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How to Help Your Teen

It is shocking to learn that half of all mental health disorders begin displaying symptoms by age 14. That means it is especially important to look for signs and symptoms in adolescents and teens. Both addiction and mental health disorders are chronic and progressive conditions, meaning that symptoms continue to get worse until you receive treatment. If you are wondering how to help your teen if they start demonstrating signs of substance abuse or mental health disorder, early treatment is the best thing you can do. Mental health and substance abuse disorders are prevalent in the United States, as nearly 23 million Americans over the age of 12 experience addiction on an annual basis. 46.4% of Americans will eventually develop a mental health disorder, making addiction and mental health disorders among the most common conditions in the United States.

Teens, Mental Health, and Addiction

During adolescence, your teen’s body and brain continue to mature. Since it takes until your mid-20s for decision-making centers of the brain to fully develop, teens are especially prone to making poor decisions. Also, puberty makes it difficult to distinguish between symptoms of a mental health or substance abuse disorder and teenage moodiness. For teens struggling with a mental health disorder, it’s important to understand how to help your teen because mental health symptoms can create increased feelings of isolation. Conditions like depression and anxiety can cause you to avoid social interactions, which can make symptoms more severe. Drug and alcohol use is also more common among teens that struggle with mental health disorders, as drugs and alcohol can temporarily relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Changes in behavior and moods are also common in addiction and mental health disorders. Drastic personality changes, such as suddenly talking rapidly or angry outbursts, can be signs of an underlying problem. Common signs and symptoms of substance abuse and mental health problems in teens include:

  • Sharing feelings of hopelessness
  • Self-harming
  • Changing groups of friends
  • Losing interest in school and hobbies
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Sleeping too much

Treatment Options

There is no known cause of mental health or substance abuse disorders. This means that conditions like depression can impact anyone, regardless of their age, race, religion, or background. Mental health and substance abuse disorders can lead to significant neurotransmitter imbalances. Thus, treatment is necessary to ensure that your teen can fully recover. During addiction, your brain’s pleasure and reward center changes. These alterations can take time to correct and cause mood changes and depression during early recovery. Mental health disorders can typically be treated on an outpatient basis with a mix of therapy and medications. When your teen shows signs of substance abuse disorder or mental health problems, connect with treatment as soon as possible. One of the best ways to understand how to help your teen is to contact treatment centers directly. Treatment centers can help you understand what symptoms you should be looking out for and how to address a mental health or substance abuse problem.

How to Help Your Teen Today

If you are wondering how to help your teen overcome an addiction or mental health problem, reach out to Destinations for Teens. While mental health and substance abuse disorders are chronic conditions, recovery is always possible. To learn more about how to help your teen, contact Destinations for Teens today at 877.466.0620.   Sources: Trends and Statistics, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Kapil, Rubina. 5 Surprising Mental Health Statistics, Mental Health First Aid, February 2019,