Mood disorders differ significantly from the general moodiness so common in girls and young women. Teen girls are known for being temperamental, and parents may confuse normal manifestations for a more serious problem. The physical changes and life experiences of adolescence naturally bring about ups and downs in temperament.
Mood disorders, on the other hand, may cause teens to seriously struggle as they try to cope with a conflicted or distorted emotional state. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other affective disorders can significantly impact the health of teen girls. If you know the signs to watch for, you can keep an eye out for any indications that your teen may suffer from a mental disorder. This way, if a serious problem does arise, you can get her the help she needs.
Though each teen may show different signs, most who are living with emotional disorders exhibit some extreme emotional symptoms. Teens with depressive disorders, for example, may lose interest in activities that were previously pleasurable. These young women may experience intense sadness or guilt, feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide.
Emotional symptoms of mood disorders may also include continual anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and difficulty maintaining relationships. Girls with mania disorders, on the other hand, may display excessive irritability, agitation, poor judgment, unusually excessive energy and extreme changes in mood. For a formal diagnosis, symptoms must typically persist over a period of months and result in significant disruption or degradation of quality of life.
Though emotional symptoms may point to a mental health issue, several physical signs may also manifest in teen or tween girls. Decreased energy or persistent fatigue is a common symptom of both depressive and manic conditions. Teens with mental issues may sleep excessively, and though it seems contradictory, they may also experience insomnia.
Mood disorders can also affect the appetite, making some teens overeat while others seem to have no appetite at all. Headaches, body aches and cramps are sometimes recognized as possible signs of mental disorders. Teens with conditions involving mania may be impulsive or easily distracted, jumping from one thought or idea to the next. Hypersexuality — increased sexual urges or activity — may also manifest in conjunction with many mental disorders.
When parents or other family members suspect that a teen girl has depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or any other mental health issue, it is essential to seek professional help right away. Prompt treatment can help the teen work through an affective disorder, using coping strategies and other proven techniques.
The effects of mood disorders are often compounded when left untreated, and without timely intervention, teens may develop further issues that could affect them throughout life. Poor concentration, low energy and fatigue can have a significant impact on a teen’s performance in school. Anxiety and low self-esteem can make social situations difficult, which can greatly affect a teen’s confidence.
Mental health issues can be challenging for anyone, but for teen girls, these conditions may be extremely difficult to manage without professional intervention. At Havenwood Academy, residential treatment programs and therapeutic support modalities provide teens with the skills they need to cope with and recover from devastating mood disorders.