Adolescent mental health: When to seek professional help
When does normal teenage angst and moodiness become dangerous depression or anxiety?
When does youthful experimentation with alcohol or drugs cross the line to something more serious, and when does a teen’s expected preoccupation with personal appearance devolve into the scary beginnings of an eating disorder?
Adolescence can be tough and a little turbulence along the way is more normal than not. For parents, the trick is recognizing the difference between normal developmental bumps in the road and more serious behaviors and emotional states; and knowing when to handle things within the home and when to call in professional assistance.
Of course that’s a lot easier said than done.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) on when to seek professional help for your teen son or daughter.
Signs that your adolescent son or daughter needs professional help
It’s never easy to know when to seek a professional mental health evaluation, but on balance, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution. According to the AACAP, any of the following warning signs from adolescents and pre-adolescents may indicate the need for a professional mental health evaluation, particularly if worrisome behaviors have persisted for some time and/or if others have also expressed concern about your child’s emotional health.