Common Mental Health Disorders among Teenagers


According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, one in every five teenagers has some sort of mental health disorder. While anxiety is the most common disorder among children and teens, depression — like bipolar disorder — most commonly appears during the teen years. It may be difficult to distinguish between depression and negative emotions resulting from lack of sleep, social problems, and hormones, which are also normal for young people. Teens who are depressed rather than sad or distressed may be unable to enjoy being with friends or eating, and may have trouble sleeping, making choices, or concentrating — without reason.

Other common mental health problems in adolescence include anorexia or bulimia, learning disorders, and addiction. Teen girls from 15 and up, in particular, are susceptible to eating disorders due to social pressure and body image issues, while youth of both genders might face addiction, as they begin to be exposed to alcohol and drugs. Approximately 3 percent of teens suffer from eating disorders, while up to 5 percent have attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder.

Although there is still a tendency to stigmatize mental illnesses, the modern world is beginning to understand that mental health problems, especially in adolescence, are common, treatable, and deserving of attention. With help, the vast majority can go on to lead happy, meaningful lives.