A recent study of 123 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 in the United States assessed that 1 in 5 of these study participants are suffering from one or more types of mental disorders. The study states that these disorders are bad enough for adolescents to be disruptive to their day. Also stated in the study was that a higher percentage of these teens have or have had some type of mental disorder that is less serious. This is one of the first studies to report on the prevalence of mental disorders for the adolescents of the United States.
According to this study, the severity of these disorders outweighs even health problems such as asthma or diabetes. Nationally, family doctors, pediatricians and psychologists are bringing awareness to this growing problem. My concern is not only the disorder, but also the solution. I want my child’s doctor to do the right thing, not prescribe right away just to send us on our way and send the next patient in.
I’m a firm believer that home is where a person learns who they are and how to be. In my eyes, the home life could potentially be the biggest problem in a child’s life, which with the right changes at home, could be the easiest thing to help relieve the child of anxiety. I hope that our doctors are looking at every factor when they diagnose a child.
The kids surrounding us see everything and take in every little thing we do like a sponge. Teenagers feel things from their parents, siblings, extended family and so on, even when nothing is said. Adolescents know what’s going on and they feel things about situations. Even if they don’t comprehend the feelings and know what the right reactions should be at that time, it dwells within them and they let it out in a way that adults misconstrue. If a child gives any sign that something is bothering them or something seems a little off, their family should make it a priority to find out what the issue is and find a solution as a family. If that doesn’t help, then treatment from a medical professional should be the next step.
I’m curious to find out how many adolescents pretend to have a problem just to get pills. I’ve struggled with depression. It’s not easy, but I’m adamant that learning to cope with my demons before getting a prescription is necessary. I believe that nutrition and exercise is a factor in emotional and behavioral problems. It’s a fact that when a person exercises, it releases endorphins, which produces happy emotions. Eating the right things gives us energy and makes us just feel good simply because we’re healthy. Are parents so caught up in the whirlwind of life that they can’t take a little extra time to cook, play and spend time with their children?
Reading that 1 in 5 teens has a serious mental disorder is bothersome. I automatically go to this pessimistic place that says “stop handing out pills to our kids.” I see the teenager point of view, thinking if they act depressed or detached, they could probably get some anxiety or antidepressants from the doctor. These days, it is so easy to go to the doctor’s office, state your case and then get the drugs you want. It’s not right, but it happens.
I do believe there is a number of children that do have some type of behavioral problem and sometimes prescribing medications are the only option to treat the disorder; but I don’t think medication is the answer for every adolescent. The family should take responsibility and do everything in their ability to solve the problem. I encourage people who fear their child has some type of issue to look at their family system and themselves before doing anything else. Children have to learn behavior from somewhere. So how does a parent, pediatrician or psychologist tell the difference?