.
So what should you do if your child or teenager is experiencing this mental health issue?
First, it’s important to get a better understanding of the symptoms. Major depressive disorder usually presents with fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. With that in mind, you’ll want to ensure your child sees a medical professional who can suggest treatment options such as medication. Individual counseling is another possible option. NIH reports that about 60 percent of adolescents in a study didn’t receive treatment, and you don’t want your loved one to be part of that alarmingly high percentage.
At home, ensure your child makes it to appointments on time and doesn’t skip on prescribed medications, even if he or she is starting to feel better. Once a medication routine has been established, you’ll want to consult with a mental health professional before ending it. Make sure drugs, alcohol, and anything that might be used for self-harm, such as a firearm, is inaccessible in your home.
Never underestimate the importance of communication. Be open to your teen’s concerns and be willing to listen. If necessary, spend some extra time studying up on mental illnesses such as depression. This knowledge can better prepare you for the challenges that this condition can bring.
About 30 percent of adolescents have an anxiety disorder, and nearly 8 percent of those cases result in severe impairment.
If your teen is dealing with an anxiety disorder, you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. Like depression, anxiety tends to come with bouts of insomnia and difficulty concentrating. However, symptoms like muscle tension, excessive worrying, racing thoughts, and panic attacks are also common. Some types of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, only present under certain conditions.
Seeking professional treatment is a vital step to improve your teen’s quality of life. Therapy and medications along with lifestyle changes are often needed to manage anxiety.
As is the case with depression, you’ll need to be sensitive to your loved one’s needs if they’re dealing with an anxiety disorder. Patience and a calm demeanor can help you diffuse their panic in certain situations. You’ll also want to offer praise for accomplishments, encourage them in their endeavors, and make sure they stick to any treatment plans.
You’ll both have your share of disappointments and frustrations, but it’s possible to help your teen manage and overcome the challenges of mental illness.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Author Bio: Kat Helgeson comes from a ten-year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German. She has written several inspiring and motivation pieces for Colorado Counseling Center, a counseling center located in Centennial, Colorado.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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