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Personality Disorder or Is It “Just Being A Teen”?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I get these things that I call “Ticks”. Ticks are the little things that make me snap. For example I could wake up fine, but then 1 little minor tick will happen and it makes me really angry for no reason and I completely shut down and depresses/angry the rest of the day. There are days where I will wake up and think its going to be a good day, but 5 out of the 7 days, I wake up dreading the day. I could be fine one minute and then angry the next. My family notices it but they just say “It’s just normal teen behavior”, but I just can’t control my reactions to these ticks! I also have been having concentration issues and its really caused by grades to slip. I’ve gone from an “B” student to a “D” student. Am I “Just being a teen”, or do you think I might have a personality disorder?

You mentioned that you have “ticks.” “Ticks” can have a variety of meanings depending on how an individual utilizes the word. Your defined meaning of the word is not fully clear to me. I am not certain if your “ticks” refer to a thought, an emotion, or a behavior that makes you angry or upset.

In the mental health arena, “tics” are repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations that are associated with Tourette syndrome. Tourette syndrome is a nervous system disorder that often begins in childhood.

Because of the limited information provided, I cannot answer your question: Do I have a mental health disorder or am I “just being a teen? Generally speaking, if you have difficulty controlling your behavior, you’re having problems in school and you have lost your ability to concentrate, then professional intervention is suggested. Those symptoms may be indicative of a possible mental health disorder.

My recommendation would be to have both a medical and psychological evaluation. If your parents are unwilling to have you evaluated, then speak to the school guidance counselor about your symptoms. He or she could help to clarify whether intervention is needed. In addition, the guidance counselor could speak to your parents about what course of action would be appropriate in this situation.

If you would like to write back and provide a more detailed explanation of your symptoms, I may be able to better address your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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