Are you concerned about your teenager?
You know adolescence is a time of change, but you’ve noticed some worrisome things.
Adolescence is a challenging time for many families. There are natural physical, emotional, and social changes taking place for your teen. It’s also a time where your teen might be turning to their friends for support more than to you, so you’re feeling out of the loop. Adolescence is a time when teens begin to navigate the world on their own more than they ever have and pull a little away from you as they find their own voice and identity.
Still, you are their parent and you still know your teen well. Trust your gut if you think there is a problem even if your teen won’t talk to you directly about it. Here are some signs and situations that indicate your teen might benefit from a mental health evaluation:
Frequent or severe mood swings. To a certian degree mood swings are normal for teens but if they are very frequent or seem out of bounds compared to what you’ve seen with other teens, this can indicate they’re struggling with depression or another stressor.
Struggling to maintain basic grooming. If you’ve noticed a drop in showering or a significant decline in grooming, it could be another sign of depression.
Using alcohol or other substances to avoid or solve problems. Use of substances can include prescription medications. If your teen appears to be avoiding things in life with any substance, there could be an underlying stressor.
No longer interested in things they used to enjoy. Adolescence is a time for discovery, so if your teen used to be interested in band and now wants to go to dance class, you probably don’t need to worry. Support your teen in exploring things they enjoy and finding out what they don’t. If you teen is no longer interested in anything or doesn’t seem to get enjoyment anywhere, this could be a sign of depression.
Worried all the time. If you teen is expressing intense worries more days than not and the worry is getting in the way of their usual performance in school, keeping them home from school and activities frequently, or causing them to want to be near family members all the time, they may be developing problematic anxiety.
Struggling with their identity. Adolescence is a time when teens naturally begin to explore more about who they are and begin to develop an identity separate from you. If you believe your teen is struggling with their sexual or gender identity be supportive and curious.
Coping with being bullied. Bullying in school and on social media is a problem our teens are facing in greater numbers. If your teen is being bullied, it is not their fault. Being bullied can lead to staying away from school, a drop in grades, or a decline in other areas of functioning.
Dealing with a physical health condition. Teens who have diagnoses like asthma and diabetes face an additional burden during the challenging time of adolescence. Sometimes the desire to fit in can lead your child to struggle with taking care of their health condition. People with physical health conditions also experience anxiety and depression at higher rate than those without.
Preoccupied with death or reports having thoughts of suicide. Get help right away. You can immediately provide your teen with information about national or local suicide life lines. These services have trained people ready to support your teen with whatever they are struggling with. They are also often available by text or chat. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.com has a “chat” option on their home page. If you are worried immediately about your child hurting themselves, you can also call as a parent for support 1-800-273-8355. Suicide lifelines are just that, and do not replace treatment for mental health problems. I typically have same week appointments available.
It can be hard to know exactly what is going on with your teen, especially if your teen isn’t talking to you as much as he or she once did.
Some mental health problems can develop slowly over time and some can come on more suddenly. A mental health evaluation can help you and your teen get a better idea of what is going on and make a plan to do something about it. Just like adults, teens often do not get the professional support that would help them combat mental health challenges and significant stressors. This doesn't have to be the case.
No matter what is going on with your teen, the right support is out there! There are effective treatments for mental health challenges. I specialize in treating teens with anxiety and depression as well as other significant challenges teens face. I am skilled in evaluation and diagnosis. If I am not the best person to support your son or daughter, I will refer you to someone with the expertise your teen needs.
I offer psychotherapy rooted in a well-researched theory of human behavior matched with evidenced based interventions tailored to your teen’s unique circumstances. Your teen can benefit from a confidential place to talk and can learn coping skills at this formative stage of development that can be valuable for the rest of his or her life.
Get the support you and your teen need.
To schedule your free consultation today call me at 669-240-1003