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Teen Mental Illness: Unnoticed, Undiagnosed in America

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently sponsored a US study which focused on a group of over 10,000 teens between the ages of 13-18.

  • Out of those studied, 20% suffered from mental illness.
  • Out of that group only 36.2% were receiving any type of medical or psychological attention.
  • While the most severe forms of mental illness were most likely to receive treatment, only half were in the process of being treated, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Out of the teens who received services, 59.8% were diagnosed with attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD); others who were receiving aid were those categorized with some type of defiant conduct behavioral disorder.
  • Teens who suffered from an anxiety or eating disorder were least likely to have been in any sort of behavioral program- only 20%.
  • Hispanics and blacks youths who suffered anxiety were less likely to be in treatment than Caucasians.
  • Girls were more likely than boys to receive therapy for anxiety disorder; boys were more likely to be receiving treatment for AD/HD.

Parents, be on the lookout for depression in your teen; here are 10 warning signs, as reported by Fox News:

  • Passivity, less inclined to cry when something is troubling her/him
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden detachment from activities or interests that were previously enjoyable
  • Vocalizing feelings which indicate lack of self-worth
  • Interruption of sleeping habits, like oversleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Misperception, likeliness to be confused by more things than usual
  • Decreased academic performance
  • Substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs
  • Paranoia

Get proper diagnosis.

Only a trusted psychologist can correctly diagnose teen depression or any other form of mental illness.  Governmental programs such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the federal Children’s Mental Health Initiative are working to improve mental health facilities nationwide.

Encourage your teenager to eat healthy.

It might seem like following a healthy diet is less of a priority when faced with the symptoms of depression, but many doctors have found that deficiencies such as low vitamin b12 may contribute to depression; in some cases vitamin b12 deficiency may be the sole reason for the sudden change in behavior.

B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as clinical depression.

The Mayo Clinic confirms a correlation between b12 deficiency and symptoms of depression. Warning signs of vitamin b12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, increased violent tendencies, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite. Sound familiar? Many are the same symptoms above-mentioned for clinical depression.

A blood test is required to determine whether vitamin b12 deficiency is present; if you are tested positive then your physician will recommend supplementation, which may be administered as an injection, sublingual tablet, or spray.

Sources:

MSN News

Yahoo News

Watch this motivating video.

Images:

Anita Patterson Peppers


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