The 3 Most Prevalent Types of Mental Issues in Teen Girls


Research indicates that female teens are more likely to develop mental health disorders than their male counterparts. According to one study, 71 percent of antidepressant medications prescribed to teen patients are for girls. Rates of self-harm are increasing among teenaged girls, going up from slightly above 10 percent to over 16 percent in the span of three years. Meanwhile the rate for male teenagers remains below 5 percent.

As a mother, you should be aware of the mental health of your teenaged daughters.

But what are the most common types of mental health disorders among teen girls and a short guide on how you can be there for them.

  1. Eating Disorders

Body image issues are distressingly prevalent among women. One survey revealed that 97 percent of all women have at least one negative thought about their body every day. Media and culture have ingrained unattainable body standards in everyone, but especially among women. The urge to become thinner or fitter can manifest as switching to low-carb pasta, but it can also lead to developing eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. Without effective treatment plans for bulimia and anorexia, these disorders could do serious damage to your daughter's health.

Signs of an eating disorder are varied, but some of the most salient include:

  • Intentional vomit inducement or purging, whether through oral stimulation, diarrheic substances or emetics.
  • Rapid weight loss without noticeable effort like exercise
  • Signs of malnutrition like anemic appearance, hair loss and constant exhaustion

Eating disorders are among the most serious mental health issues that teen girls contend with and if you suspect your daughter is experiencing one, you must seek professional help as soon as possible.

  1. Anxiety

Anxiety is a mood disorder characterized by a feeling of dread or unease. Before adolescence, girls and boys have the same odds of developing anxiety disorders. But after puberty, teen girls develop anxiety at roughly the same levels as adult women, which is much higher than teen boys. Anxiety disorders are insidious, undermining the mental health of someone living with it in small but meaningful ways.

An anxiety disorder primarily manifests in the following ways, although there are other symptoms:

  • Constantly feeling restless and on the edge.
  • Easily getting tired due to prolonged restlessness.
  • Having trouble focusing on the task at hand.
  • Problems getting to sleep such as getting easily woken up or falling asleep, short sleep hours or feeling unsatisfied with sleep.

Take note that there are varying levels of anxiety that could plague your daughter, and they may present differently.

  1. Depression

Depression is different from being sad and you should never downplay its effects as just being down on the dumps. It's a serious mental condition that could lead to self-harm if left untreated or exacerbated. Unlike feeling sad over an event, depression is persistent and complicated by other emotions. Depression also differs from grief, which is sadness connected with fondly remembering a departed loved one.

There are multiple types of depression, but some of the most prevalent symptoms include the following:

  • Persistent negative emotions such as hopelessness, pessimism or feeling empty.
  • Enhanced emotions involving decreased self-wroth like guilt, feeling worthless or feeling helpless in the face of events.
  • Low energy throughout the day, manifesting as fatigue or slowed reaction time.
  • Erratic sleep cycle, including insomnia, working very early in the morning or even oversleeping.

Depression, like all mental health disorders, doesn't just go away on its own or can be banished by "positive thoughts." It requires professional help to overcome and could worsen if left untreated.

What Can You Do?

As a mother, you should rightfully be worried if your teenaged daughter exhibits any of the signs above. But what can you do that might help them? Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when you believe your teenaged daughter is experiencing a mental health problem.

  • Listen. One of the reasons teenaged girls might avoid discussing their problems with you is that they might not feel like you're listening to them. Make it clear that they can come to you for advice of help and never be dismissive.
  • Seek Professional Help. Your support and advice can only go so far when tackling your daughter's mental health issues. There is no substitute to professional help such as therapy and counselling. Seek the advice and assistance of a professional therapist for your daughter as soon as it’s feasible.
  • Study. As a parent, you should study up on how best to interact and take care of your daughter. Ask professionals for research and resources you can read that will help you understand what your daughter is going through and how best to help them.
  • Be Supportive. Never be dismissive of your daughter's feelings. If they tell you about how bad they're feeling, don't take it as an affront to your parenting. Focus on their needs and what they feel. As a parent, it’s your duty to provide a safe space for your children.

Being a teenager is already hard enough, but living through a mental health issue as a teen girl is even harder. These tips and information can help you guide your daughter through their issues and mold them into strong and happy adults.

**Image source: Pexels.com

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