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10 Signs That Your Adolescent is Struggling With Mental Health 

Victory Bay

Teenagers face various difficulties that parents can easily overlook if they aren’t careful. Because teens face so much, it is not uncommon for them to start experiencing mental health struggles. 

Adolescents are at a critical point in their mental development, which is why it is so crucial for parents to be actively involved in their mental health. They may be struggling with friends, school, or the mental and physical transition as they are getting older. 

In this article, we will be discussing signs that your teenager may be struggling with their mental health and what you can do about it. 

  1. Unexplained Moodiness 

It is relatively normal for adolescents to go through a long moody stage when they enter their teen years. But there are instances where you may start to notice that your teenager is significantly more moody without any reason. 

They may have difficulties regulating their emotions or communicating negative feelings in a productive way. This can lead to self-isolation if they feel that no one understands what they are going through. 

Moodiness can look different depending on the teen, as some may come across as angry, anxious, melancholy, or combative. 

  1. Poor Personal Hygiene 

If your adolescent has suddenly stopped taking care of their hygiene, this could be a strong sign that they are struggling with their mental health. They may not be brushing their teeth regularly, or their hair is becoming more and more tangled. Another common example of this is if your teen is wearing the same clothing over and over again without washing it. 

  1. Loss of Interest 

Your teenager may enjoy a variety of different activities depending on their hobbies and social groups. If you notice that your child has suddenly withdrawn from many of these activities, that could be a sign of mental health issues. 

Teenagers who battle with mental health will often lose interest in things that they used to find joy in. This can lead to them losing friends, getting kicked out of different groups, and becoming very inactive and lethargic. 

  1. Changes in Eating Habits 

Research shows that a large percentage of teenagers develop unhealthy weight control tactics if they are struggling with mental health. You may notice that your child is skipping meals, not eating at all, vomiting, or taking things like laxatives. 

If you do not notice eating habit changes, you may notice that your teenager is either gaining or losing weight significantly. They may be struggling with an eating disorder or may simply be using food as a way to cope or punish themselves. Teenagers may try to cope with their emotions by either overeating or not eating enough. 

  1. Sleep Issues 

Sleeping habits often have a strong connection to mental health and can reveal secrets about how your teenager is doing. Most teenagers love to sleep, but you may notice that they have begun to sleep much more than usual. Oftentimes, this will present itself as them sleeping during the day or sleeping in longer than usual. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, your teenager may be struggling with insomnia. They may be up at all hours of the night or have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour. 

  1. Lack of Motivation 

It’s normal for adolescents to go back and forth when it comes to how motivated they feel. They are changing a lot during this period and may feel more energized or fatigued at certain points. However, you want to keep an eye out for a severe lack of motivation and energy. 

They may not engage with you or do different activities like they usually would, or they are very sleepy and sluggish throughout the day. In many instances, this will usually impact their academic work, which can result in their grades slipping below average. 

  1. Isolating Behavior 

Any kind of isolating behavior is something worth worrying over, especially when it comes to adolescents. Some teenagers naturally separate themselves from their families as they become more independent, but there is a balance. 

You may notice that your normally extroverted teenager has become more isolated and doesn’t hang out with friends like normal. Or your teenager may go to great lengths to avoid their loved ones, which is out of the ordinary. 

  1. Feelings of Worthlessness 

It can be challenging to understand what your teenager is going through, especially when it comes to mental health. But you may notice some signs that they are feeling worthless or are suffering from severely low self-esteem. 

Your teenager may make offhand remarks about how they can’t do anything correctly, or they have no value. Feelings of worthlessness will often result in a lack of motivation and less activity, which usually only further enhances these negative feelings. 

  1. Substance Abuse 

Even though it isn’t as easy for teenagers to get ahold of substances as it is for adults, many still manage to do it. If your teenager is struggling with their mental health, they may progress to the point of abusing substances. This may take the form of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or smoking other substances. 

Some teenagers may also start to abuse medications if they have access to them. It may seem like they are simply acting out, but this is often a cry for help as they are trying to numb their feelings. 

  1. Self Harm 

One of the more serious signs that your teenager is struggling mentally is if you notice self-harm. Self-harm is easy to spot if you look for the right signs, such as cuts, burns, bruises, and other physical injuries that don’t have a good explanation. 

You may also want to look for more subtle signs of self-harm, such as your teenager wearing clothes that cover their entire body. This is often on their arms or legs, but self-harm can be done on any area of the body. 

What to Do If Your Child Is Struggling With Mental Health 

If any of these signs are resonating with how your adolescent is behaving, you want to act quickly. The sooner you are able to help your teenager, the sooner they can start to manage their mental health in a healthy way. Here are some examples of what you can do if you are concerned about your teenager’s mental health. 

Create Safe Communication 

Every parent should try to practice creating a safe space for communicating with their children. As children become teenagers, this is even more important since they will be dealing with more grown-up emotions. 

You want to make it very clear that you are always available to talk with your child and that the conversation will be shame-free. If they feel embarrassed or like they will get in trouble, they will be much less likely to turn to you for help. 

Make Lifestyle Changes 

If you are able to discuss mental health with your teenager, from there, you can start to make lifestyle changes. For example, maybe they need to participate less in school activities to focus on self-care. Or if they are struggling with bullying, maybe they need to switch schools or start homeschooling. 

Other lifestyle changes you can help your teenager with are creating a more physically active lifestyle as well as improving their diet. Even small self-care habits can improve how they feel about themselves and give them the motivation they need to continue to improve their mental health. 

Go to Therapy 

The main thing parents need to focus on if their child is having mental health struggles is to have them go to therapy. A therapist can help your teenager better understand their emotions and how they can manage them in a healthy way. 

A therapist can help your child work through whatever issues they are feeling, especially if these are issues they feel uncomfortable talking to you about. You could also have family counseling if you believe that it would be beneficial for everyone. 

Recovery with Victory Bay

At Victory Bay we’re here to help you achieve a new life with a new start in recovery. To learn more about the variety of treatment programs we offer, including mental health, eating disorders, and substance use, contact us today by calling 855.239.5099.