Suddenly, your teenager is having trouble in school. Relationships with teachers, friends, siblings—and you—are falling apart. Your child has a new set of friends and no longer seems interested in favorite activities.
A frightening question weighs on your mind: "Is my child experimenting with drugs?"
If the answer is yes, you need to act quickly to help your child. But first you need to know for sure.
Besides having trouble with school and relationships, teenagers taking drugs may display emotional extremes with irritability, anger and changes in sleep patterns.
"Look for a significant change in behavior. A change in grades, a change in how they dress, or a sudden change in friends—those kinds of changes should raise a red flag," says Jay Ronald Heller, M.D., clinical associate professor of psychiatric medicine at the University of Virginia. "Parents should also listen to teachers and the teenager's friends."
Alcohol Abuse Signs and Symptoms Among Teens
Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a car accident, military action, a terrorist attack, rape, or some other act of violence, undergoes severe stress related to the incident. Many people recover on their own, although it often takes time, but sometimes, professional help is needed.
People who feel they're unable to regain control of their lives because of their responses to the trauma may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms vary and can appear immediately after the event, or days, weeks, or even months later. PTSD has been linked to other mental illnesses. It can occur with depression or lead to depression, according to the American Psychiatric Association. People with PTSD may not be aware that they are affected by it.
Easing the Pain of PTSD
Preventing Childhood Mental Health and Behavior Disorders
Americans often look in the mirror and think, "I'm fat." But a growing number are children, usually pre-adolescent and adolescent girls, who aren't overweight but believe they are.
Is Your Child's Fear of Being Fat Groundless?
Prepare for Your Appointment
Doctor visits on average last 13 minutes. Make the most of your time with your doctor with pre-visit planning. Your doctor will appreciate the active role you are taking in your health. Follow the ABCs of doctor visits: Arrive early. Be prepared. Communicate.
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Decision Guides for Mental Health and Behavior Concerns
Your child may wet the bed -- or accidentally pass urine -- at night while he is sleeping. This is called nocturnal enuresis. It's not at all unusual for a child to wet the bed at night until he is five or six years old. Once a child has reached school age, however, he should not be having frequent trouble controlling his bladder or bowel movements. If he is, it may be due to a physical or psychological problem, and you may want to discuss this with your pediatrician.
This decision support guide will help you to determine whether your child's bed-wetting is normal, and to know when to contact your pediatrician for medical care. Please note, this guide is not meant to take the place of a visit to your pediatrician's office.
Evaluate Your Child's Bed-Wetting ›
Mental Health and Behavior Tests
A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation may be necessary to diagnose any number of emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders. An evaluation of a child, adolescent, or adult is made based on behaviors present and in relation to physical, genetic, environmental, social, cognitive (thinking), emotional, and educational components that may be affected as a result of the behaviors presented.
Understanding Psychiatric Evaluations