Teen mental health and teen mental health treatment are incredibly important topics for parents and caregivers. During adolescence, hormones and social pressures collide. As a result, many teens act out in a variety of troubling ways. Teens might become moody, angry, or secretive. In addition, they may suddenly need extra sleep. These changes may seem to appear overnight, and they can dissipate just as quickly.
However, for some teens, the changes get more severe with time. These kids may be struggling with a mental disorder and it may be time for mental health treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
Mental disorders in teenagers are quite common. According to an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics, one child out of approximately 20 has a mental health problem. This might be an anxiety disorder, eating disorder, bipolar disease, depression, or schizophrenia.
Each mental health problem comes with its own specific set of symptoms. But in general, these signs could indicate mental health concerns in your teen:
- Loss of self-confidence. Teens who used to be confident and sure of themselves begin to show self-doubt. They may make disparaging comments about their skills, appearance, or talents.
- Sudden changes in academic performance. Mental disorders can keep teens from focusing on their studies. In addition, they may be too distracted to complete their homework. Dramatic, across-the-board grade changes could result.
- Lack of interest in activities the teen previously enjoyed. A teen who enjoyed football may refuse to attend practices, for example.
- Sleep changes. Most teens need extra sleep, but teens with mental illness may sleep for incredibly very long periods of time yet still seem tired. Conversely, some mental illnesses cause teens to have trouble sleeping, Thus, they may be awake for much of the night and seem tired throughout the day.
- Dramatic weight loss or gain. Teens often struggle with body image issues, and they may turn to anorexia or bulimia to ease their pain. Some other forms of mental illness may cause teens to overeat and stop exercising, leading to weight gains.
- Personality shifts. Teens with no history of aggression may suddenly become volatile.
When to Step In With Teens
In the past, many people considered these signs normal for adolescents. Parents felt they had no choice but to wait out the problems and allow teens to work through the symptoms. Now, more adults understand that they need to step in and help teens struggling with these sorts of mental problems. In fact, teens with these symptoms often need professional care.
Moreover, failing to take action can be dangerous. A study in the journal Addiction found that teens with depression were more likely to develop addictions to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. In addition to substance abuse, teens with mental health issues are at higher risk for suicide.
Teenagers and Mental Health Treatment
Medical professionals are more aware of the risks of untreated mental disorders in teenagers than they were in previous decades. They have learned to tailor mental health treatments to meet the needs of teens. This means that parents of teens with mental disorders have more treatment options available than ever before.
At Newport Academy, we know that a tailored approach to adolescent mental health works best. Furthermore, we offer a variety of treatment modalities. These are designed to assist teens with all sorts of mental health challenges.
Teen Mental Health Treatment Facilities – Types of Programs
Mental health problems in teens can be treated in a variety of settings. Some insurance programs will cover the costs of certain types of therapies. Other insurance plans will encourage families to choose a different type of therapy for their teen.
In addition, a child’s doctor or mental health professional can give professional input to provide on the sort of treatment needed.
Inpatient Residential Teen Treatment
Some organizations offer inpatient programs for mental health treatment. This means that a teenager lives in a treatment facility for a specified period of time. Clients receive help from a team of dedicated staff members who are always available.
There are subtle differences between inpatient programs. Some programs provide care in a hospital-like setting. A teen mental hospital provides targeted care aimed to help a teen move through a crisis and become well enough to receive care on an outpatient basis. These programs can be short term, providing care for a few days or weeks. Other mental health treatment facilities offer longer-term inpatient treatment in a residential setting, for up to 90 days or more.
Outpatient Treatment for Teenagers
Not all teens require a move to an inpatient facility. Some programs offer day hospitalization, in which a teen receives intensive care during the day but returns home at night. Either an acute teen mental hospital setting or a residential setting can provide this type of care.
Some teens require even less intensive care, and may thrive in a completely outpatient program. These teens might visit with a counselor multiple times per month, and attend additional sessions with family members on a periodic basis. Teens who transition out of an inpatient program or teen mental hospital often receive this sort of outpatient care.
Types of mental health illness that are treated at dual diagnosis treatment centers include the following:
Teenagers and Mental Health – Therapies Provided
Most treatment plans involve counseling, experiential therapies, and possibly medication. Combined therapy has proven effective in helping teens with mental disorders. According to a study published in the Archives of Adolescent Psychiatry, 96 percent of depressed teens improve after treatment.
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, can help clients learn more about their mental health. Also, such therapy can help teens develop coping skills for dealing with mental health concerns more effectively.
Patients often work on a one-on-one basis with a counselor. The therapist guides the adolescent through the healing process. Furthermore, clinicians help kids learn skills to self-regulate and live a happy, healthy life.
However, talk therapy doesn’t work for everyone. Experiential modalities provide a different therapeutic experience. These modalities often accentuate the positive. Equine-Assisted Therapy, Adventure Therapy, and meditation can each have a profound impact on adolescents. Research shows that combining immersive modalities with traditional modes of therapy is highly effective for teens.
While a teen is undergoing treatment, the family often participates. This is the approach at Newport Academy, as well as many other facilities. In these sessions, families learn
- More about the disease, and how the disease typically progresses
- Methods they can use to support the teen through the recovery process
- How to avoid blaming or punishing the teen for behaviors caused by mental illness
- Relapse signs and symptoms, and what to do if a relapse occurs.
In some mental health treatment facilities, the family meets in sessions with the therapist and teen. Consequently, they discuss issues as a group. In other treatment programs, the family members meet with the therapist alone.
There are other things that family members can do. According to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics, adults should create an open atmosphere. This lets kids feel they can tell the parents anything. Teens who know that they won’t be punished for their thoughts might be more likely to share them. Furthermore, parents might gain valuable information that can help them guide kids toward the right choices and behaviors. Some forms of mental disorders in teens persist for years. Thus, adults will need to have open lines of communication so they can assist if a relapse occurs or the teen needs help.
Teen Mental Health Treatment Facilities at Newport Academy
In addition, families should know that mental illness is treatable. Our teen mental health centers provide residential treatment, partial hospital programs, and outpatient services to help teens and families in crisis. We work closely with families to create sustainable healing. If you or someone you love is struggling, we’re here to help. We encourage you to contact us today.