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Adolescent Mental Health Program: How it can Help, Disorders Treated, Benefits

Victory Bay

Adolescence is a critical time for the development of independent adulthood. It’s a period where attention to mental, emotional, and social needs becomes amplified as teens undergo significant changes and experience a desire to foster their own identities. It also sets the stage for behavioral patterns that may persist into adulthood if not addressed and treated in real-time.  

In 2019, Unicef data estimated that one in seven adolescents experience mental health disorders; add to this the stress of the recent global pandemic, and it becomes clear that mental health support for adolescents is needed to process through the most formative years of their lives. 

Why is Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents so Important? 

First and foremost, the rapid changes to hormones, environment, social functioning and brain formation makes even the most well-adjusted adolescent experience their relationship with mental health in new ways. For the first time in their lives, adolescents may be considering what coping skills are needed to deal with the pressures of school, family and extracurriculars.  

Additionally, adolescence is the primary time where the effects of bullying, early childhood trauma, pre-existing mental health conditions, and family struggles will start to boil to the surface and be channeled through behavioral concerns.  

Teenagers are indeed resilient, but the same can be said of adults. We will always find resilience in the face of struggles. This shouldn’t disqualify the myriad of pressures that exist for adolescents. Instead, the unique challenges that each teenager experiences should be seen through the lens of how to cope effectively. Teaching these skills in real-time lays the foundation for independent use of healthy coping in adulthood. 

More than that, mental health treatment for adolescents will also provide teens with a deeper understanding of how to grasp their emotional range, utilize community and self-affirm. Even if an adolescent doesn’t meet the criteria for intensive treatment, opening a window toward honest discussion within the household, or with a therapist, will build confidence and autonomy. 

Common Mental Health Disorders in Teens 

There’s multiple factors that may cause the emergence of a mental health disorder in teenagers and adolescents. They may find themselves with low self-esteem in their peer group, or with high anxiety surrounding school performance. Additionally, adolescents may also struggle with their perception in the eyes of the adults that surround them, such as parents and teachers. There is a high risk of feeling as if they aren’t seen as equal, even as they struggle to form their own identities.  

Many things contribute to mental health conditions developing in adolescence. Below are some common disorders that teens may experience.  

Eating Disorders: Eating disorders most often begin to present in adolescence. Typically affecting female identifying teens, eating disorders often represent a need to control areas of a teen’s life that feel out of control. They are also highly prevalent with co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety of depression. Additionally, the rapid body changes of adolescents can cause a hyper-fixation on body image and elevate low self-esteem.  

Substance Misuse: Patterns of substance misuse can also start to surface during adolescent years, as teens begin to experiment with substances and lack the education on using responsibility. Those with genetic predisposition to addiction, or another underlying mental health disorder, may lean towards substance use as a means to cope with painful emotions.  

Depression & Anxiety: Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are common in teens. This can present as a loss of interest in favorite activities, low motivation and feelings of sadness. Anxiety may present as panic attacks, racing thoughts, or hyper fixation on school and rules, eventually causing behavioral concerns.  

Conduct Disorders: These disorders reflect antisocial behaviors that typically emerge in childhood and adolescence. This can look like physical aggression, lying or manipulation, and other delinquent behaviors such as skipping school or running away from home.

Benefits of Treatment Programs for Teens 

Teens can connect with other adolescents who experience similar feelings in services such as group therapy. These group sessions offer a space to process with an professional therapist, learn coping skills and discover the power of having a support system.  

Individual therapy allows adolescents to build autonomy and have a safe space to engage in conversation with a trusted therapist. Additionally, family therapy services can help to heal communication and tension within the entire family dynamic.  

If you or a loved one has started to observe the above behaviors in the adolescents in your life, there are resources available to you to get support and begin the healing journey. Whether your child enters into an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a residential facility, or just outpatient counseling, there are benefits that span far and wide.  

Overall, if you see a teen struggling – don’t panic. There are families and teens that have been in your shoes before, and help is available if you are open to support. 

If your adolescent is struggling, take that first step towards getting them help today. Our team at Victory Bay will provide your adolescent with the care they need to heal. With our compassionate approach, evidence-based treatments, and experienced staff, we are committed to providing the best experience possible for your adolescent to recover from their struggles. Call 855.738.6530 to begin today.

Published on 5/10/2023 | Written by Victory Bay

Recovery with Victory Bay

At Victory Bay we’re here to help you achieve a new life with a new start in recovery. To learn more about the variety of treatment programs we offer, including mental health, eating disorders, and substance use, contact us today by calling 855.239.5099.