5 Common Mental Health Disorders Among Adolescents


When it comes to mental health, anxiety is the most common mental disorder among adolescents, characterized by persistent worry and fear that negatively affects their ability to perform everyday tasks. Anxiety in children may look like fear of separation from parents, fear of animals or insects, discomfort in social settings such as school, and/or general worries about unpleasant situations. However, anxiety disorder goes beyond fear and can look like irritability and anger. Symptoms could also include lack of sleep, headaches, fatigue, or stomachaches. Adolescents typically keep their worries to themselves, so communication is crucial to ensure the symptoms aren’t missed. 

Mood Disorders 

Reasons for moody adolescents aren’t always simple. Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or disruptive mood dysregulation can cause disruptive shifts in behavior and emotions, which may require professional help to manage effectively. Symptoms may include irritability or anger for most of the day, nearly every day, severe temper outbursts, or trouble functioning due to irritability.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can affect an adolescent’s ability to focus and disrupt their learning. Approximately 1 in 20 adolescents meets the criteria for ADHD. Signs a child may have ADHD are they’re easily distracted, emotionally immature, and inattentive. Adolescents with ADHD may require explicit instructions and extra time for tasks. Recognizing and treating this disorder is vital for your child’s future success. 

Disruptive Behavior Disorder

Disruptive Behavior Disorder (DBD) is defined as a pattern of disruptive or aggressive behaviors that violate social rules. Adolescents exhibiting DBD symptoms may be disobedient and cause arguments with authority figures, but they can also target their peers. Parenting plays a significant role in DBD. Therefore, it is essential to strategize and address childs’ problematic behaviors consistently. A solution to DBD is to partake in social and emotional training to help teens with DBD learn appropriate ways to express and communicate their feelings.


Depression in adolescents is not always easy to catch and goes beyond occasionally feeling upset or hopeless. It can manifest in physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, and mental health issues such as low mood or irritability. Depression in teens can look like withdrawal from hobbies or interests, isolation, and change in eating and sleeping patterns.

How to Help

Parents and guardians need to be aware of the signs that their child may be struggling with mental health disorders so they can get them the help they need. If you’re concerned about your adolescent’s mental health, it is best to speak to a mental health professional who can diagnose any underlying mental illness and recommend treatment options accordingly. Early intervention ensures that mental health problems don’t interfere with an adolescent’s psychological and physical development.

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