5 Mental Health Red Flags in Teens

Are you worried about your teenager’s mental health?

If so, you are far from alone.

Teenagers are known for their sudden mood swings and highly emotive state, and this is a perfectly normal as they undergo major hormonal and physical changes.

However, if you suspect that your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, a substance abuse problem, or both, then they will need more help navigating their way through these challenging years.

From a decrease in performance at school to aggressive behavior to changes in eating and sleeping patterns, keep reading to discover the most common mental health red flags in teenagers that you need to look out for.

1.    Sleep problems

Teenagers are known for spending long periods of time in bed so this warning sign can be difficult to spot. That being said, sleep disturbances are a classic physical symptom of someone whose mental health is deteriorating.

If your teen is finding it hard to fall asleep at night or is waking in the early hours of the morning, this could be a sign that they are depressed.The same goes for not being able to get through the day without a nap.

The key thing to look out for is any major changes in their normal sleeping patterns.

2.    Change in appetite

If your teen either has suddenly lost their appetite or you think they may have turned to food for comfort, this could suggest that their mental health has taken a turn for the worse. Furthermore, if their relationship with food has dramatically changed this could be a sign of either an eating disorder or a substance abuse problem.

Accepting that your child has an eating disorder, a substance abuse problem, or any mental health disorder can be extremely hard but try and remember that there is support out there. Seek the help of a professional treatment center such as and ensure your teen gets the care they need.

3.    Loss of interest in daily activities

The inability to summon up any enthusiasm or energy for aspects of daily life that they used to enjoy such as seeing their friends or carrying out their hobbies is a strong indicator that your teen is struggling with their mental health.

You may also notice that they are spending more time alone and gradually shutting themselves off from the outside world.

4.    Decrease in school performance

Although a fluctuation in school performance is normal for teenagers as they deal with their changing hormones and heightened emotions, if your teen has a significant and dramatic reduction in their grades, then there could be more to the situation than general teenage angst and rebellion.

5.    Difficulty concentrating

Both mental health disorders and substance abuse issues can result in poor concentration levels, difficulties with memory, and a lack of attention. The most common mental health condition associated with a lack of concentration is ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition that has been increasingly diagnosed in both children and adults in recent years.

Other mental health warning signs include:

  • Changes in energy levels
  • Physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Aggression
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Dangerous behavior