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What to Do if Your Teen Is Struggling to Get It Together

Alissa Sauer
January 25, 2021

Last Updated: January 2021

The teenage years can be frustrating for parents and teens alike. It seems to be a hallmark characteristic of teens to forget an assignment, fail a quiz, or fight with a sibling – sometimes all on the same day! 

The trials that teens face are often seen as a rite of passage, but for some teens, there is more going on than what meets the eye. How do you know if your teen is struggling with anxiety, depression or another type of mental illness?

Learn more about mental health issues in teens and how you can help your teen overcome these struggles.

How to Identify the Difference Between Normal Teenage Behavior and Teen Mental Illness

Hormone changes, navigating complex social situations, tackling academic challenges and other adolescent stressors can distress even the most focused teen. However, for many teenagers, life’s challenges go beyond normal events and are caused by mental illness.

In fact, approximately one in five adolescents between the age of 12-17 experience at least one mental health disorder.

Addiction, anxiety, depression and substance use can cause major disruptions and lower the self-esteem of a teen. There are also lesser-known side effects of mental illness, particularly when it comes to addiction, which can cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Repetitive movements

These symptoms can often appear to be normal teen behaviors, so it can sometimes be difficult for parents to see the side effects of a disorder.

If you believe your teen is struggling, it may be more than just normal growing pains. It may be the side effects of a mental illness.

Fortunately, many of the symptoms present in teen mental illnesses are treatable with the right mental health care.

Treating Teen Mental Health Issues 

If you suspect your teen is struggling with a mental illness, there is hope. Working closely with a behavioral health care team of clinicians, teens can improve their mental health, self-esteem and well-being this International Boost Self-Esteem Month. Recovery will not occur overnight, but the right treatment can provide results for your child within weeks or months.

Remember that every step towards healing, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

At Embark Behavioral Health, teens participate in a range of innovative therapies that change the way they think about anxiety, depression or stress while learning new ways to communicate complex emotions. Teens leave one of our 19 programs permanently changed, having learned new skills to manage their own mental health.

Ways to Create Lasting Change When Your Teen Is Struggling to Get It Together

Following any kind of mental health treatment will require a lifetime commitment to practicing coping skills and mental wellness, but with the right family and peer support, it’s possible for your child to stay mentally healthy and well.

At Embark, teenagers will find new ways to cope, new ways of looking at life and ways to maintain their mental health. Treatment in a life-changing program that will help your teen reach their fullest potential, is within reach.

Is your child’s mental health declining? If your teen is struggling, contact Embark to learn more about how we can create lasting change and improve their mental health and wellness.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer is a content writer at Embark Behavioral Health. She has developed health care content for more than 10 years for audiences from adolescents and parents to seniors, at A Place for Mom and Leisure Care. Her work has appeared in national media outlets, including Forbes and Medical News Today.