What are Emotional Health Disorders in Troubled Girls?
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) definition, Troubled teen girl emotional health disorders are a wide array of mental health disorders that can be classified as being an emotional disturbance, i.e., emotional illnesses that can be characterized by feelings of delusional and uncontrollable fears, namely, disorders that typically accompany some form of clinical anxiety.
Emotional Health Disorders:
- Anxiety disorders: general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, and irrational phobias
- Depression: generalized depression disorder, bipolar disorder, as well as any illness that is classified as a mood disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Personality disorder(s)
- Severe mental illnesses that include psychosis, like schizophrenia
As those who have already lived through, it can attest, the time of adolescence can be a particularly stressful and arduous one. Girls going through adolescence face previously unknown and intense emotional distress, including raging hormones, newly developing responsibilities; socially, academic, personal, and pressures on them by their family, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures.
Needless to say, it is during the time of adolescence that teenage girls become especially at-risk and highly vulnerable when it comes to developing emotional health disorders. What's worse is the fact that emotional health disorders (per World Health Organization’s classifications) are typically accompanied by a co-occuring behavioral disorder, namely, substance abuse disorder. The increasingly high risk of using and becoming addicted to harmful substances makes emotional disorders particularly volatile and especially dangerous - to the point of being potentially fatal if left untreated.
To make matters even more confusing for parents, emotional disorders, at face-value, can appear or even mimic what would be considered "normal teenage behaviors and emotions." However, parents can suss out whether their child's self-destructive or overly emotional responses are nothing more than common teenage peculiarities or something more serious by simply paying close attention to their child's day-to-day behavioral patterns and emotions.
The following article will further discuss what emotional health disorders are, how they can be recognized, and what parents of afflicted teens can do to locate the most suitable treatment option for their emotionally-distressed son or daughter.
Need Help Assisting Your Daughter With Emotional Health-Related Issues? Elk Mountain Is Here to Help!
Elk Mountain Academy is a residential treatment center for teenage girls troubled with life-controlling issues or misbehavior that may be threatening their future.
At Elk Mountain Academy, our therapists work with girls who are acting out or making inappropriate decisions due to emotional issues stemming from: major trauma or loss in their life, physical or mental abuse, death of a loved one, or attachment disorders to adoption. We also specialize in treating eating disorders and self-harming.
Further Understanding Emotional Health Disorders in Teens
Anyone who's been through it themselves knows how stressful and, at times, even hellish, the time of adolescence can be. So, with their brains not yet fully developed while facing the likes of raging hormones, unprecedented stresses, and responsibilities inherent to adolescence, it shouldn't be confounding as to how or why teens are especially prone to developing an emotional health disorder.
And while we adults can easily relate to the day-to-day struggles of average teens (such as experiencing feelings of insecurity or being stressed out about living up to expectations, etc.), the same cannot be said by the average adult when discussing teens who live with an emotional health disorder.
Incidentally, when approaching a teen who lives with an emotional health disorder, parents must present themselves as empathetic and earnest about helping alleviate their daughter's emotional pain.
For those parents who suspect their child might have an emotional disorder but aren't sure if their child's behavior is either clinical or can be explained by the throes of average adolescence, there are tell-tale signs to watch out for. Additionally, it is also important for such parents to further seek to understand the behaviors and overall state of their child's emotional well-being when attempting to discern whether or not their child could suffer from an undiagnosed illness.
Emotional disorders like depression or generalized anxiety are often difficult to notice due to the fact that many teens experience bouts of moodiness or anxiousness. Making matters even more confusing, teens (especially females) are known to mask or hide their parents' true feelings and authority figures.
However, teens who have an emotional or mental illness will exhibit anxiety and moodiness more frequently than the average teen. By seeking to understand and empathize with their child's feelings, parents will be all the more able to notice symptoms that are endemic to potential emotional health disorders.
In short, becoming familiarized with emotional and mental illness, such as understanding the characteristics of emotional disorders, is important for any parent attempting to verify whether their child has an emotional health-related condition.
The sections below will discuss the most common emotional health disorders currently affecting US teenage girls.
The Most Common Types of Emotional Health Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Along with general depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder is the most prevalent emotional health disorder affecting teenage girls today. GAD is classified as overwhelming feelings of worry, fear, and stress on a frequent or near-constant basis.
When it comes to being a teenager - when newly developing responsibilities, hormones, and expectations occur for the first time in one's life - experiencing anxiety is normal. However, when a teenage girl has GAD, excessive and unprovoked anxiousness is so prevalent that living a normal life is nearly impossible and cannot be subdued in the same way as normal anxiety.
Anxiety disorder is most likely to develop during adolescence and in older teens (ages 15-18) than younger children.
Teenage girls are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than adolescent males. While experts are not sure why this is the case, many believe that the reason may be attributed to the fact that girls develop at an earlier age than boys.
As to how generalized anxiety disorder is developed, several potential factors are biological and environmental in nature. Additionally, teens who are temperamental or shy are also increasingly at risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder, or more as it is more commonly known depression, is classified as one developing feelings of overwhelming and debilitating sadness for extended periods of time. As it stands, depression is the most common mental illness in the world. It is also classified as what experts call 'an equal opportunity illness' - an illness that can affect a person from any age, race, or location. Even so, teenagers are known to develop a generalized depressive disorder faster than other age groups.
Major depressive disorder, like that of GAD, is the most pervasive emotional health disorder affecting teens today. According to the latest estimates, over 3 million teens (ages 12-17) suffer from depression, roughly 12% of the entire US population. Like most emotional or mental health disorders, depression affects teenage girls more than boys, with 19% and 6% annually affected.
In addition to being the most common emotional disorder globally, it is also one of the most dangerous illnesses if left untreated.
What Causes Emotional Disorders in Adolescents?
As is the case with all mental health-related issues, emotional disorders are not caused by any (single) factor. Rather, an emotional health disorder can be caused by many potential contributing factors, often, more than one at a time. Contributing factors can include (but are not limited to) traumatic circumstances, negative environments, and genetics. These potential contributing factors can impede a teenage girl's ability to respond to stress appropriately, and ultimately, lead to full-blown emotional illness.
Unfortunately, there are many instances where a teenage girl's emotional illness development is out of their parent's control. However, whether it be effective or ineffective, parenting can play a pivotal role in contributing, preventing, or alleviating an emotional health-related disorder.
Even in regards to how a parent handles stress themselves can affect the well-being or outcome of a teen's emotional stability. Additionally, this learned behavior tends to play even more crucial during an adolescent's late-teens - when life's challenges become increasingly difficult and critical.
It's important to note that, while a parent may not necessarily be able to prevent their teenage daughter from developing an emotional illness in every case, they can do things such as leading by example, thus creating a blueprint for their child to utilize during their path to recovery. Incidentally, emotionally-disordered teenage girls are more likely to trust their parents and their ability to help them heal (and locating the necessary professional help) from their illness.
Recognizing Symptoms Most Likely Related to an Emotional Disorder
One of the most important aspects of assisting a child with mental health-related problems actually begins by first being able to recognize there are clinical issues in the first place. Unfortunately, recognizing particular patterns and potential symptoms indicative of emotional disorders can be difficult.
That said, by being especially attentive to their child's well-being, attentive moms and dads can effectively recognize and, thereby, find treatment for their daughter's illness.
In order to effectively recognize such symptoms, parents must first know what to look out for.
Identifiable Symptoms Indicative of Teenage Girls With Emotional Disorders
The following symptoms are common tell-tale signs of emotional disorders:
- Digestive issues and stomach pain
- Muscle spasms and soreness without physical activity
- Sleeping issues - both the inability to sleep and constant exhaustion in spite of sleeping for extended periods of time
- Constant feelings of hopelessness
- Worry that can lead to nausea and difficulty sleeping
- Sudden loss of interest in participating socially or isolating ones' self from the outside world
- Loss of interest in activities they would otherwise enjoy
- Anger, irritability, and/or aggression towards others
- Increasingly erratic or impulsive behavior
Elk Mountain is Here to Serve Families of Troubled Girls with Emotional Disorders
When it comes to effectively treating emotional health-related issues and disorders, often, traditional therapy isn't intensive enough. When behaviors are compromising a teenage girl's emotional, mental, and even spiritual wellness, the most effective type of treatment can be found boarding school for troubled teen girls - residential treatment facilities that provide academic, therapeutic, and in some cases, spiritual-based treatment to girls who exhibit out of control behaviors stemming from emotional health-related issues.
For parents of troubled girls seeking such a program, there is Elk Mountain academy.
Why Choose Elk Mountain Academy?
Elk Mountain Academy is a premiere Christian Boarding School that has served troubled teenage girls living with emotional disorders and their families for over 20 years. At Elk Mountain, teenage girls (ages 12-17) receive many of the most dynamic treatments available that are aligned with their emotional, academic, and psychological needs. While providing teen girls with a christ-centered and individualized treatment, we also provide them with top-tier psychiatric and medical assistance from clinically expert staff - both on and off-campus - including psychiatric specialists, primary care physicians, dent orthodontists, and fully licensed psychotherapists.
At Elk Mountain, we utilize highly effective group therapy twice a week and specialty groups such as adoption and addiction. We go beyond just treating the girls who attend and provide family therapy as well. Family therapy occurs during family visits and on the phone.
More specifically, our staff has over 60 years of combined experience in therapy with adolescents. We specialize in dialectic behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, EMDR, reality therapy, and trauma therapy.
For immediate assistance, please call us today at (208) 266-1122.