Teenagers face social pressures, physical changes and emotional challenges every day which can cause them to become moody, secretive, less confident, lethargic or even contribute towards personality changes. Although for a long time these issues were regarded as just part of growing up, we now know that they can also be symptoms of more serious mental health issues. For many teenagers, these symptoms are temporary and will pass in time, but in some cases, this could indicate a mental health problem which may worsen without medical attention. Modern parents understand that some teenage mental health issues need additional support, and, in some instances, this may include medical treatment. (Image Credit: Almos Bechtold/ Unsplash)
Why Find Treatment for Your Teenager
Failing to intervene and find appropriate treatment for a teenager can have serious consequences; they may become withdrawn and isolated, turn to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol to cope, may begin to self-harm or even attempt suicide. Most mental health conditions can be treated effectively, but the intervention needs to be made as early as possible. Medical and mental health professionals have developed tailored treatments to meet the needs of teenagers with mental health issues.
Here is a brief introduction to treatment programs which you could consider for your teenager.
Types of Teen Mental Health Treatment Programs
Mental health treatment centers can offer programs for teenagers suffering from depression, personality disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, ADD/ADHD or schizophrenia as well as many other conditions. Some centers will offer a range of treatment programs, but the best will be able to recommend the best approach for each individual person.
Inpatient Treatment Programs for Teenagers
Many organizations offer inpatient or residential treatment programs for teens which means that the teenager lives in the facility for a set period. There they benefit from 24/7 care from medical professionals. Some centers are like hospitals which are designed for patients at a crisis level before they transition to an outpatient program, while others are for longer-term programs for 60 or 90 days or more.
Outpatient Treatment Programs for Teenagers
Some teenagers don’t need a residential or inpatient treatment program but instead can attend a facility during the day for treatment and then return home at night.
There are also less intensive treatment options which require the patient to visit a counselor regularly for therapy. This treatment is also used to help an inpatient through a transition to living at home again.
Mental health treatment plans involve counseling, experiential therapies and possibly mental health medication. The most effective treatment programs often combine several types of treatment depending on the patient’s needs.
Counseling or Talking Therapy
Patients will see a counselor where they will discuss their mental health issues. The counselor will help them to understand their condition and provide them with coping mechanisms so they can function in a more balanced life.
Experiential therapy involves using props, tools, and activities, such as role-playing or acting, arts and crafts, prayer, music, animal care or other forms of recreation to re-enact and re-experience situations from past and recent relationships.
It’s often recommended that the family of the patient also takes part in the treatment to an extent through family therapy. The family may attend some sessions with the counselor alongside the patient or may participate in separate sessions to help them to understand the patient’s condition, how they can aid in their recovery, how to recognize signs of relapse and prevent it and the importance of not blaming the teenager for behaviors caused by mental illness.