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The Most Common Mental Health Illnesses In Teens

Mental health illnesses in teens are serious problems as they affect the way they think, feel, behave, emotional distress, and functional and physical problems.

In a time where more is expected of the upcoming generation, and where new records and requirements are constantly being raised, it’s not surprising that teens in today’s society are always stressed. That’s why it is very fitting that mental health and emotional intelligence is getting the attention it finally deserves as the mind can be a very strong facet in living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life. In today’s article, we will discuss the most common mental health illnesses in teens in today’s society, and what could be contributing to them as well as how to begin facing your fears and making a breakthrough. 

Anxiety in Teens 

Anxiety is normal, it is in fact the body’s natural response to stress. It’s why you feel a bit worried about that interview for your dream job. Why on the first day of school you feel a bit anxious, or just before a big performance or a life-changing moment you feel your heartbeat a bit faster. However, anxiety becomes an issue when the body is constantly always in fight-or-flight, constantly always feeling threatened and endangered, and therefore leads to affecting your day-to-day life and tasks. 

Anxiety can present in many signs, and in multiple combinations of these signs, which can also be unique to each individual. Essentially the most common signals of anxiety are profuse sweating, trembling, breathing heavily, a rapid heartbeat, constantly having the sense of looming fear or a threat, feeling tense or nervous and being restless, and lastly, trouble concentrating. Anxiety is usually brought on by some form of stress, fear, or trauma; maybe even all three combined. 

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome, and know that you are not alone if you feel this way. Essentially, at the root cause, one feels anxious when they are feeling a persistent state of fear or worry, therefore you need to find ways to calm yourself down, to reassure yourself. This can be done in a variety of ways, and what’s important is finding the way that best serves you. It can take trial and error: maybe going for a swim, a jog, journaling, meditating, venting to a friend, doing a face mask, a quick trip to the gym, or a mantra that grounds you. You need to make yourself feel safe again and remind yourself that you are all okay, as hard as it can feel in the moment. Calm your breathing, with deep breaths or by exhaling and inhaling to the tune of your favorite song. Whatever it may be, know you aren’t alone and can overcome this. Also, don’t be scared to seek out a health professional for help with anxiety and coping with it in healthy ways, or even identifying the root cause to essentially cause it to be an issue no more. You are strong for seeking help, the goal is to feel better, truly, permanently— not temporarily. It’s okay to need help from a professional sometimes to be happy again and to truly live to your full potential which you deserve and is your birthright.

Related: Managing Anxiety During COVID-19


Depression in Teens 

Depression is a large spectrum which each individual can fall along. There isn’t a one size fits all, it can also lead to bipolar disorder which is marked by sudden depressive, productive, positive, and negative mood swings and episodes. It can lead to clinical depression which is a depressive mood that can lead to loss of interest in once desirable activities and affect your day-to-day life. It can also be a persistent depressive disorder which is a mild form of depression but also one that can range long-term, for months even. When you feel depressed, it can be due to one severe event in your present or past, or worrying for your future and feeling hopeless about it. Or you could feel depressed after numerous hurtful events pile one on top of the other, feeling like a weight on your shoulders.

Depression can present in signs such as loss of interest in things which once mattered to you, always feeling tired or sleepy, feeling rather down even when things which used to please you happen. Feeling the need to self isolate themself from friends and loves ones. It can present as aches in the body such as headaches from all the stress and overthinking and despair you may be feeling just to name a few.

However, just like anxiety, depression can also be overcome and a number of teens do struggle with depression. When it comes to depression, at times you may need to seek help from a counselor, a therapist, a psychologist, or even a psychiatrist. It’s okay to need help, it is okay to ask for it. It makes you strong, it makes you self-aware and resilient to identify where and when something is wrong and to seek out a professional that can help you. It may take some time to find the right counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist for you, you want to ensure you trust, feel safe and that conversation flows and you feel understood by that health professional. 

Asking For Help

The majority of teens find it can be scary opening up to loved ones and family, informing them that you are struggling and may need help. It is also completely okay and normal that yes you want to speak to a professional, you want to speak to a health provider, but you don’t feel ready to speak to your loved ones about the issue. That is normal and healthy as well. You will speak to them in your own time, maybe first you want to sit down with a mental health professional and ensure you understand yourself first before involving others, maybe you just need time to feel okay being that vulnerable about your mental health struggles to your friends and family. It is ok. 

It is also understandable that health care, mental, just like all others can be pricey and that not everyone has insurance. Group therapy can also be an option or speaking with a therapist to know if they have other lower-ranged prices that you may be able to afford. It can also be a great help in the meantime to find amazing mental health published books that are written by psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists alike. This can also be very helpful for you. And remember, change takes time, but change does happen, you will feel whole again, you will be happy again, you are not broken: you are simply evolving and growing and changing. You are not alone, and you are loved by someone, whether it be someone you know or someone you don’t, you are loved. Until next time, be safe! 

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