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Parenting a troubled teen is a challenge no one would ever ask for. Surely, the typical teen presents plenty of challenges to his or her parents, that’s a given. But when a teen’s behavior becomes so disruptive that it impacts the entire family, the situation has become serious. It is easy to see why parents who finally reach a breaking point just throw up their hands in surrender and consider programs for troubled teens.

These worried parents no longer know how to help their teenage son or daughter. Whether the teen’s problems are new or long-term since childhood, the parents have hit a wall. This is when it makes sense to pivot to a residential program for troubled teens.

The residential treatment setting allows the clinical team to work with the teen on a daily basis. This allows teens to become more stable. Teens find the daily structure of a residential programs for troubled teens to be calming. This helps the teen predict the daily schedule of activities and this reduces stress. The teen residential setting offers the best chance for gaining long-term results. Over all, this level of care allows a teen to look forward to a promising future.

Signs of a Troubled Teen

In most cases, the signs of psychological distress do not just appear out of nowhere. There is often a background of mental health or conduct issues that predate the mental health disorder, although not always. Either way, here are some signs that point to a serious mental health issue:

  • Extreme mood swings.
  • Sudden changes in sleep routines.
  • Avoids social settings.
  • Detached behavior.
  • Anger issues, rages.
  • Signs of psychosis.
  • Sudden weight changes.
  • Self-harming acts.
  • Substance use disorder.
  • Sudden decline in schoolwork.
  • Prolonged low mood.
  • Excessive worry or fear.
  • Existing mental health condition worsens.
  • Suicide threats or attempts.

Symptoms of Conduct Disorders in Teens

Signs of conduct disorder may include:

  • Violent acts towards others.
  • Threatening harm to others, bullying.
  • Violates the rights of others.
  • Cruel acts toward animals.
  • Destruction of property.
  • Poor impulse control.
  • Deceitful behaviors.
  • Lack of compassion or remorse.
  • Socially challenged.
  • Chronic truancy.

Teens with conduct disorder may also have co-occurring ADHD, substance use disorder, or a mood disorder.

Symptoms of Mood Disorders in Teens

The most common mood disorders among teens include:

  • Anxiety. The NIMH reports that about 32% of teenagers have an anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety. Teens may struggle with social anxiety, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder. Some symptoms of anxiety include:
    • Irrational fear or worry
    • Trembling
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fear or dread of being judged by others
    • Blushes easily
    • Social withdrawal, isolates
    • Sensitive to being judged
    • Very self-conscious, self-critical
    • Acts of self harming
    • Trouble with relationships
  • Depression. About 20.1% of teens suffer from depression, says the NIMH. Symptoms include:
    • Feelings of sadness or despair
    • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
    • Highly irritable
    • Sleep problems
    • Fatigue
    • Decline in schoolwork
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Slowed movements and thinking
    • Loss of interest in activities
    • Feelings of guilt or shame
    • Easily upset, quick to anger
    • Mood swings
    • Headaches or stomach distress
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Self-harm
    • Talk of death or suicide
  • Bipolar Disorder. The NIMH reports about 2.9% of teens have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a complex mood disorder that features mood episodes that shift between mania and depression.
    • Depressive episodes: low energy, changes in sleep habits, feeling hopeless, loss of interest, sudden weight change, thoughts of suicide.
    • Manic episodes: bursts of energy, rapid speech, euphoria, insomnia, loss of appetite, feeling irritable, engaging in high-risk behaviors.

What Causes a Teen to Become Troubled?

There are a number of reasons why a teen becomes troubled. Some of the risk factors thought to be causes of a teen mental health disorder include:

  • Genetics. A family history of mood disorders or unstable mental health
  • Environmental. The sudden loss of a parent or loved one, parents getting divorced, and changing schools
  • Trauma. A history of physical or sexual abuse or neglect
  • Biological. Personality traits, temperament, lack of impulse control, difficulty managing stress, a learning disability, unformed coping skills
  • Mental illness. Presence of an undiagnosed mental health disorder, such as a mood disorder

What Are Psychiatric Programs for Troubled Teens?

A residential teen mental health setting can provide access to a diverse team of professionals. These providers will approach treatment in a tailored and highly focused manner. Teens also receive academic support during their stay. The teen treatment plan will include the following:

  • Therapy. Teens will work one-on-one with a licensed therapist who uses CBT. Other therapies that can help troubled teens include solutions focused therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. The goal is to help teens learn new coping strategies and emotion regulation skills.
  • Small groups. Group therapy gives teens a chance to gain peer support as they share their own stories under the guidance of a therapist.
  • Family therapy. Family-focused therapy and communication skill building exercises help improve the family dynamic.
  • Detox and dual diagnosis. Some teens also have a substance use disorder in addition to the mental health disorder. When this is the case they will also need detox and addiction treatment.
  • Medication. Medications may be helpful for some teens that suffer with serious mental health problems.
  • Experiential activities. Teens are open to activities that involve being outdoors, such as surf therapy, hiking, or yoga classes.

Getting a troubled teen the help they need early on can help them change course before mental health issues get worse. Teens will have a better chance to improve their future prospects when receiving such targeted psychiatric intervention care.

BNI Treatment Helps Adolescents with Mental Health Disorders

BNI Treatment Centers is a leading residential mental health provider for teens, providing intensive treatment of troubled teens. At BNI Treatment a unique treatment plan will be designed for your teen’s specific mental health needs. For more information about our program, please call today at (888) 522-1504.

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