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Mental disorders of adolescence


Mental disorders of adolescence (11 - 1 9 years old)

As we know, this is the age of the most emotional, hottest, most mobile change in character traits. Adolescents are characterized by an extreme degree of maximalism. We know how inclined they are, on the one hand, to oppositional behavior, to protest, to nihilism. On the other hand, how easily they find themselves at the mercy of manipulators, including, unfortunately, skillful manipulators from politics, and find themselves involved in various adventures.

Features of adolescence

A teenager is a person whose emotions are extremely mobile and are not held for a long time, unfortunately, they are quite superficial, shallow.

In adolescence, a person experiences a large number of revelations, discoveries. It is especially difficult for him to experience betrayal; adolescents are very acute and a little hypertrophied about such important concepts for them at this age as friendship and love. And the ruptures of friendships and love relationships in adolescence are perceived as a mental trauma, quite severe, sometimes catastrophic.

At this age, which is also called puberty in another way , we psychiatrists are often faced with the onset of certain mental disorders.


In adolescence, conditions are observed that are either a continuation of childhood disorders or the initial stage of adult diseases. During this time, the body undergoes numerous changes, including hormonal ones, which lead to the appearance of specific behavioral problems. The most common mental disorders in adolescence are:

1. Anorexia nervosa. This form of eating disorder occurs most often during puberty. Girls are most susceptible to this disease. The sex ratio is 10: 1, in favor of the female. The cause of this disorder is an intense fear of becoming overweight, and a desire to conform to the stereotypes of beauty accepted in society. Heredity has little effect on the appearance of this type of disorder. One of the Olsen sisters is a prime example of this. Mary-Kate, unlike her sister, suffered from anorexia.

2. Bulimia nervosa. This type of disorder is also more common in girls. This disorder is characterized by bouts of binge eating, followed by the forced removal of the eaten. Unlike anorexia, the cause of this disorder is psychological dependence on eating food in unlimited quantities.

3. Depression. The most common form of mental illness in adolescents. Any stress can lead to a depressive state. Many famous actors, athletes and politicians have admitted in candid interviews that they suffered from depression during their teens. Jean-Claude Van Damme managed to get out of prolonged teenage depression thanks to the help of specialists and intense sports training. Parents should not underestimate the dangers of these disorders. Prolonged depression can lead to serious consequences, up to and including attempted suicide.

4. Anxiety disorders can be caused by stresses experienced in early childhood. Panic attacks can be caused by a variety of reasons. When realizing the problem and contacting specialists, it is possible to solve this problem. The patient learns to deal with his fears, not hide from them.

Not always the behavior of a teenager can be explained by mental disorders. In some cases, behavioral disorders are associated with pedagogical neglect and social conditions in which the child lived.

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Borderline psychopathology

I would like to talk about borderline psychopathology, which often does not require any active psychiatric care, any medication, or hospitalization.

In this case, we are talking about behavioral disorders , when those very violent emotions in behavior, when that very opportunism turns a person into a prickly creature that categorically refuses to discuss any issues in a peaceful way, acting as a war against everyone.

In such situations, we are talking about personality disorders, and this is a diagnostic category that is in the classification of diseases. However, we still do not consider this a disease, since it is a state of character.

Character is not a disease , character is something that is given to man by nature from birth. This is what is formed in one way or another. And this is just the final phase of character formation, the very puberty that we are talking about now. And the age of puberty, which lasts approximately 11 to 1 9 years old, is the determining age in the final formation of character traits.

After 1 9 years, the character that has been formed will already remain unchanged, and all its pros and cons, positive and negative, strengths and weaknesses, which will be formed by this time, will remain so until the end of life.

I am talking about this specifically in order to focus the attention of loved ones, relatives and, above all, parents on the importance of every psychological nuance associated with upbringing, or a nuance associated with the attitude to the problems of a teenager in his future life.

What for us adults seems unimportant, insignificant or insignificant, or as it seems to us a rather successful pedagogical move, for a teenager can turn out to be an event with fatal consequences.

Suicidal behavior

And one of the rather frequent fatal consequences of these personality disorders in adolescence, or psychopathy, as we also call them, is suicidal behavior , aimed not only at leaving life, but also at harming oneself.

This is the so-called self-destructive behavior or non-suicidal self-destruction, when a teenager begins to punish himself with rather serious burns, self-cuts and some other self-harm.

When he embarks on a very slippery criminal road, when, unfortunately, at this age, addictions, both alcoholic and psychoactive substances, appear.

When he becomes a gambling addict, freezes in the computer, when he disappears, leaves home in this state of protest to visit relatives.

Or when he develops various somatoform, psychosomatic disorders in the form of a huge number of health complaints that are not confirmed by somatic or neurological examinations.

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Sex drive disorders

At this age, the teenager's sexual sphere is also formed, and his gender identity is finally formed. In cases when we are talking about personality disorders, impulse disorders, including sex drive disorders, are very common , and then we can find many different kinds of psychosexual anomalies, which also sometimes border on various kinds of events that have legal consequences. These are the kinds of troubles that teenagers can expect when we talk about psychopathies.

Teenage depression

At this age, symptoms and syndromes of those diseases that we more often see in adults also develop quite often. We can also observe the phenomena of the so-called youthful depressions, or depressions with the phenomena of asthenic youthful inconsistency - as they are called.

During these depressions, the teenager falls into bed, stops going to school, snaps in response to the parents' demands to pull himself together, go take a shower, put himself in order, and resume school trips. He senselessly stares at the ceiling or non-stop playing the same computer game, stops communicating with his peers, goes to the phone, to social networks.

In such situations, in most cases, unfortunately, no one really thinks about depressive disorders, everyone thinks only about weakness of will, weakness of character, about laziness, about the fact that this person needs to be kicked so that he shakes himself up. Send him to some Suvorov school, start to carry out some tough measures with him, controlling, prohibiting one or another action.

All this, unfortunately, turns out to be ineffective, and sometimes pathogenic, if we are dealing with real depression. And in adolescents, depression is exactly how it proceeds.

We can lose this teenager if we do not timely see this as a mental disorder and do not attend to the consultation of psychiatrists. Unfortunately, the number of completed suicides , that is, suicides that ended in death, is very high precisely in adolescence.

At the same age, the number of various kinds of self-damaging actions is quite large , and the consequences of these self-harm are so serious that they actually disable the child for his entire future life.

Juvenile schizophrenia

In addition to depressive and personality disorders, at this age, serious illnesses such as schizophrenia also develop quite often. We are talking about a form of it called juvenile schizophrenia. This form is extremely rare and exclusive.

Nevertheless, if such a misfortune does occur, and the disease begins, then it, as a rule, proceeds catastrophically. That is, it is a malignant form in which the psyche is destroyed in a rapid manner, it is extremely difficult to stop it. The course of this disease destroys the psyche for some 2-3 years. The child becomes disabled during this time.

Adolescent neurotic disorders

In a separate number of cases, we observe at this age and disorders associated with some kind of organic diseases associated with neurological, somatic pathologies.

Of course, we cannot ignore the neurotic disorders of adolescents. After all, it is at the end of this age that they are faced with, perhaps, the most difficult test for themselves and for their psyche - the unified state exam, the significance of which is exaggerated so much that for most adolescents, the question of passing or not passing this exam is a matter of life and death.

And many, many other problems and issues that are closely intertwined with psychological and social aspects.

Individual consultations or consultation? What to choose?

In order to understand all this, and in adolescence it is especially difficult to do this, the participation of various specialists is necessary. These are psychiatrists, neuropathologists, pediatricians, psychologists, clinical and family psychologists, teachers, defectologists and many other specialists who take part in helping adolescents who find themselves in difficult life situations due to certain mental disorders.

It is almost impossible to do this by coming for an individual consultation with one of these specialists. In most cases, if you turn to a psychiatrist or just a psychologist, the child will not receive enough answers to his questions, and the parents will also not receive answers to the question of what is happening to him. Examination, diagnostics are needed, a systematic approach is needed. And this systematic approach, ideally, can only be obtained in a specialized institution.

For example, in a psychiatric hospital or in a scientific center for mental health of children and adolescents. There is such a center named after G. E. Sukhareva in Moscow. It is not at all necessary to be hospitalized in this center, there are non-stationary forms of observation and examination, and outpatient and semi-stationary forms.

If the examination was successful, if, fortunately, no serious mental illnesses were found during this examination, then we can determine the further route of rendering assistance to such patients, determine the algorithm for their further actions.

If this turns out to be a condition that can be eliminated by the outpatient help of a psychiatrist or psychologist, then you need to find such a psychiatrist, psychologist, specialist in the field of adolescent psychology and psychiatry who, working with this adolescent individually, on an outpatient basis, can solve a significant part of his problems and problems. families.

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