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Helping Teens Find a Healthier Path

If you have a teen that is suffering from substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or any other mental health condition, you are probably feeling a whole mixture of emotions, including despair.  It is not uncommon for teens to go through periods of time where they struggle to find their path and identity in this fast paced world we live in. And there are points where they might make wrong turns and find themselves in a tough spot where they need help from a teen treatment program to get back on track. The good news is there are very high quality treatment programs for teens across the country that specialize in various conditions.


In recent years there has been attention directed to the rise in rates of anxiety and depression among teens and young adults. Mental health professionals recognize that more teens are struggling with issues that exceed the usual turbulent teenage experience. Suicide rates have jumped 56% between 2007 and 2017, a troubling statistic. Other recent statistics include:

  • According to statistics provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 33% of teens will experience an anxiety disorder
  • The NIH reported that 3.2 million teens suffer a depressive disorder annually
  • The National Institute of Mental Health states that 3.8% of adolescent girls will have an eating disorder
  • The American Public Health Association reports that about 25% of teen girls and 10% of teen boys engaged in self-harm

Parents, physicians, and educators are grappling with ever-increasing mental health issues among the teenage population. Factors that may be contributing include social media, bullying, academic stress, undeveloped coping skills, or interpersonal difficulties.


Although each of the specific types of mental distress in teens will have its own unique features, there are some general signs of emotional distress that can signal that a teen is experiencing a mental disorder. These signs might include:

  • Intense irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Exhibits excessive worrying or seems anxious
  • Has low energy
  • Self harms
  • Engages in high risk behaviors
  • Has sleep disturbances
  • Withdraws from friends and family
  • Obsessive about weight, body image
  • Substance abuse
  • Loses interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed
  • Displays manic behavior, racing thoughts, constant motion, excessive talking
  • Hears voices, sees things not there
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Suicidal ideation

When a teen is exhibiting these warning signs of emotional distress it is important to have him or her evaluated by a physician.


Teen treatment programs are prepared to manage a wide spectrum of substance use, mental health, or dual diagnosis disorders. The most common mental health disorders in teens include:

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders feature excessive worry and stress around some aspect of thought/behavior patterns. Generally, the condition arises in response to feeling somehow threatened or out of control. Anxiety disorders in teens might involve:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Trauma disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder


Depression is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that last more than two weeks, including persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, sleep problems, change in eating habits, slowed psychomotor skills, feelings of guilt or shame, and suicidal thoughts.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD features an inability to remain on task, excessive activity or motion, not completing assignments, forgetfulness, poor listening skills, difficulty paying attention

Eating disorders

Eating disorders, including bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder, feature unhealthy relationships with food or eating habits, weight gain or loss, body dysmorphia, using food to fulfill emotional void or to soothe emotional pain, or to attain a sense of control over their life.

Substance abuse

Substance use disorder can arise in response to a co-occurring mental health condition. A teen may begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol to use the substance as a method of self-medicating the uncomfortable symptoms of the mental health condition. However, in many cases the substance use disorder precedes the mental health disorder and may be a factor in the development of the mental health disorder.

Self-harming behaviors

Teens may engage in self-injury or self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning, skin picking, pulling hair out, or head banging. Teens may engage in self-harm as a way of releasing anxiety, as a method of gaining a sense of control, or in response to depression.


Teens who exhibit a sudden crisis, such as a psychiatric breakdown, suicide risk, posing a risk to others, or a substance-related crisis like an overdose will require immediate intervention. Acute stabilization services involve both medical and psychiatric interventions on a short-term basis until the condition is stabilized. Once stabilization has been achieved, the teen can transition to a residential mental health program designed for teens.

A psychiatric emergency might involve a loss of connection with reality, with such symptoms as paranoia, auditory or visual hallucinations, or delusional thinking. To reduce the risk of self-harm or violence towards others, the teen will be mildly sedated to induce relaxation. In some cases the teen will be evaluated for suicide risk.

A substance-related emergency involves alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. Immediate medical intervention involves various methods to remove as much of the substance from the body as possible before it is metabolized. Gastric lavage (washing), activated charcoal, and intravenous fluids can help reduce the level of toxins in the body.


Teen Treatment Programs offer comprehensive programming including initial in-depth psychological testing and clinical assessments to review any underlying mental health symptoms or conditions. The teen will be assigned a full treatment team including a psychiatrist, therapist, academic counselors, and support staff. A customized treatment plan will be devised to address the teen’s particular mental health issues and accompanying features, ensuring that the teen is receiving the more intensive, targeted treatment.

The treatment programming includes individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, on-site academics, experiential therapies (examples: hiking, meditation, cooking, gardening, equine), and exercise. There will be a 24-hour staff that will be there to monitor and support the teen the whole way through their treatment program.

A deeper look at the treatment elements included in teen residential treatment:

  • Medical detox. For teens with a substance use disorder or a dual diagnosis, there may be a need to first complete a medically supervised detox and withdrawal. Trained detox professionals work in tandem with a doctor to ensure a safe detox process. Medical and psychological interventions are provided to help reduce discomfort and stress during the inpatient detox near me and withdrawal phase of treatment.
  • Individual psychotherapy. Various evidence-based therapies are used to treat a teen mental health condition. These include such therapies as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and solutions-focused therapy.
  • Peer-group therapy. Group therapy allows teens to share their own personal experiences and challenges with other teens. A therapist will guide the conversation and topics, while helping teens engage with each other with effective communication skills.
  • Family-focused therapy. The family is the central social body in the teen’s world, which is why family therapy is an intrinsic aspect of residential teen treatment. Dysfunctional family dynamics are identified, such as enabling or co-dependency, and new conflict resolution skills and communication skills are taught.
  • Experiential therapies. A teen treatment program will include certain experiential activities that enhance the overall clinical outcomes. These activities help teens open up and express themselves through doing rather than relying only on talk therapy. Activities include holistic therapies, such as meditation, yoga, and art therapy, as well as recreational activities like surf therapy or equine therapy.

On-site academic support. While the teen is in treatment an on-site academic tutors will assist teens in their studies and act as a liaison with the school administrators.


Insurance is accepted at most treatment programs, which can greatly reduce the out of pocket costs for treatment.  When you contact the treatment center at 877-408-0734, you will receive a free insurance check, which will show your available benefits and coverage.


You’re not alone, many families and parents have struggled with their teens for various reasons and situations. Contact the teen treatment center to learn more about the teen program options. Call toll free at 877-408-0734.

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