The maturation of the human brain occurs during adolescence. Since the olden days, it has been observed that important changes in body and behavior occur during adolescence. This period is also known for mental health conditions such as anxiety, eating, and mood disorders.
What Are Psychiatric Disorders?
A psychiatric disorder is a mental illness in which a disturbance in thinking, behavior, and mood can be observed. Autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, etc., are some psychiatric disorders. These disorders may emerge during adolescence due to some factors affecting them during this stage.
What Are the Factors That May Affect Mental Health During Adolescence?
Mental illness among adolescents can account for 13 % of the global burden. One in seven individuals experience mental illness between the ages 10 to 19. Suicide has taken fourth place among the disorders causing death in 15 to 29-year-old individuals.
Adolescence is a unique period where the development of physical, mental, and social changes occurs. Social changes like being exposed to poverty, abuse, and violence can make an individual prone to mental health conditions.
Adolescence is an important period where social and emotional habits develop, which play an important role in overall well-being along with physical development. Adopting healthy habits like good sleeping patterns, regular exercise, developing coping, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills, and learning to manage emotions help in enjoying the overall well-being of an individual who is an adolescent. Along with these important aspects, protection from the family, school, and community is paramount for good mental health during changing periods.
Multiple factors are involved in affecting mental health.
Exposure to adversities.
Pressurized into following the rules as their peers.
While exploring their identity.
Influence of the media.
Gender differences are present.
Quality of their home life.
Relationship with peers.
Some adolescents living in fragile settings with chronic illnesses, autism disorders, neurological conditions, adolescent parents, orphans, and discriminated groups may have a higher risk of mental health disorders.
Why Do Many Psychiatric Disorders Appear in Adolescence?
Most adolescents affected by mental illness show impaired daily functioning by young adulthood. It is hard to identify mental illness in adolescence. It is always better to diagnose early. This helps the learning learn coping mechanisms.
There are three factors mainly involved in adolescents getting affected by mental illnesses.
1. Biological Factors:
The brain of adolescents develops at a rapid rate. It can be easily overstimulated, and at the same time, it has high neuroplasticity. An adolescent's brain is highly adaptable, and if healthier behavioral patterns are adopted, it can strengthen the positive neuronal connections in the brain.
The hormonal changes and different areas of the brain developing at different rates are responsible for the disconnection between the mind and body in adolescents. Hence, it is complex and difficult to describe thoughts and feelings.
2. Developmental Factors:
Generally, symptoms of mental health issues remain inside unless it is triggered by a very stressful situation. Adolescence is considered a stressful period, as they will not be able to differentiate thoughts and feelings and are not mature enough to cope with problems healthily.
Everyday stresses like school work, rules laid down by parents, and relationship drama among teens may affect adolescents. When they experience these events, they view them as real and think they are unique in facing such problems, giving them hopelessness about the future.
3. Social Factors:
Social stresses start at this stage. This is dictated mainly by the school environment. Teens place a high value on social status and approval by their peers; they also explore the values of relationships and bonding with people of similar characteristics at this age. All these may seem difficult for those who struggle for their identity and for teens with mental health conditions.
Social support is considered one of the most effective tools to combat the effects of mental health issues.
How and Where Should the Treatment Be for Adolescents?
Treatment centers specifically for adolescents will be helpful and unique in dealing with the challenges faced by adolescents. These centers provide developmentally appropriate strategies to treat adolescents suffering from mental health challenges.
These centers help teens to identify the problem related to mental health issues, their causes, and triggering factors so that they may take the support they need to overcome the situation.
Many start noticing how their behavior has affected their academic performance or relationship with others. They may be facing hopelessness, confusion, and overwhelming.
Treating adolescents with their age group along with collaborating with different specialties teams of doctors may give them hope and they do not feel they are alone.
How to Prevent Mental Health Issues Among Adolescents?
Prevention and promotion help strengthen the capacity to regulate feelings, increase alternatives to risk-taking behavior, build resistance to difficult situations, promote a supportive social environment, and build a good social network.
Adolescents must be treated with care and attention, avoiding institutionalization and overmedication. Non-pharmacological approaches are to be used as treatment options.
Mental health conditions in adolescents may impact adulthood if not treated and cause physical and mental health impairments. It also limits social and economic opportunities to lead a fulfilling life.
50 percent of mental health issues among adults start in the mid-teens, and 75 percent occur in the mid-20s. Steps must be taken to increase teens’ social and emotional skills and promote good environments in families, communities, and schools.
Psychiatric disorders affect a person’s thinking, emotions, and behaviors. This may, in turn, affect an individual, family, the community, and the quality of life. Hence, it becomes important to know why these disorders start in adolescence and how to overcome them.