Mental Illness and Teenagers


About 1 in 5 teenagers experience some type of mental illness each year.

Going along with last weeks blog, we wanted to spend a little time speaking on the teenage brain and how we can best support adolescents as they develop and mature.  Current research has focused a lot on these areas of brain development of teenagers and young adults, which explains why some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, doesn’t develop and manifest until the early adult years.

In addition to schizophrenia, which can develop in the late teens and early twenties for many cases, other mental health disorders that manifest in this same time window include bipolar and major depression.  Typically, males will tend to develop schizophrenia between 18 and 25 while females develop it between 23 and 30.

According to DualDiagnosis.Org, about 20% of adolescents have a “diagnosable mental health disorder,” which can range from autism, depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other behavioral disorders.  Other statistics to note include about 50% of all mental health and substance abuse issues have some identification markers by age 14.  By the time a young adult has turned 24 years old, that same statistic jumps to about 75%.

Teen Angst Or Mental Health?

Although many teens are somewhat angsty, bitter, and cynical, there is a marked difference between what is considered “normal” spells and extended grumpiness, irritability, and depression.  If accompanied by other signs such as social isolation and sudden changes in appetite or weight, then perhaps consider having a sit down with your teen or scheduling an appointment with a therapist.  Remember that just having these symptoms does not make someone clinically depressed or in need of medication.

Factors contributing to the development of mental illness vary and, although researchers have not conclusively been able to isolate and identify exact causes of mental illness, the teenage and young adult years are an important time to pay attention to how your child is doing.  Some risk factors include prenatal illnesses, head injuries, and drug abuse.

If you’re concerned about your teen or young adult, please give us a call to discuss an appointment for a mental health screening and assessment.  We’re here to partner with you to find the best and least invasive treatment possible, always based on the most up to date research, technology, and methods.  Most importantly, we don’t want you on the outside looking in, we want you right in the center of everything because you matter more than anything else.