21 Oct Signs Your Teen’s Mental Illness is Not Improving
As behavioral health professionals at ViewPoint, we often see teens struggling with mental illness. While it’s essential to be aware of mental health issues all year, Mental Illness Awareness Month is when we can focus on increasing public awareness and education about this issue.
One of the most important things we can do is to help parents identify signs that their teen’s having mental illness issues. If you’re noticing any of the following behaviors in your teen, it’s essential to seek professional help.
Increased Irritability or Aggression
Any irritability can seem like nothing at first, but sudden increases can trigger warning signs. It usually starts with some irritability and can boil over to aggression. Try identifying changes early to avoid the aggression part as much as possible.
If aggression starts to show, it’s time to take immediate action as it can be very dangerous for teenagers and their families.
Withdrawing from Friends and Activities
Children start to shut down when they are going through struggles on their own. They lose their desire to go anywhere and hang out with anyone. This can sometimes be a gradual process, but other times, it can be very rapid.
It is essential to know the difference between helping them stay active with friends and activities and forcing them to explore independently. The earlier changes get spotted, the easier it is to fix back up.
Changes in Eating or Sleeping Habits
Growing children need healthy eating and sleeping habits to reach their potential. Some end up going from one extreme or the other with food. Food can be a way of staying healthy and fit, while it can also be a way of escaping challenges we face, turning into an eating disorder. It is important to have a healthy balance.
Pay attention to their weight and monitor any changes at the dinner table. Some teens will try to hide any food issues from their parents, so it’s not always easy to spot at first.
Sleep is hard to blow off without seeing many changes in the body. If they are having trouble sleeping or refusing to go to bed at a decent hour, try removing any electronic devices in the bedroom as a starter.
Many people of all ages rely too much on electronic devices before bed. Not having a phone, tablet, or television on can increase the chances of falling asleep quickly.
Sleep is critical for all ages, especially teenagers, with the changes they’re experiencing. It’s very easy for students to start falling behind if they do not get the sleep they need.
It can start affecting all parts of their life and lead to much more significant complications.
Difficulty Concentrating or Completing Tasks
Sometimes it is difficult to concentrate and complete tasks, especially if they have a ton on their plate. Many students fall short in this department, even after success in the past. If that’s the case, mental illness struggles could set in.
Students attempt to create as much distance as possible when going through a situation. It may seem like it’s not that big of a deal to the average person, but they could struggle to concentrate the way they usually do. A typical task is also hard to handle with so much else on their plate.
When teenagers start to struggle with concentration and task completion, they start to show other warning signs as well. This is a very early indicator and should be treated seriously to avoid other complications.
Declining Grades or Missing School
Teenagers may hide many things about their mental illness, but if their grades start to decline, it could signal that something is going wrong. It’s usually one of the early indicators because some students don’t even realize it at first.
Later on, frustration at school can lead to many wanting to avoid it altogether. Coming up with any excuse possible to miss school and stay home is a problem.
Self-Harm or Thoughts of Suicide
The severity of self-harm and suicidal thoughts means we should treat every verbalized issue seriously. It’s best to be over-cautious instead of letting seemingly empty thoughts pass. Talk to your teen openly about self-harm and suicidal ideations so that they know you are there for them and so you can get them the support they need.
Can Mental Hospitals Help?
If improvements aren’t easy to see with ongoing mental illness treatment, it might be time to look at an option like ViewPoint Center. We offer a very nurturing program that provides high-level care for teenagers specifically.
Every teenager has slightly different needs, so it’s impossible to say how long they need treatment upon arrival. However, previous students who enrolled at ViewPoint Center have found ways to bounce back and be on the right path.
Mental Illness: An Ongoing Struggle
If you’re concerned about your teen’s mental health, don’t hesitate to contact a behavioral health professional. We can help you get your child the care and treatment they need.
The reality is that many teenagers will have good days and bad when treating their mental illness. It’s about handling those bad days as much as possible and slowly limiting them as time passes.
If a teenager has a history of mental illness, they should be monitored all the time. Warning signs will usually give parents a good indicator of how their child feels. The good news is that professional help works and is pretty easy to obtain.