moodiness: when is it more than just "being a teenager?"

The transition from tween to teen consists of emotional, mental, physical, social, familial, and academic changes. Teens often feel overwhelmed by changes and haven't yet learned the tools to cope in a healthy way.

Girls may be at risk for developing anxiety and mood-related health issues. An article by the Huffington Post describes the findings of several studies that find that girls are 2 times more like than boys to show signs of a mood disorder during the teen years, at 14-20 percent. The discrepancy continues to into adulthood, when women are twice as likely as men to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Another article explores why we may be more likely to see signs of anxiety and depression in adolescent girls. Some potential risks include the biological changes and hormonal changes that occur during puberty as well as psychosocial pressures.

What do you look for in your tween or teen? Notice changes in appetite, signficant friendship losses or changes in peer groups, withdrawal from activities, and a loss of interest in formerly pleasurable pursuits. Irritability, tearfulness and mood swings can be hallmarks of adolescence, but can also be signs that something more serious is going on in your daughter's world. Check in with teachers, the school counselor and friends' parents to help build community support and keep tabs on any signficant changes in your daughter's behavior, demeanor and appearance.

Group and family therapy are supportive options to help destigmatize what your daughter is feeling, and learn healthy ways to cope with challenges. In group, girls learn that they are not alone in their struggle. In family work, girls learn how the whole family can be a support network and that her experiences and challenges are not occuring in a vacuum. With early intervention, girls can thrive through social and emotional challenges.