Mental Health Disorder Treatment for Teenagers

 Mental health disorders are psychological conditions marked by seriously impaired psychological and social functioning.  Adolescents diagnosed with severe mental health disorders are often unable to function effectively at home or in the community.  Mental health disorders sometimes consist of a combination of affective, behavioral, cognitive and perceptual components.  We specialize in treating the following disorders:

I walked into this building 29 days ago with a pain in my heart that I thought would never go away.
And today I’m leaving with strength and courage that will never fade away.

-Cheyenne, age 16

Recognizing Mental Health Disturbances in Teens

Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary widely depending on the particular disorder and other factors.  Mental illness affects both physical and mental health.  The following is a list of common behavioral/emotional symptoms of mental illness:

  • Sadness
  • Withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Out of control rage
  • Self harm
  • Self deprecating statements
  • Distorted thoughts
  • Past trauma
  • Excessive worry
  • Repetitive non-purposeful behaviors
  • Rebellion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Demobilizing fears
  • Eating/sleeping impairments
  • Academic decline
  • Social impairments
  • Sexual acting out
  • Aggression/violence

Physical symptoms of mental illness:

  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness

Is it mental illness?

It can be difficult to gauge whether the symptoms you are seeing are a sign of a mental illness or not.  Symptoms differ from person to person and across different cultures as well. Whether or not something is considered “abnormal” can depend greatly on the individual.

In general, the signs and symptoms you are seeing may indicate a mental illness when they interfere with quality of life.  If your teen is unhappy, unable to function in their daily life or unable to cope with normal life stressors, then it is time to consider getting help.  Oftentimes the teen will be able to articulate their distress and discomfort.  However, with some conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, friends and family members may be the first to notice that the teen is struggling with mood and behavioral problems.

If your teenager is displaying some of these signs and symptoms and is struggling in school, interpersonal relationships or at home, then it is time to see a doctor.  You can go straight to a mental health professional or visit your child’s general practitioner for a referral. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own and, if left untreated, may get worse over time.

If an adolescent has suicidal thoughts

Sadly, suicidal thoughts and behaviors are common with some mental illnesses.  If you think your adolescent is at risk of hurting themselves or attempting suicide get help right away:

  1. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  2. Call a suicide hotline number. In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.

If an adolescent is feeling suicidal but he or she isn’t immediately thinking of hurting themselves:

  • Allow the adolescent to reach out to a close friend or loved one, even if they may be reluctant to talk about their feelings.
  • Seek help from a doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.

Types of Mental Illness in Young Adults


Major depression is a mood disorder that is characterized by low mood and sadness, frustration and anger and impaired day-to-day functioning.  For a diagnosis to be made, this mood state must last for an extended period of time (at least two weeks).  Major depression is a serious impairment that requires professional help.   It is most often treated with a combination of medications known as antidepressants (SSRI’s, MAOI’s etc.) and talk therapy.   Most sufferers of depression who are properly treated will make a full recovery.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which the sufferer alternates between periods of increased activity wherein their mood is extremely happy (almost euphoric) and periods of depression.  Sometimes these mood swings occur very rapidly.

Bipolar disorder affects boys and girls equally.  Signs and symptoms usually begin to appear between the ages of 15 and 25.  The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but it is more common in families with a history of the illness.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive worrying and fear.  Persons suffering from this disorder experience a disproportionately high amount of anxiety such that it interferes with their day-to-day functioning. Generalized anxiety disorder is mentally and physically exhausting.

Other mental disorders treated at Adolescent Growth:

Get Help Today

Call us today for information on any mental disorder that is disrupting your teen’s quality of life.  888-948-9998.

Get Help Today

Please call our kind and compassionate admissions counselors any time day or night at 888-948-9998 or verify your benefits today.

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Adolescent Growth is a family owned and operated treatment center for teens aged 12-17. Since our inception we have proudly held the Gold Seal of Accreditation from the Joint Commission, an internationally recognized accreditation body. We specialize in treating teens with mental health disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders