Mental Health in Adolescence
Mental health refers to emotional, mental, and social wellness. As mentioned in the preceding paragraph, adolescence is a highly sensitive period for all individuals. It’s a time of change and rapid growth, especially regarding gender roles, sexual identity, and sexual preferences. This is why adolescence can be a difficult time for adolescents. Yet mental health should always be a priority for all adolescent and adults alike.
One of the key indicators of poor mental health in adolescence is depression. Depression is the most common psychological disorder among adolescents. And depression is one of the highest risk factors for the onset of psychological illness including suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, substance abuse, and other related problems. It is very important to identify depression in adolescents, as this condition may have serious repercussions into adulthood, leading to disease, disability, and even death.
Similarly, anxiety is another important indicator for mental health in adolescence. Anxiety is defined as an overwhelming feeling of dread or worry, coupled with somatic complaints or fatigue. It can also mean that you feel like you’re not in control of your life or your emotions. Anxiety tends to be correlated with various psychological illnesses such as psychosis, bi-polar disorder, and personality disorders. So it is important to rule out any psychological problems when evaluating anxiety. If you do have anxiety, you should seek help.
Similarly, symptoms of psychosis include hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia is another condition characterized by a number of symptoms such as disorganized speech, increased reactivity, and decreased functioning. The presence of at least four of these symptoms indicates the presence of a psychotic condition. Psychosis often requires hospitalization and can severely interfere with one’s functioning and lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior. Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are associated with symptoms such as being restless, overeating, low energy, frequent mood fluctuations, and insomnia.
Mental health disorders in childhood include autism, attention deficit disorder, fragile X syndrome, and schizophrenia. It is common for young children to suffer from attention deficit disorder because their hyperactivity and lack of concentration make them difficult to cope with. Fragile X syndrome is associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, behavioral disorders, and mental health disorders such as autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and developmental language impairment.
Psychological health in adolescence also includes the facets of positive psychology. Positive psychology suggests that children attain self-esteem, improve self-concept, improve interpersonal relations, become socially competent, and acquire the necessary skills for successful coping with stressful events. Adolescent mental health requires the promotion of healthy relationships between peers, teachers, parents, and siblings.
Adolescent mental health disorders are preventable if steps are taken to eliminate environmental factors that can contribute to this condition. These factors include excessive stress from family members, early sexual abuse, poor nutrition, poverty, home environment, substance abuse, and low social status. Prevention methods are incorporating activities such as sports and joining clubs and organizations. Developing strengths and improving communication skills are additional preventive measures.
The best way to help adolescents with mental health disorders is to take a holistic approach. Psychological treatment should include education on proper values and interpersonal skills. Practitioners also need to learn effective techniques for reducing negative thought patterns and behaviors. This requires support from family and friends. Counselors also need to be highly skilled at assisting adolescents in planning for their future, developing healthy relationships, handling stressful situations, and gaining self-confidence. Counselors should be committed to promoting positive mental health.
It is important for professionals to recognize the signs of emotional disturbances before their symptoms become severe. The earlier mental health issues are detected, the more likely they can be treated effectively. The most common symptoms of emotional disturbance in adolescents include sadness, hopelessness, changes in appetite or weight, changes in sleep, and change in the way they conduct themselves. Most adolescents experience one or more somatic symptoms, which includes complaints of headaches, body aches, and fatigue. There are many potential causes for these symptoms.
Studies have indicated that television watching may cause increased somatic symptoms among adolescents. This was found when a connection was found between reading TV ads and increased levels of sadness, depression symptoms, and anxiety. Other studies indicate that girls who watch more television at an early age are more likely to develop psychological issues.
In the current study, there were several associations between demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors and the presence or absence of the following signs: television watching, depressive symptoms, and somatic complaints. Significantly, there were no significant differences in the association of any of these factors with the overall level of mental health.
Thus, the current study confirms the earlier reports that television does not promote healthy mental health in adolescence. Associations between variables such as sex and ethnicity showed trends that were statistically insignificant and therefore are unlikely to be clinically relevant. The lack of a significant association of race/ethnicity with the level of mental health suggests that the results could be due to varying definitions of ethnicity. Another possible confounder is the greater exposure to TV since many teens now prefer to watch movies than traditional TV programs.