Teen Mental Health: Recognizing the Link Between Troubled Teens and Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are commonplace in the teenage years. In fact, 1 in 5 teens will experience a mental health issue in any given year. If a mental health issue persists, a doctor may diagnose your teen with a disorder or specific condition. Between 4% and 5% of teens in the US have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or disorder. 

Here are the most common troubled teens and mental health issues:

Anxiety disorders 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in teens. Anxiety disorders come in many forms, like general anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), agoraphobia, and phobias in general. Anxiety disorders can have a number of different root causes but can be managed with medical intervention.


Depression is another common source of mental health issues faced by teens. Depression carries a number of major risks, like making poor life decisions and self-harming or suicide. Depression often comes in waves, which can be intense and cause your teen a lot of distress. Seek professional help if your teen is depressed. 

Attention disorders 

ADD and ADHD are teens’ two most common forms of attention disorders. Attention disorders can interfere with your teen’s ability to pay attention at school or to remain in one place for an extended period. ADD and ADHD can also lead to disruptive behavior in teens as they can lose interest and act out more easily than others. 

Co-existing conditions

Co-existing conditions or comorbidities are mental illnesses, disorders, or conditions that simultaneously occur in the same patient. Comorbidities are quite common, with as high as 3% of US adults going through them in a year. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety, each exacerbating the other and making recovery more challenging. 

Factors That Can Contribute to Troubled Teens and Mental Health Issues

  • Stress- Stress can trigger a mental health disorder or contribute to developing a mental illness in teens. Stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and other associated disorders. Stress can also induce psychosis and schizophrenia in teens with an underlying condition.
  • Trauma- Trauma is one of the leading causes of mental illness in teens and adults. Trauma is an event that causes severe psychological distress and pain, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Your teen can also be traumatized by bullying at school or the death of a loved one. 
  • Hostile environment- A negative family environment can cause unease and distress in your teen. The hostile environment will usually be the home and can be caused by parents fighting constantly, substance abuse in the house, or critical parents putting them down. 
  • Depression in parents- While your teen is developing, they often try to differentiate themselves from their parents as part of forming their own identity. However, subconsciously you are the role model of what an adult is to your teen, so if the parent is depressed, the teen will learn the behaviors causing it. 
  • Loss of routine- Teens, like children, need a steady routine to base their day around. A routine of sleeping, eating, and everything else instills stability into your teen. Without a way, your teen loses that sense of peace, causing stress and anxiety. 

Differences Between Teen Males and Females in Troubling Behavior 

There are some notable differences between teen males and females regarding troubling behavior and mental health issues.

Boys and Mental Health Issues

Some of the most common mental health issues for teen boys include depression, ADHD, and substance abuse. Depression in teen boys often goes undiagnosed because boys tend to mask their symptoms and are less likely to talk about feelings of sadness or hopelessness. 

ADHD is more prevalent among boys, likely due to differences in brain development. Teen boys with ADHD tend to be more hyperactive and impulsive. Substance abuse is also more common among teen boys, who tend to engage in riskier behaviors and have higher rates of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Troubling behaviors in teen boys can include aggression, rule-breaking, and delinquency. Testosterone influences aggressive tendencies; teen boys often resolve conflicts through physical or verbal aggression. 

Teen boys are also more likely to engage in illegal behaviors like vandalism, theft, and violence. Their behavior is often attributed to the male tendency to seek rewards, even when risky.

Girls and Mental Health Issues

Common mental health issues for teen girls include depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Teen girls have much higher rates of depression than boys, driven by hormonal fluctuations, body image issues, and interpersonal stressors. Anxiety disorders are also extremely prevalent among teen girls. 

Social pressures and academic performance worries commonly manifest as anxiety. Eating disorders often arise in teen girls due to strong desires for peer acceptance and thin ideal body types portrayed in the media.

In contrast to boys, troubling behavior in teen girls tends to turn inward. This can include self-harming behaviors like cutting, disordered eating patterns, and social withdrawal. Girls are more relationship-focused, so interpersonal problems manifest as internal distress. 

Teen girls are also more likely to attempt suicide or engage in cyberbullying as a form of lashing out. However, girls have lower rates of aggression, delinquency, and substance abuse compared to boys.

While individual factors vary, broad patterns emerge in how teen boys and girls express mental health issues. Understanding gender differences can help parents, teachers, and communities provide appropriate support and prevent troubling behaviors in youth. Open communication and access to mental health resources are key to the well-being of all teenagers.

Get Help You Can Trust

Help Your Teen Now allows parents and teens to get back on track. Whether your teen is showing signs of delinquent behavior or a mental illness, professional help is your best bet at success. We offer a range of online resources as well as residential treatment facilities to give your teen everything they need to recover. 

Originally Posted Here

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button