How Do Mental Health Issues Differ By Age?


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximatly 53 million adults in the United States suffer from mental illness. Nearly 5 million children do as well. Mental illness can appear at any age, but their seriousness may vary by age. Mental illness also tends to present itself differently depending on age.

Children & Teens

Children may develop mental illness at varying ages. Typically, young children are diagnosed with behavioral disorders or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While teenagers are more likely to be diagnosed with general anxiety or depression, they can present themselves in younger children as well. For example, 6-year-old anxiety symptoms may present as fear that something will happen to the child’s parents or fear that something bad will happen in school. A teenager’s depression or anxiety may manifest as not seeing friends, giving up on extracurricular activities, or not wanting to go to school. 

It’s also important to understand that as a child grows, his or her mental illness symptoms may change as well. It’s important to connect with your children to determine whether there are any issues that need to be addressed. Children aged 3-12 may seem sad for long periods of time, become shyer than they used to be, deal with physical ailments more often, have a change in eating habits, or appear to test boundaries. Once children reach pre-teen and teenage years, they may not think logically, sleep for very long periods of time, have physical ailments, become more worried, or give in to peer pressure more easily. 

The Next Steps

As a parent, you want what’s best for your children. If you think that your child may be experiencing symptoms of mental health issues, then it’s important to talk to a doctor. A doctor can help you determine if there are underlying causes of any physical manifestation of symptoms and help you to determine the next steps to care for your child. You can also try an over-the-counter medication to help. Brilla reviews from parents are a good starting point for OTC medications.

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Young Adults & Older Adults

Although 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness every year, only 1 in 20 experience serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Generalized anxiety and depression are the most common types of mental illness in adults. While some people can use over-the-counter medicine for anxiety and stress, others will need to seek out therapy or prescription medications. 

Adults who experience anxiety and depression may sleep for long periods of time, have more physical ailments, have specific phobias, not want to participate in social activities, or feel panicked about certain events. It is important to seek out a support system if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. That can mean relying on a partner, parent, or friend, going to therapy, or joining a support group. 

Mental health issues don’t need to be debilitating. By using the right over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, therapy, and a support system, you or your children can feel better and take control of your lives.

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