common mental health issues for teens



It’s hard to remember what being a teenager is like or understand why they’re reacting so deeply to things we see as small- so much is on our plate as adults that we forget how huge our feelings for smaller things would be to a teen. What do you need to know about teens and anxiety?

 Teens and Anxiety

Teens will say they have stomach aches, headaches, sleep problems, and don’t feel like going to school due to feeling anxious, it starts a fight – you think they’re faking it.  Teens may experience panic attacks where they have trouble breathing, their hearts race, and they start crying.  Teens may feel like they are alone with these experiences.  You may feel helpless in calming your teen down.

Teens and Depression

Teens with symptoms of depression have similar experiences as teens with anxiety.  Teens may sleep too little or too much.  They may have abrupt changes in appetite or activity level.  Teens say they just don’t feel as excited about things that gave them joy in the past.  Teens will also isolate from friends if they feel down.  Some teens have thoughts of hurting themselves or secretly engage in harming themselves.  As with anxiety, teens may blame themselves for these unpleasant feelings and thoughts.  It’s hard for you as a parent to accept your teen is depressed, especially when you know you’ve tried to give them the best life possible. 

Academic disengagement

Teens may experience academic disengagement such as receiving failing grades, missing school or skipping school, turning in homework and projects late or not at all, and bombing tests, and you’re beside yourself after each homework fight or bad grade discussion.  Parents may be beside themselves in how to motivate their teens to do better in school.  Teens may struggle with learning disorders or ADHD which contributes to their negative view of school.  Teens may believe they are “too dumb” to do well in school.  Parents know their teens are not living up to their potential.

Peer relationships

Teens may have tumultuous relationships with peers.  They may be best friends with someone one day and then vow to never speak with that person again the next day.  They may feel cyberbullied on social media or kicked out of their friend group.  They may be friends with peers that engage in drug and alcohol abuse.  They may find themselves in toxic intimate relationships.  You’re overwhelmed with navigating social media and when or if to step in when it comes to your teen’s relationships with peers and intimate partners.  You don’t want to be the “buddy” parent bringing up embarrassing things all the time because you want them to come to you with problems and questions.