79 Kids and the Law • Mood changes and irritability. The child who used to be calm and easy-go- ing shows more than the usual increased sensitivity of adolescence and low tolerance for frustration. The child may cry easily or fly off the handle with little provocation. • Aggressiveness. The child starts arguments or physical fights without ap- parent reason and may pick on siblings. The child might also be increas- ingly disobedient and refuse to comply with home and school rules. • Physical complaints. The child develops a variety of physical complaints such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, rashes, or mys- terious ailments. The child may become accident-prone, resulting in mul- tiple trips to the emergency room. • Personal care. The child becomes careless about personal cleanliness and begins to look dirty and unkempt. • Strange or bizarre thinking. The child may have unusual thoughts and per- ceptions (seeing or hearing things) and behave in a way that might indicate a developing psychotic disorder. • Substance use. The child begins to use alcohol and other drugs. Sometimes teens do this as a way of escaping problems, calming themselves, soothing injured feelings, or making themselves feel more powerful or better about themselves. Substance use may cover up other mental and behavioral health issues. (See Substance use section below.) CHILD SUICIDE Children from all kinds of families commit suicide. Children are at increased risk when a peer or family member has attempted or committed suicide. Teens are particularly at risk to commit suicide due to their impulsivity and the many changes which take place during adolescence. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens are at greater risk for suicide than heterosexual teens. What are suicide warning signs? • Suicide threats. Many people talk about suicide before they actually try to kill themselves. Any talk about death and dying should be taken very seriously. Mental Health and Substance Use Issues 8