Teen Increase in Mental Disorders

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Teen Increase in Mental Disorders

Esmeralda Fraire, Contributor

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The rigid lines on her arms and thighs spoke louder than she ever seemed to, the dark circles and major bags under his eyes showed his lack of sleep, the boy who sat in the back had his headphones in ignoring what was going on around him, the girl who roamed the hallways alone reflected what was going on in her head. This is the reality of things, one doesn’t acknowledge it but this is just the start which can cost a life.

The percentage of teens experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Based on these studies, problems regarding today’s society have had an impact on teen’s mental disorders. Issues such as the era of technology, drug abuse, hormonal changes, peer pressure, high academic expectations, and some may say even the music of today influences how teens act and react to certain situations. Depression and anxiety tend to be the most frequently seen mental health issue amongst teens, causing to struggle with the activities done on a daily basis; whether it be school or home related, relationships with people closest to them, etc. This affects the individual in a certain aspect that one wouldn’t be able to put their finger on and to actually understand them one would have to go through the same challenges faced on a daily. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 3 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Teen depression appears to be on the rise equally among urban, rural, and suburban populations. Research also shows that more dangerous behaviors, like self-harm, are increasing. This is the reality of today, which some people fail to realize.
Take an individual for instance, by the name of Isaac. He is a junior in high school and because of how challenging it is to have depression and anxiety at the same time, while still trying to maintain “good grades” in order to graduate when expected and still having to go home to other problems involving family. Keep in mind this is something he has to face for the last three years of high school. Seeking help for these years, the only answers he seemed to obtain were, “you seem to have critical depression and anxiety” and nothing ever seemed to help regardless of what he tried to do. He lost hope with the whole “maybe you should see a therapist” thing.
“It’s just part of my everyday routine now, there isn’t anything I could do but go through it. Sometimes you have to go through it to get to the other side. Of course there are challenges that come along it, as if I were to have a shackle on my ankle, having to walk for miles and there is no way of escaping.” He tells me.
I ask, “What has been the most challenging for you to do?”
“Well there have been a lot of times where I just want to end it all. I just can’t bring myself to put my family through that pain, which is what always stops be at the last second. It hard to live a life you really don’t want and to act as if you were happy when in reality you’re dying inside, my parents know something is wrong but they just seem to get used to the routine too. School and having everything that has been going on for years with my parents and I has most definitely been the most challenging. It seems like I’m trapped in this dark abyss and I can’t ever get out no matter how hard I try.”
Once he told me this, I realized that he wasn’t the only one to feel this way. There are many other people, especially teens, who feel like there is no escape for what goes on in their mind on a day-to-day basis. Just among the group of people I would hang out with, all of them seemed to have a problem with getting their thoughts together. All struggling with problems of their own, some hiding it better than others. One of my friends had said, “struggling with this for years on end, you just seem to go with the flow of whatever it is that life throws at you.” To hear this, you start to wonder more about why this is becoming more and more common among teens. I had so many questions to which I needed answers for. I had gone to a therapist, Diana was her name. She was an expert on this, so she should answer my questions
“What is it that makes teens so down? Is it because of the household they are in? What do you think contributes to such an increase in mental health disorders throughout the last decade?”
“Parents given the choice between ‘my child is sort of being an annoying teenager’ or ‘my child has a potentially life-threatening medical problem,’ are not going to pick the second. It’s terrifying. So they just seem to set the problem aside. Now social media seems to contribute to a lack of self-esteem among students, sleep deprivation, relationships at home and outside of home also seem to be part of this, plus so many more things going on.”
The reality of the dangers a person faces having mental health issues really is terrifying. Something unexpected could occur in a matter of seconds, resulting in their life or even worse. If you know somebody who struggles with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, multiple personalities, ADHD, etc. reach out to help them and the people in their life. Be nice to everybody and treat everybody how you would like to be treated for you don’t know what goes on in a person’s head. You could make a larger impact than you would expect. Teens being known to be the future of this country and world, if at an increasing rate mental health issues are becoming more common, what would the future hold for generations to come or beyond that?