Mental Health Red Flags in Teens
Uncharacteristic Behavioral Changes
An abrupt change in behavior should always alert you that something’s going on with your adolescent.
For instance, when a friendly and sociable child suddenly gets into the habit of fighting with others, this may point to an unaddressed emotional issue.
Another red flag is when a generally responsible teenager develops problems in handling simple, daily activities.
Other behavioral red flags are:
- Interest in alcohol, cigarette smoking, or drugs that were not present before
- Tendencies to do dangerous or thrill-seeking activities
- Speaking too fast to the point that it’s hard to understand them
- Obsession with weight or physique
- Drastic changes in school performance
- Seeming lack of motivation with schoolwork and other activities
Parents know their kids best, so when it comes to their behavior, be on the lookout for actions that are uncharacteristic.
Mood Swings and Strong Emotions
In a teenage mental health crisis, changes in moods or emotions are often extreme that they disrupt the child’s daily routine. Examples of strong emotions include:
What’s alarming about these strong emotions is that while they are overwhelming, you may not see the cause that brought them on. It’s as if your teenager just suddenly developed them out of the blue.
Adolescents may experience strong emotions and mood swings due to puberty, hormonal changes, and as a general response to daily stresses. However, when these emotions affect relationships with family and friends, or when it affects how the adolescent tackle school work, then we need to take it as a red flag.
Problems with Social Connections
You can also find clues in your child’s social relationships.