Mental illness, when left unchecked, can become a debilitating force in a teen’s life. Furthermore, their problems could even get them into legal trouble and adversely affect their future prospects.
In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to let professionals care for your teen in a residential setting. It’s hard to trust others with the care of your child, but it could save their future and possibly their life. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of mental illness on teens and how residential treatment can help.
Recognizing the signs
There is no doubt about it that the teen years can be tumultuous. If you’re a parent of a teen, then you have the experience of your own teenage years to draw from. You had to deal with the pressure to do well in school, the pressure to fit it in, and pressure to figure out what you want to do with your life.
These pressures are made even greater for teens when they are coping with some form of mental health issue as well. Mental illness can be hard to pick up on in teens because teens are expected to be moody, rebellious, and a little troublesome. However, if your teen is acting out, seems withdrawn, and they’re struggling in school, they may be dealing with more than just teenhood.
Watch for changes in your teen’s appetite that result in drastic changes to their weight, sleeping patterns, and self-esteem. These may all seem like minute things to look for, but they could be signs of a much more serious problem. Also, watch for signs of drug use and self-mutilation. These indicate that your child is struggling to cope with a severe mental issue, and it’s time to seek help.
The effects of mental illness on teens
Mental illness can create behavior patterns which can change a teenager’s entire outlook of their future. People who suffer from untreated mental illness are more likely to start using illicit drugs to self medicate. Besides being illegal in and of themselves, many illicit drugs alter decision making and sometimes lead to other criminal behaviors. Many teens and adults in the justice system today are there because of mental health issues, drug abuse, or both.
It is estimated that slightly over 21 percent of youth aged 13-18 suffer from severe mental illness at some point. Not only that, but 70 percent of youth in detention centers suffer from at least one disorder, and 20 percent of them are severely mentally ill. There is a strong correlation between mental health and legal troubles. Getting your teen the right help while they are still young could save them from a lot of trouble now and in the future.
Getting the right help
As a parent of a teen with a mental health issue, you only want your child to get back to being themselves. You want them to get back to doing the things they love, doing well in school, and believing in themselves. The good news is that with the right help, all of those things are possible.
In many cases, therapy and the support of friends and family are enough to get teens back on the right track. In other cases, the therapist may prescribe medication if they believe that it is the appropriate course. Sometimes the situation is more severe, and your teen may need inpatient treatment.
If you believe that your child is using drugs or is a danger to themselves or others, then you should look into troubled youth programs. Residential treatment options such as these can give your teen the intense individual care that they need while also allowing them to continue their education.
Mental illness in teens can be hard to pick up on because those years can be such an awkward time. However, it is important that you communicate with your teen so that you’ll have the inside track on what’s going on with them.