The Most Common Teenage Mental Illnesses Have Become Epidemic
Thus far in the 21st century, America has seen its people’s mental health deteriorate before its very eyes. Living in a near-futuristic, high-tech world where convenience is expected, most known deadly illnesses can be effectively treated, and the power to find the answer to any question man has ever dreamed of asking at our very fingertips, it begs the question: why are we so depressed? And, also, why is our mental illness epidemic getting worse as the world seemingly gets better?
Unfortunately, there is no known definitive answer to this question. Some chalk it up to mankind’s technological growing pains. Experts from this school of thought feel as though we are living in a time where we haven’t yet fully taken control of our technological playthings, and therefore, our techno-gadgets have instead taken control of us as we let them negatively impact our everyday lives. For example, constantly checking your news app on your phone can prove to be depressing as media outlets often choose to report on the world’s depravity and hopelessness.
But then again, who knows for sure? In actuality, the important question to ask ourselves isn’t “why do we suffer from mental health-related issues more than ever” - our attempt to answer that question has already been covered in the article here - rather, the important question(s) to ask ourselves are:
- “What can we do to treat the current life-stealing, epidemic of mental illness here in the US.?”
- “Isn’t it about time we utilize residential treatment-like facilities to treat more issues than just that of addiction and behavioral issues?”
- “Wouldn’t our severely, and potentially suicidal, mentally-ill citizens find more effective treatment at a 24-hour facility - one that doesn’t require someone to be deemed clinically insane by the state or to be arrested in order to receive proper residential, mental health care?”
While these questions have yet to be answered for mentally ill adults, teens are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to receive 24-hour residential treatment for any mental illness that could potentially plague their young lives. Fortunately for mentally ill and troubled teens (most troubled teens are mentally ill as well), there are facilities known as a residential treatment center.
Residential Treatment for Teens Suffering from Mental Health Issues
As any good parent will tell you, a teenager’s mental health is not something to take lightly. For actual proof of this notion, however, one needn’t look further than Annual teenage, fatality statistics. As of this writing (summer 2018), suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, edged out only by gunshots and car accidents.
While our intention is never to add worry to parents in need of help, it is our duty to assist parents of emotionally suffering, troubled teens by any means necessary. Below, we have included a brief summary of the three most common and critical mental illnesses affecting teens today.
The Most Common Types of Teenage Mental Illnesses
Anxiety disorder currently affects up to 30% of teens at some point during their adolescence. In other words, clinical anxiousness, like depression, has become an epidemic crisis. Despite what is generally said about anxiety, it is a very serious condition that can lead an undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed teen to act on self-destructive, even self-harming behaviors.
While there are several different types of anxiety disorders they are similar in the way they affect the adolescent brain. Anxiety disorders are characterized by intense feelings of debilitating, over anxiousness, fear, nervousness, worrying, or macabre-like feelings of overwhelming dread.
Considering the terrifying and frustrating symptoms, it should come as no surprise that teenagers with anxiety disorders at high risk of developing an addiction to harmful substances.
Most Common Anxiety Disorders Among Teens:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
Depression, otherwise known as, major depressive disorder, is the most widely recognized and common mental illness of all time. This is especially true in the case of teenagers who - thanks to raging hormones, an increasing amount of expectations and responsibilities to live up to - have more of an affinity for feeling depressed than that of adults.
If history should repeat itself, an estimated 2.2 million teenagers will suffer from a depressive episode during this year, alone. However, alarming this statistic may appear (approximately 12% all teens) its research only accounts for documented depressive episodes. The actual number of depressed teens isn’t easy to quantify, however, the experts at Suicide.org estimates it could be as high as 20%.
Bipolar Disorder (Types I and II)
Originally believed to only affect adults, bipolar disorder has since become a mental health condition that affects nearly 3% of all American teenagers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is classified as a depressive disorder that can be broken up into four categories:
- Bipolar I
- Bipolar II
- Cyclothymic Disorder
- Bipolar disorder (generalized)
Bipolar disorder is characterized by its extreme effects and mood swings. Teens who suffer from bipolar disorder experience mood swings that range from manic to depressive. While manic, bipolar-diagnosed teens will appear to be hyper-focused, full of energy, and may even appear effervescent. These episodes aptly referred to as, manic episodes, can last anywhere from a few minutes to months at a time. Contrariwise, and on the other side of the bipolar-spectrum, diagnosed teens also suffer from depressive episodes that can last equally as long as their manic episodes.
Mental health authorities separate each classification as each disorder can have a different effect on different people. Additionally, these groupings make it easier for mental health physicians to hone in on a person's highly specific disorder to more effectively treat their highly particular illness.
Bipolar-diagnosed Teens May Experience or Reflect the Following:
- Mood Swings
- High levels of anxiety
- increased energy from seemingly out of nowhere
- Exaggerated optimism
- Poor compulsivity
- Suicidal ideation
- Energy loss
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- violent outbursts