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Psychology and Mental Health Resources for Teens

 

Millions of teenagers throughout the United States struggle with some form of mental health concern. Even so, one of the biggest challenges in getting teens the help they need is the all-too-common feeling that they are alone in what they are experiencing. To support optimal health for teens, both they and their caregivers should become informed about the issues that surround mental health. Treatment is available for any kind of issue!

Depression

Depression is characterized by a pervasive, ongoing low mood. Teenagers who face depression often have difficulty concentrating during school or work. They may lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable, suffer from insomnia, or have low self-esteem. When untreated, depression is a major risk factor for self-harming behaviors. Depending on its severity and cause, depression can be helped through a combination of therapy and medication. Building positive coping mechanisms for stressful situations can reduce depression and help prevent its return.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders present through unhealthy eating behaviors that can be damaging to the body. These behaviors are often motivated by a desire to attain a certain weight or physique. Girls are at increased risk of eating disorders, but teen boys may also suffer from them. Eating disorders can lead to malnutrition and, in the long term, may result in organ failure. Eating disorders can be treated by improving the sufferer's self-image and developing a healthy relationship with food. Teens who cultivate better self-esteem can often make a full recovery from eating disorders.

Drug Abuse

Teenagers often face peer pressure to engage in recreational abuse of drugs like alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. Teens often turn to these drugs when they feel stressed, depressed, or simply overwhelmed. Drug abuse can impair judgment, resulting in low academic performance, risky decision-making, legal issues, and long-term health complications. Treatment typically focuses on developing healthy coping mechanisms while discontinuing drug use permanently. Sufferers benefit from a supportive environment isolated from the social circle that encouraged drug use.

Anxiety

Anxiety is similar to fear, but while fear is triggered by a specific, dangerous stimuli, anxiety is a general "feeling" without a specific trigger. Anxiety can develop for genetic reasons, as a result of trauma, or through the effects of sustained worries about grades, health, and other problems. Anxiety can make it difficult to concentrate, cause teens to pass up valuable opportunities, and contribute to depression. Many teens suffer from social anxiety, which focuses on interactions with others. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help teens to recognize and "defuse" anxious thoughts.

Behavioral Disorders

There are many different types of behavioral disorders that can strike teens. They cause problems with academic performance and developing healthy relationships. In addition to depressed mood, behavioral disorders can result in antisocial "acting out" and may even cause physical symptoms in teens. Behavioral disorders are classified into the "internalizing" type, such as depression, and the "externalizing" type, such as ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder. In many cases, behavioral disorders respond to medication and can decrease in severity over time.

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