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10 Common Mental Health Problems in Teens

teen girl talking to a counselor about common mental health problems in teens

Mental health issues in teens continue to be a talking point in the media, as well as quietly between worried adults in homes across the country. Many American teenagers have a diagnosable mental health issue like depression or anxiety. In fact, mental disorders in teenagers are at an all-time high. If your teen is suffering, contact us online or call 888.291.2309 today to learn how our treatment programs can help.

Mental Health Issues in Teens

While depression and anxiety are two of the most common and well-known mental health disorders, there is a wealth of other mental health issues in teens that need to be addressed in a professional, safe, and supportive setting and through individualized treatment programs. Identifying the symptoms of mental health concerns in teens can be difficult because teenagers, by and large, are already emotional creatures during this pivotal time of life. However, mental health issues in teens involve behavioral and mood changes that are far more extreme.

10 Common Mental Health Problems in Teens

The common mental health problems in teens include childhood trauma, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Additionally, substance use and eating disorders are also classified as mental health issues in teens.


Depression is the most common mental health problem in teens in the United States. Diagnosis of major depression has risen by a third over the last decade.

Teen Anxiety

It can be a challenge to identify when your teen’s everyday stress crosses over into an anxiety disorder. Teens with an anxiety disorder experience particularly high levels of anxiety, and those feelings, if left untreated, will get worse rather than improving on their own. Additionally, teens with anxiety disorders struggle with their intense emotions, feelings, and fear. Of all the mental health issues in teens, few disrupt a teen’s daily activities at work, at school, and in their relationships with friends and family more than generalized anxiety disorder.

Eating Disorders

Teen eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating

Anorexia can lead to starvation, metabolic collapse, and even suicide.

Substance Use Disorder

Young adults may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of self-medicating in cases of depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, and other common mental health problems.

While substance abuse is dangerous for teens, things become more treacherous when drugs and alcohol are used as a coping mechanism for symptoms of mental health issues. Prolonged substance use can lead to addiction.

Trauma and PTSD

Some of the most common forms of trauma that teens can be exposed to include:

  • Childhood abuse
  • Violence
  • Neglect
  • Death of a parent or close friend
  • Acts of nature
  • Surviving an accident

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder will often first appear in teens. The primary symptom is an inability to process emotions.


Schizophrenia is a chronic, lifelong disease, the behaviors of which begin to develop in adolescence. The symptoms of schizophrenia often start before the age of 30. Teens who are suffering from schizophrenia will have trouble processing their own emotions, becoming detached from reality.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Beyond the most common teen mental problems in teens, adolescents may be experiencing other issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which impacts one in every 100 adults in the United States and between one in 200 teens. OCD is usually diagnosed by about age 19, usually earlier in boys than in girls. A teen with OCD will repeat actions and thoughts again and again. These compulsions occur because your teen is being overwhelmed with unwanted and potentially disturbing thoughts, images, or urges. These obsessions create extreme anxiety.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is prevalent in teens and other young people. The symptoms of this mental health issue in teens includes having grandiose ideas about themselves and their achievements and a general lack of empathy toward others and their issues.

Learn More About Teen Mental Health Treatment at Imagine Fort Collins

If you believe that your child is struggling from one of these common mental health problems in teens, contact Imagine Fort Collins today using our secure online form or call us at 888.291.2309 to learn more about our treatment programs.