Anxiety disorders, which include conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and OCD, can cause severe symptoms. These can prevent you from living a healthy and productive life. The prevalence of mental illness and the severity of symptoms makes it essential for parents to learn how to talk about mental health to teens. If your teen struggles with mental health and/or substance abuse, contact Foothills at Red Oak and ask about our co-occurring disorders treatment program.
How to Talk About Mental Health to Teens
Learning how to talk about mental health to teens is the best way to support adolescents who are experiencing emotional instability. Many teens struggle with peer pressure and the need to fit in, which can make negative stereotypes involving mental illness a barrier to treatment. While everyone has negative emotions, when you have a mental health disorder, symptoms can cause intense feelings of anxiety, depression, or panic that don’t go away with time.
Early treatment at an adolescent treatment center is essential to recovery. Symptoms get progressively worse as you delay treatment. Another reason why learning how to talk about mental health to teens is paramount is because most teens may not understand that their thoughts and feelings are signs of mental illness.
Although many teens struggle with mental illness, adolescents can find it overwhelming and stressful when they’re combating symptoms. When symptoms begin impacting daily life, such as causing you to avoid socializing or neglect school work, your teen needs additional help and support.
Another risk of leaving mental health symptoms unaddressed is that certain conditions, like depression, can increase your risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Treating Mental Illness in Teens
Each year, millions of teens struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health conditions. Anxiety-related disorders are the most common mental health condition impacting teens, as 32% of Americans ages 13 to 18 deal with one each year. Depression is the second-most-common mental illness that occurs in teens, with 13% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 struggling with depression annually. However, there is help available.
Understanding how to talk about mental health to teens requires knowing how mental illness is treated. For instance, most mental health disorders are chronic conditions. In other words, they don’t have a known cure, symptoms can be successfully managed and alleviated with proper treatment. Some of the most common mental health disorders that impact teens include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic and Social Anxiety Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Mood Disorders
Symptoms can occur at any age, which is why noticing changes in behavior and personality is essential. Mental health disorders can also lead to increased conflict. Treatment focuses on improving communication and critical thinking skills. Mental health disorders aren’t identifiable with procedures like a blood test. Therefore, seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist is essential if your teen is struggling with mental health symptoms.
Since many mental health disorders share symptoms, mental health professionals are quintessential to the recovery process. Medications, like anti-anxiety prescriptions or anti-depressants, can alleviate symptoms by correcting neurotransmitter imbalances. In conditions like depression, the depletion of neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine is responsible for symptoms. In addition, medications help your brain release the proper amount of neurotransmitters, which can alleviate symptoms.
Other evidence-based treatments, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, teach you how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, are connected. Another goal of talk-based therapy is ensuring that you learn how to cope with triggers, such as stress and anxiety.
Connecting with a Treatment Center Today
Mental illness is common among adolescents. Therefore, it’s vital for parents to understand how to talk about mental health to teens. Mental illness can cause disabling symptoms. However, getting treatment allows you to learn how to manage symptoms and live a stable and healthy life properly. If you’d like to learn more about how to talk about mental health to teens or would like to discuss our teen treatment programs, contact us today at 866.300.5275.