Even though your child may be growing up, you still worry the way you did when they were five years old. As a parent, you feel it’s your responsibility to keep them safe and secure, but you can’t wrap them up in cotton wool. Teenagers, especially, go through different emotions every day. It’s a time when everything is changing and they’re trying to find their place in the world. They may be affected by their first loves, they may be under immense peer pressure or there may be an underlying mental health disorder. So, how do you tell the difference? Look out for these signs.
Did you know that one in five teenagers will experience depression? We have times when we feel low, but chronic depression is different. If you notice your child is withdrawn and unhappy for longer than a few weeks, it may be a sign of depression that needs help. You may also notice that your teen isn’t interested in participating in activities, has a loss of appetite and looks fatigued regularly. Someone suffering from chronic depression and also lose or gain weight and lash out over small things. Depression can lead to drug and alcohol abuse so keep your eyes out for odd behavior. You can get help from www.orlandorecovery.com if you suspect drug or alcohol abuse. It’s often used a form of escapism but it certainly won’t make matters easier.
Teens are often under a lot of pressure. They have school work, exams, friendships, relationships and family life to worry about, if not more. A certain amount of anxiety can be normal for teens, but there are certain signs that anxiety is getting out of control. Your teen may experience sweaty palms, a dry mouth and tightening muscles. Keep a look out for your teen experiencing dizzy spells or heart palpitations. You may also notice an inability to sit still or full on panic attacks. Anxiety is the result of feeling overwhelmed by fears. These fears are often irrational and can be calmed once anxiety has been diagnosed. Take a look at these breathing techniques – http://www.anxieties.com/57/panic-step4#.WYm43YjyuM8.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Unfortunately, teens are experiencing PTSD more often than ever. It’s sad to think that a teen could experience PTSD because of witnessing a shooting in a school or being a victim of a violent assault. If your child is suffering from PTSD, you may notice difficulty in sleeping or tense behavior in certain situations. To learn more about check out this ParentingPod guide on teen PTSD. Many teens who are suffering from PTSD will suddenly get poor school results and have difficulty concentrating on their work. It’s a disorder that can benefit hugely from the right kind of counseling and care.
Sadly, over half of teenage girls are willing to do something unhealthy to lose weight. They’re raised in a world where an image is everything and they think they have to live up to it. A girl will never be under more pressure to look good than during her high school years. It may be something she’s got into her own head by looking at magazines and watching movies, or it may be something her peers have teased her about. Either way, desperation to lose weight can quickly turn into an eating disorder.
If you suspect your teen has an eating disorder, look out for symptoms like changes in skin or constant break outs, hair loss and a reduction in weight. You may also notice changes to behavior, like wanting to exercise more often or significantly reducing portion sizes at meal times. Talk to your teen about body image and find out how she views herself. Do what you can to build her confidence up and keep an eye out for any ‘friends’ that may be convincing her she isn’t good enough.
What You Can Do When You Suspect a Mental Disorder
The first thing you need to do when you think your teen is suffering from a mental health disorder is paying close attention. Your teen may not want you asking questions and could shut you down if you attempt it, so make sure you monitor your teen from a distance. It’s important to have a relationship built on trust, so don’t be tempted to snoop through laptops or diaries. You need to present yourself as your teens’ safe zone. They should be able to feel secure in approaching you when needed.
If you notice something that concerns you, bring up your concerns with your teen and offer to help. If it reaches the point where your own methods aren’t working, you may need to seek professional help from your local doctor.