Sign: Mood Changes

“My daughter was a pretty happy kid up until ninth grade. Then she started to become very moody. I’m not talking abour run of the mill moodiness due to hormones or just growing up, but bizarre changes. She’s be laughing one minute, screaming the next, crying a minute later. It sometimes felt like a scene from The Exorcist.”

Any adult remembers what it is like to be a teenager – teens often feel overwhelmed by the changes they are going through and high school is often a high-pressured place where popularity and peer pressure compete with academic goals and positive life styles. Many mood changes are normal during adolescence. However, if you think these mood changes are impacting your teen’s ability to function normally, it’s time to look more deeply at the issues your child might be facing.

It is important to rule out any other issues, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or undiagnosed learning difficulties that are undermining your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

If you suspect drugs and alcohol are part of the mood equation, step in immediately. Parents who set strict rules and require their teens to abide by these rules or face consequences fare much better than parents who avoid these problems and hope the child just “grows out of it.”

Never ignore violent mood swings. Teens who have undiagnosed clinical depression or other psychiatric illnesses are at risk for self-harm and even suicide.

Some teens with undiagnosed depression or bipolar disorder actually use alcohol and illegal drugs to take the edge off their mood disorder – they are essentially self-medicating, more reason to get professional answers if you are concerned about your teen’s mood.