Growing up, a child faces many challenges, including teenage stress. It is stress that becomes a common cause of mental illness among adolescents. If the child is not given proper support during the transitional age, then everything can end up with a nervous disease at a more mature age, which is practically untreatable.
If parents noticed a sudden change in the behavior of a teenager - he changed his hobby, stopped being interested in what was expensive for a long time, then this indicates some problems. You should not immediately begin to harass the child with questions about love, problems at school or with drugs, you need to get advice from an adolescent psychologist. How to identify a disorder by symptoms, how to help a child survive a difficult period. Let's take a closer look at this.
Signs of mentaldisorders in adolescents
It is in adolescence that many mental illnesses begin to form, including schizophrenia and various psychoses. Signs of such disorders are the following symptoms:
- the child has a new hobby, to which he devotes all his time, but there is no success;
- dramatically abandoned old hobbies;
- began to do poorly in school when he had previously made significant progress;
- lost interest in everything I was previously into.
But these symptoms are not 100% indicative of mental disorders in adolescents. Perhaps this is how the accentuation of character is manifested, which we will discuss in the following sections.
Symptoms of mental disorders in adolescents aged 12-18 are manifested by the following features:
- mood swings, aggressiveness, conflicts with parents, teachers and other children, impulsiveness, melancholy, anxiety, inconsistency;
- disregard for adults;
- excessive self-criticism or, on the contrary, excessive self-confidence;
- explosive response to outside advice and criticism;
- sensitivity combined with callousness, the teenager is shy, but at the same time very annoyed;
- refusing to obey generally accepted rules;
- rejection of any guardianship.
If you notice only one of the points in the child's behavior, thendon't worry, just talk to him and find out the reason for the change. A combination of some or all of these symptoms indicates adolescent mental he alth problems.
Should I see a specialist?
For the advice of an adolescent psychologist, parents usually prefer not to go. Some people think it's embarrassing to take a child to a shrink, or that it will only make the situation worse, and the child will withdraw into himself more, lose trust in his parents, and so on.
In fact, you need to see a specialist. Today, many psychologists work anonymously, that is, no one at school will know about a teenager going to a doctor, and he may not even say his name.
To understand whether it is necessary to visit a psychologist in a particular case, answer a few questions:
- The above describes the signs of mental disorders in adolescents. Remember how dramatically the child has changed. If everything is fine in the family, there are no quarrels and drastic changes (divorce, death of a relative, and so on), and the changes have become noticeable, then it is difficult to do without a psychologist. If the child smoothly switched to other interests or abruptly, but not everything is going smoothly in the family, then these symptoms may be an accentuation of character or an expression of (involuntary) internal experiences.
- Pay attention to the sleep and appetite of a teenager. If the child does not sleep well and refuses to eat, then it is worth visiting a specialist.
- If a child is in a prolonged depressive state, he is not interested in anything, delirium and hallucinations appear, then urgently seek help fromprofessional.
Here I would like to note that many parents confuse melancholy in a teenager, which is inherent in adolescence, with depression. If, in addition to this state, the child is no longer disturbed by anything (he eats and sleeps, as before, has not lost interest in his hobbies, and so on), then this is just a difficult age threshold that good parents themselves will help to survive. Spend more time with your child, talk, but do not "torture", if he does not like some topic, walk together, listen to him. With a transitional age, even simple hugs will help.
If a teenager himself understands that something is wrong with him, and tries to get rid of this condition, to return life to its previous course, then this is a good sign. Most likely, he has a simple neurosis against the background of adolescence, studies, relationships with the opposite sex, and the like. If a serious mental illness is planned, then the teenager will perceive the new self calmly, and he will not have the desire to fix something.
There are specific disorders in the way of thinking of a teenager, but they are almost impossible to notice by the unprofessional eye. To exclude or confirm a mental disorder in a teenager leading to a serious illness, it is still recommended to consult a psychologist.
If the specialist does not see alarms, then with peace of mind and with a few tips from a professional, you can go home. If alarm signals are detected, the doctor will help to correcthome environment by talking to parents and other family members. The specialist will also help the child learn to be in school and other public places with minimal traumatic moments.
We propose to consider what mental disorders are most common in adolescents.
Character accentuation and psychopathy
Understand what is happening with a teenager - character accentuation or psychopathy, only a professional psychologist who practices working with children and adolescents can understand, since the line between concepts is very thin.
During accentuation, some character traits begin to become clearly sharpened, and by outward signs this may resemble a picture of the development of psychopathy.
First of all, you need to make sure that the social situation at home is normal. As a rule, adolescents are less likely to suffer from psychopathy if the family is prosperous. The diagnosis must be made carefully and only parents and teachers of a teenager can report it. At the same time, the psychologist must explain to the parties the difference between character accentuation and psychopathy, so as not to accidentally label the teenager as “crazy.”
When a teenager begins hormonal changes, he changes his behavior. A melancholy state is the norm of adolescence, and should not be confused with depression.
The first signs of melancholy may be a teenager's complaints about a restless state of mind. He withdraws into himself against this background. There may be bouts of aggression, includingdirected at himself. Young people are often disappointed in themselves in this state.
You can't leave a teenager alone at times like this. The world loses its colors for him, it seems empty and worthless, in this state many people think about suicide, and some even attempt to commit suicide. A teenager feels that no one needs him.
Signs of melancholy
If you notice at least half of the listed signs of melancholy, then immediately contact a specialist. Symptoms are the following changes:
- vulnerability, tears even from scratch;
- change of mood for no reason;
- self-isolation, short circuit;
- frequent bouts of aggression over trifles;
- excessive or lack of appetite;
- declining school performance;
- constant fatigue, malaise.
The picture of the development of such a mental disorder in a teenager is very similar to melancholy, but is no longer the norm in adolescence. The main danger of the disorder is the crime of the law against the background of depression, and also not an attempt at suicide, but its real possibility.
Distinguishing melancholy from manic-depressive psychosis is not easy. Please note that in the first case, the teenager's mood often changes, and in the second - for some time he remains in a manic mood, that is, he is passionate about something, cheerful, full of energy and plans, separation from classesleads to aggression. A manic mood often changes into a depressive one - the collapse of all hopes, bad memories, dissatisfaction with life and oneself. It is very difficult to get a teenager out of this state.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, then immediately take him to a specialist.
This disorder is very similar to manic-depressive psychosis. All the symptoms coincide - at first the mood is manic, enthusiastic, and then a prolonged depression begins.
There is a difference, and it is the main thing - with schizophrenia, panic attacks, delusions, hallucinations are possible.
Problems in adolescence are an integral part of growing up. If you see that something is happening with the child, do not ignore it, thinking that the transitional age will pass by itself.
If you do not help a teenager at this difficult time for him, the consequences can be the most deplorable: from the development of a serious mental illness to the child's suicide.