Rates of mental illness and substance use disorders have continued to rise in teens. Teen years are supposed to be full of fun and mostly positive experiences, but unfortunately, this is not the case for many teens. Many teens’ fun is overridden by mental health or substance use concerns. It’s important that parents and caregivers stay knowledgeable about this prevalence and warning signs to look out for so that they can help their teen if issues arise.
How Many Teens Experience Mental Health Disorders?
Mental disorders are very prevalent in teens, such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and trauma-related disorders. According to the 2021 survey data, 13.84% of teens have had at least one major depressive episode in 2021, which is an increase of 260,000 cases from the previous year. This same survey found that 9.7% of teens have a severe major depressive disorder, which is an increase of 126,000 from the previous year. Depressive disorders are characterized by low mood and loss of interest or pleasure that impact daily functioning, such as sleep, concentration, relationships, and more. If left untreated in youth, it is more likely to persist into adulthood. Teens with depressive disorders are often comorbidly diagnosed with anxiety disorders, behavioral issues, and substance use disorders.
Unfortunately, access to appropriate care for teens has continued to be an issue into 2021. Almost 60% of teens with major depression did not receive any mental health care. Additionally, less than 1% of teens with a mental illness have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These plans were originally designed to help provide accommodations for youth experiencing mental illness that impacts their school performance. However, most students that qualify for this service do not receive it. Mental health concerns for teens also often go overlooked and are identified late in primary care settings. Even when a need is identified, many teens do not have access to appropriate insurance coverage and thus can’t access the care they need.
Common Warning Signs that Your Teen May be Struggling with Mental Health or Substance Use
- Loss of interest in activities they used to like
- Low energy and loss of motivation
- Change in sleeping or eating patterns
- Increase in risky or self-destructive behavior
- Decreased participation in social activities, hobbies, or school performance
- Increase in substance use
- Sudden change in friends
- Increase in argumentative or defiant behavior
How Does Addiction Affect Teens?
According to the 2021 Monitoring the Future survey, 3.83% of teens have a substance use disorder. 2.85% of teens have used illicit drugs, and 1.69% of teens have used alcohol. Risk factors that make it more likely that a teen will develop a substance use disorder include early aggressive behavior, lack of parental supervision, substance abuse, drug availability, and poverty. The more risk factors a child possesses, the more vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder they become. Protective factors that can be built to help decrease their vulnerability include:
- Building self-control.
- Increasing parental supervision.
- Academic competence.
- Anti-drug use policies.
- A strong attachment to their neighborhood.
The Last House Can Help Your Child with Addiction and Mental Health Concerns
It can be challenging to try to help your child with their addiction. It’s tough when they are not ready for treatment. However, talking with them, going over their options, and letting them know that you will always be there for support can be helpful. Once they are ready for treatment, it’s important to point them in the right direction of trusted mental health professionals that are trained in substance use. The Last House can help.
The Last House has been around for over ten years to help men strive to achieve sobriety in their life. We offer a supportive environment with skilled staff whose passion is to help those with addiction concerns and services that promote building skills to maintain a sober lifestyle. Our program includes groups, therapy, accountability, and exploring sober activities. When you leave The Last House, you will leave with long-lasting connections and the skills you need to continue your sobriety long-term. The Last House is connected with Thrive Treatment to easily contact quality treatment teams to ensure the care you are getting is consistent.
Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can help you.