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MENTAL HEALTH IN TEENS: What’s normal, what’s cause for concern?




An anonymous Villager asked a question of the Village. What’s normal “ terrible teens,” and what is cause for concern?

An extract: “How do you, as a parent, know when your child has got serious mental issues and when they might just be dealing with “teenage stuff?” I am so scared that my 16 year-old child is borderline and or possibly bi-polar. I have read up on the criteria and she could be both or either. She has huge mood swings, gets horribly depressed, has panic attacks, huge anxiety, threatens suicide, says her unhappiness is all my fault ( I’m a single Mom,) She always blames everyone else for everything that goes wrong in her life, never takes ownership of anything. She doesn’t seem interested in anything or anyone else. She has very little success with relationships with other girls, often ending them in huge drama and unhappiness. While I see how much this state of mind affects her, reading this group has made me think that she might not be so abnormal after all. I don’t know who to ask, as when I took her to a psychologist, she said it was too early to make a diagnosis. But I keep on hoping that she will “get better,” and she just doesn’t seem to. I’m terrified of what the future holds for her. Can anyone help me?”

The Village (of course) had sage words of advice:

“Check her diet. It could be magnesium deficiency perhaps. Then investigate the emotional and mental state.”

Take her to a neuropsychologist. They can run an extensive battery of tests which are pretty accurate in leaning towards anxiety disorder, depression etc.”

Be concerned. Input from a psychiatrist could very well be warranted. At the very least she could benefit from some therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to assist her with social interaction and EQ.”

“Be proactive. The earlier a diagnosis can be made, the better. Then you both can move forward and learn to cope. I’m sure that deep down she is scared too.”

Be alert. The threat of suicide alone should never be taken lightly.”

But it could be normal … My daughter became a nightmare at 15/16 … and it was a huge concern. Years later we decided that it was probably a hormonal imbalance, as when she went onto the Pill there was a huge improvement. Please check and discount her hormones.”

It could be something else altogether. Autism in girls presents like this often, and is often misdiagnosed as Bi-polar.”

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