Being independent is something every young adult looks forward to. It is a time when they become free to do the things they’ve always wanted to do. Leaving home may have a certain emotional tug but the desire to become independent elicits a certain high that outweighs whatever feelings they have about staying home.
However, as soon as they move out of their homes is the realization that independence involves not just freedom but many new responsiblities. Alongside those responsibilities are problems that would probably cause stress and anxiety. Such a period of transition may have a cruel twist to their emotional and psychological well-being and could even result in mental illness, specifically personality and depressive disorders.
The first appearance of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major depressive disorders tend to occur in the late teens and early 20s. According to research, people are predisposed to acquire these medical conditions upon birth or during childhood. However, symptoms are may not surface until they hit a particular phase of development and/or certain stressors.
Usually, men tend to develop schizophrenia between the ages of 18 and 25 while it appears in women about five years later. Bipolar disorder usually begins in early adulthood, although children and adolescents may also develop it. An increase in the incidence of major depressive disorder occurs after the age when puberty is reached.
There are many cases when stressors precipitate the onset of mental illness in people who are predisposed to these conditions. Some of these stressors include death in the family, the loss of a job, or even positive events such as getting married or getting a promotion. The stress of going to college, getting independent from home and being responsible for oneself may become a trigger to anxiety disorder that leads to mental illness.
Alcohol and drugs could also trigger a bout of mental illness. Young people with psychiatric illnesses try to cope with their symptoms by using substances like alcohol, marijuana and cocaine which make them feel better when they experience a sense of being “high” and intoxicated which only complicates the problem. They are less likely to take medication properly and their symptoms are harder to control. They are at greater risk of exhibiting violent behavior and might need to be hospitalized more often
Schizophrenia may be recognized when a person loses his ability to function. An adolescent who used to be doing very well in school and socially may show signs of regression. A marked changed in social or family functioning or their ability to get good grades or do well at work should be a concern.
Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations happen when certain pathways in their brains are being activated when they shouldn’t be. Another symptoms of schizophrenia is paranoia or being suspicious of others. They exhibit inability to express themselves verbally, when they used to have no trouble organizing their thoughts. Other early problems may include sleep disorders such as insomia, depressed mood or anxiety.
A bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It is a brain disorder that causes unexpected changes in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. These are not the same as the normal ups and downs every person usually experience. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe which may result in ruined relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. However, bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives. Other symptoms include a decreased need for sleep, and an increased energy level. They also have an increase in risky behavior, such as excessive shopping or gambling, or being sexually promiscuous.
A depressive episode involves a change in one’s mood to sadness or irritability that lasts for at least two weeks and includes changes in sleep and appetite, and low energy.
It’s important for parents to keep in touch with their teens when they are away in boarding schools. Always keep the communication open. Always give them reassurance, affirmation and comfort in times of difficulties. Always encouraged these young adolescents to seek medical support when they are becoming extremely depressed, experiencing severe anxiety attack, or when they feel like they are hearing voices. Adolescents or young adults who have already been diagnosed with a mental illness should make sure that they are in regular contact with a mental health provider. Hospitalization may be necessary for those who experience their first episodes for proper diagnosis, treatment and safety.