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Nowadays, one in every five teenagers suffers from a diagnosable mental health issue like anxiety or depression. And there is an increase in these adolescent mental illnesses. In fact, according to experts, mental illness in teens is at an all-time high.

Teenage mental health problems encompass trauma, Borderline Personality Disorder, psychosis, in addition to depression and anxiety. Also included in the category of psychological illnesses in minors are teen behavior problems such as drug addiction and anorexia.

It might be challenging to recognize the signs of teenage mental disorders. This is because most teenagers are temperamental and sensitive during this period of profound physical and psychological transformation. Nevertheless, behavioral and psychological changes that are significantly more dramatic than usual occur in youth with mental illness.

Some of the teenage mental issues are examined below.

Table of Contents

Mental Health Determinants

Teenage is a critical time for adopting social and psychological behaviors necessary for mental health.

Mental health is impacted by numerous variables. The possible effect on teenagers’ mental health increases with the number of risk factors they are subjected to.

The teenage years are stressful for several reasons, including hardship experience, social influence, and identity growth. The gap between an adolescent’s experienced reality and their ideas or ambitions for the long term can be made worse by gender stereotypes and media impact.

Some teenagers are more susceptible to mental health issues because of their living circumstances, stigma, exclusion or persecution, or lack of access to high-quality assistance and services. 

Teenagers who:

·         reside in philanthropic and precarious environments

·         have chronic illnesses

·         autism spectrum disorders

·         intellectual disabilities, or other brain disorders

·         abandoned children or teens with small kids, or those in early or arranged marriages

are just a few of these groups.

Mental health issues in teens

1. Emotional disorders

The majority of teenagers experience emotional issues. The most common problems in this age bracket are depression and anxiety, which might include panic attacks or overly worrying. Mature teenagers face these diseases more frequently than younger teenagers.

Anxiety disorders are thought to affect 3.6% of 10 to 14-year-olds and 4.6% of 15 to 19-year-olds. According to estimates, 2.8% of teenagers aged 15 to 19 and 1.1% from 10 to 14 experience depression. Sudden and abrupt mood fluctuations are among the symptoms that both depression and anxiety exhibit.

School participation and academic performance can be significantly impacted by anxiety and depression. Isolation and loneliness may become worse if social disengagement occurs. Moreover, suicide can also result from depression.

Also Read: 10 Best Books On Emotional Intelligence

2. Anxiety

Teenage anxiety can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from everyday teenage stress. Teenagers with anxiety disorder, nevertheless, have very significant levels of anxiety.  Furthermore, these emotions worsen over time instead of getting better on their own.

Teen anxiety also impacts how teenagers interact with their families, peers, and others.

The most prevalent teen anxiety problem is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Teens who suffer from this sort of anxiety stress excessively about regular activities. Additionally, the anxiety persists for a lot longer. Teenagers with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) go through a lot of emotional pressure in addition to various anxiety-related indicators. Teens who have GAD also worry excessively and have low self-esteem.

Also Read: Difference Between Panic Attack And Anxiety Attack

3. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe mental and chronic condition. Furthermore, the adolescent years are when schizophrenic behaviors first manifest. Schizophrenic teenagers have difficulty absorbing their feelings. And they frequently lose all sense of reality.

Schizophrenia patients have altered brain morphologies, chemical compositions, and cognitive capacities. Therefore, learning and comprehension are challenging for those who have schizophrenia. It may be challenging for them to fully control their illness. The purpose of treating schizophrenia is to enable the patient to comprehend their condition and make an effort to manage it.

4. Behavioral disorders

Younger teens are more likely to suffer from behavioral disorders than older teens. 3.1% of 10–14-year-olds and 2.4% of 15–19-year-olds have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is marked by problems focusing on concentration, overactivity, and behaving without thinking about the consequences. 3.6% of 10 to 14-year-olds and 2.4% of 15 to 19-year-olds experience behavioral problems characterized by signs of disruptive or problematic behavior. Adolescents with conduct issues may struggle academically and may engage in crimes.

5. Eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two eating disorders that frequently develop during childhood and early teen years. An eating disorder is characterized by aberrant eating habits and obsession with food, commonly coupled with fears about one’s appearance and weight. The mortality rate for anorexia nervosa is more significant than any other psychological illness, and it can result in early death, frequently through medical issues or suicide.

6. Psychosis

The majority of conditions with psychotic symptoms first appear in later adolescence or early teen years. Delusional thoughts and hallucinations are some of the symptoms. These incidents frequently result in discrimination or human rights violations and can make it difficult for teenagers to engage in everyday life and schooling.

7. Suicide and self-harm

For older teens, suicide is the 4th major cause of mortality (15-19 years). There are many different potential variables for suicide, such as drinking too much alcohol, being abused as a child, being stigmatized for asking for help, having difficulty getting care, and having exposure to methods of suicide. Like any other form of communication, digital media has the potential to strengthen or undermine efforts to reduce suicide.

Also Read: 10 Ways How To Control Your Emotions, Don’t Overreact!

8. Risk-taking behaviors

Adolescence is when many health-risk behaviors like drug use and sexual exploration begin. Risk-taking behaviors can hurt an adolescent’s psychological and physical health and can be an ineffective coping mechanism for emotional troubles.

Aggression is a risk-taking behavior that can raise the possibility of poor educational performance, accidents, criminal activity, or even death. In 2019, interpersonal violence was one of the main causes of death for older young males.

9. Promotion and prevention

Intervention strategies for psychological health advancement and preventative measures seek to improve a person’s capability for emotion regulation, strengthen possibilities for risk-taking behaviors, foster resilience for dealing with hardship and stressful circumstances, and advance encouraging social environments and social networks.

To effectively engage teenagers, especially the most susceptible, these programs need a multi-level strategy with various delivery platforms (digital media, medical or social care environments, schools, or the community).

10.  Substance use disorder

Drug abuse problem is on the table of teen mental illness. That’s when adolescents self-medicate their despair, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, and other more profound issues with alcohol and other substances.

When teen mental disorder problems arise, substance use develops into an unsafe and risky coping method. Additionally, continued use might lead to addiction. According to research, the following elements raise the risk of substance use disorders:

·         Genetic propensity

·         Heavy drug usage is accepted by the environment

·         Social influence

11.  Trauma and PTSD

Those affected by terrible tragedies may endure long-lasting impacts, whether explicitly or implicitly. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may result from such trauma. Accidents, natural catastrophes, fires, crimes, childhood trauma, the passing of a parent or other close relative, and other traumas and early trauma are among the reasons for PTSD in teenagers.

An “acute trauma” is a traumatic life occurrence. Adolescent mental illnesses like traumatic stress and PTSD might result from an acute event. After the affair, traumatic stress can persist for days, weeks, or even years.

“Chronic trauma” refers to persistent traumatic occurrences like witnessing domestic violence, gang violence, or child molestation. PTSD in teenagers can result from both recent and lingering trauma.

Also Read: How Does Abandonment Trauma Impact You, And What Ways To Cope With It?

12.  Other Teenage Mental Health Conditions

Teenagers also face more uncommon mental health illnesses in addition to the most typical teen mental diseases. They consist of the following:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Around 6% of the population nationwide suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder, which is particularly common in young adults. The tendency to exaggerate one’s accomplishments and oneself is a sign of narcissism. Additionally, narcissists are unable to sympathize with other people.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Illness (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that can affect individuals of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder is a psychological issue defined by an exaggerated sense of drama in events and emotions in teenagers.

Dissociative Identity Disorder: 

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a condition that refers to an individual having two or more different personality patterns. People with DID frequently struggle with significant trauma.

Gaming Disorder

The World Health Organization formally recognized gaming disorder as a mental illness. Gaming disorder is comparable to other dependencies like drug abuse or gambling addiction. Consequently, this illness’s incapacity to regulate a video game preoccupation is a defining feature.

The cause of mental health issues in teens

Experts have many hypotheses on why teen mental problems are rising so sharply. Most importantly, scientists think that the conjunction of several of these elements may impact teenagers.

One piece of evidence is that screen time, and teen mental illnesses have been linked by researchers. Overusing technology consumes time and resources that could be spent on connections, learning, and social activities.

The researchers concluded that since 2010, iGen teenagers have spent longer engaging in new media screen time and less time engaging in non-screen activities, which may cause a rise in despair and suicide.

Additionally, social media is a significant cause of stress and worry for teenagers. When teens negatively contrast their lives with those of the people they follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, depression results.

Additionally, a lot of teenagers deal with academic pressure. As a result, the pressure is made more significant by the unstable economy and the fierce rivalry for jobs, graduate school, and college.

Teenagers of today also possess fewer coping mechanisms. Parents make an effort to protect their children from failure and unhappiness. Teenagers, therefore, have fewer opportunities to develop tolerance. As a result, they don’t develop coping mechanisms.

The teenage brain is still developing. As a result, the brain’s region regulating self-regulation in adolescence is underdeveloped. Consequently, individuals are only partially able to exercise command over their impulses. Teenage risk behaviors like drug dependence and unwise sexual decisions are therefore brought on by this.

Teenagers don’t spend that much time outdoors since they’re busy inside in front of screens. As a response, kids experience nature deficit disorder, a condition Richard Louv first identified in his 2005 publication Last Child in the Woods. Teenagers and kids encounter many mental and behavioral issues due to having less time outside.


Teenage mental health difficulties significantly improve when treated by mental health experts. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not receive the proper mental health care. In reality, just six out of ten adolescents who are depressed receive treatment. Eight out of ten adolescents who suffer from anxiety do not obtain treatment.

Family therapy, outpatient services, and partial hospital treatments are available for teen mental problems.


In conclusion, teen mental problems are common and range from temporary emotional distress to long-term mental illness. Treatment for teen mental health issues is so essential. Additionally, earlier treatment yields greater benefits. 

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Vivien Roggero - Elite Transformation and Executive Coach
Vivien Roggero, an Elite Transformation and Executive Coach, specializes in high-performance coaching and personal transformation, guiding professionals to peak success and fulfillment. With decades of experience, Vivien empowers high achievers, executives, and entrepreneurs through mindset shifts and strategic development.
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