Adolescence can be a joyful life stage of change and discovering who you are, and mental health disorders can halt or slow this personal growth and even have lasting effects into adulthood. Mental health disorders are prevalent in adolescents, with one in five suffering from this condition, making it a critical time to seek treatment. Fortunately, there are various effective adolescent mental health treatments available.
Let’s talk about the types of mental health disorders, their treatment options, and where you can go in Palm Harbor and Westchase, FL, for comprehensive mental health care.
What Is Mental Health Disorder?
A mental health disorder is a condition that affects a person’s mood, thoughts, or behavior. These disorders can cause significant distress and impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning. There are various mental health disorders, but the three most common types of mental health disorders in adolescents are emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, and eating disorders.
Common Mental Health Disorders in Adolescents
Emotional disorders are mental health conditions in which one has upsetting thoughts and behaviors that disrupt their daily life. This includes conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
- Depression is characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and fatigue.
- Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry and fear.
- Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from depression to mania.
All of these disorders can affect a child’s ability to get schoolwork done, and these conditions can be caused or made worse by the school environment, especially if bullying occurs.
A behavioral disorder is a condition characterized by persistent or recurrent behavioral problems like emotional disorders or behavioral disorders. The most common behavioral disorders in adolescents are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder.
- ADHD is characterized by problems with focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
- Conduct disorder is characterized by persistent aggression and rule-breaking behavior.
- The oppositional defiant disorder is characterized by hostile and disobedient behavior toward authority figures.
All of these disorders can interfere with school performance and social interactions.
An eating disorder is characterized by abnormal eating habits that can lead to serious health problems. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
- Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight and self-starvation.
- Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating followed by purging.
- Binge-eating disorder is characterized by compulsive overeating without purging.
Eating disorders can cause serious health problems, and they can be triggered or made worse by the pressure to be thin or have the perfect body type.
How Are Adolescent Mental Health Disorders Treated?
Adolescent mental health disorders can be effectively treated with various methods, including but not limited to: medication, therapy, and support groups.
Medication can be used to treat the symptoms of mental health disorders, specifically emotional disorders. For instance, pediatricians can prescribe antidepressants, which can help the brain maintain higher levels of serotonin, or the “happy hormone”.
Therapy can also help to address the underlying causes of the disorder. Therapy can be a very effective treatment for eating disorders, as therapists use techniques to help the child challenge their ideas of body image and encourage more positive self-talk and thinking.
Adolescent Mental Health Near Me
If you think your child might have a mental health disorder, it is important to get help sooner rather than later.
At Children’s Medical Center, your child will be able to get the help they need. Our pediatricians can evaluate your child’s mental health and recommend a specialist if needed. Each of our 21 pediatricians is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and many of them specialize in adolescent health.
To schedule an appointment, call us at call 727-787-6335. We hope to care for your adolescent’s mental health and keep them healthy as they enter young adulthood!