Mental Health Teens Treatment
When a teen is struggling with a mental health condition it can profoundly impact all aspects of their lives. This can be evident in a decline in academic performance, persistent difficulties with social relationships, stress within the family dynamic, and negative changes in various behaviors and habits. Getting professional treatment for an adolescent experiencing mood disorders or psychiatric distress is imperative in order to restore healthy functioning.
Warning Signs of Teen Mental Health Disorders
The tumultuous teen years can sometimes make it difficult to determine if the changes in behavior are due to normal age-related hormonal fluctuations and psychosocial development or not. If the teen’s struggles and symptoms last for more than a few weeks it may be a sign of a mental health condition. Some of the warning signs may include:
- Exhibits symptoms of anxiety, including excessive worrying
- Increased irritability
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or night terrors
- Constantly moving, agitated
- Declining grades at school
- Frequent unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches
- Withdraws socially
- Engages in self-harming practices, such as cutting
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Engages in risky behavior
- Has erratic bursts of energy and hyperactivity
- Becomes physically violent
- Engages in substance abuse
- Frequent low mood, symptoms of depression
- Suicidal ideation
- Experiences hallucinations or delusions
Mental Health Treatment for Teens
To effectively treat a teen who is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder there must first be a thorough physical and psychiatric evaluation conducted. The physical exam will rule out a possible health condition that might be contributing to the symptoms. The psychiatric evaluation will encompass a comprehensive list of factors, as well as consider any history of mental health conditions and treatment received.
Based on the results of the intake interview and health assessments a treatment plan will be designed to align with the needs of the teen at their particular stage of emotional development. For adolescents, the earlier the therapeutic interventions are provided, the better the treatment outcome. While each teen’s diagnosis and treatment needs will differ, there are general treatment elements to expect in residential mental health programs:
- Individual psychotherapy. Depending on the diagnosis, psychotherapy will encompass an appropriate therapy modality, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, or others.
- Group therapy. Group therapy sessions can be a highly effective setting for fostering group dynamic. In group therapy patients are led in the discussion and exchanges by a therapist who will guide the interactions and promote social skills.
- Family therapy. Because the family is such an intrinsic component of the teen’s world, family therapy can be beneficial for not only the teen, but the entire family. Disordered family dynamics can be identified, healthy communication skills can be taught, and trust can be restored through family group therapy.
- Adjunct therapies. Teen mental health programs usually include therapies that augment and enhance the progress made in psychotherapy. These adjunct therapies might include yoga, equine therapy, art and music therapy, surf therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, and mindfulness training.
- In many cases, psychotropic medications will be prescribed in combination with the psychotherapy, depending on the diagnosis and severity of the mental health disorder.
Residential treatment allows the time and space for real change to occur within a safe and supportive treatment environment.
BNI Treatment Centers is a physician owned and operated treatment program serving teens ages 12-17 needing therapeutic intervention for a mental health disorder, substance use disorder, or a dual diagnosis conditions. BNI specializes in mental health interventions and treatment, including acute stabilization and residential treatment programs.