Normal Adolescent Brain

During adolescence there are a variety of common behaviours that might be mistaken for symptoms of a mental health issue. These behaviours include a low tolerance for frustration, poor judgment, swearing, risk-taking, impulsivity, conflicts with caregivers/authority, increased sexual drive, increased influence of peers, increased use of drugs & alcohol, disorganization, and sleep disturbances. 

While many of these behaviours can be symptoms of a disorder, an adolescent or youth who is exhibiting one or many of the above behavioural characteristics is not necessarily affected by a mental health issue. 

It is important that the caregiver use his/her discretion in distinguishing the severity and frequency of these behaviours from what is deemed "normal" during adolescent development and what could be symptomatic of a more serious condition or syndrome.

However, if behaviours exhibited seem severe or overly frequent, caregivers are encouraged to contact their physician, doctor, or other medical professional to seek a potential diagnosis.

  • Early intervention is key to managing the disorder and preventing further disability.
  • Get help from a qualified health practitioner, including a professional diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis will help to prevent any incorrect “labeling” of your child by others.
  • Obtain a second opinion if possible.
  • Find a support group for both you and your child, and exchange strategies.
  • Learn all you can about the disorder and educate your family and your child about the disorder.
  • Don’t compare your child to siblings or other children. Treat your child as a unique individual.
  • Re-evaluate and modify strategies as necessary. Work closely with your child’s teacher, doctor, and school team.

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