Behavioral Health Treatment Services
for Adolescents & Teens
for Adolescents & Teens
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, approximately 20 percent of individuals in adolescence have some type of mental health disorder. A mental health disorder could include eating disorders, drug use, depression, and suicide attempts. Opioid addiction, in particular, has reached epidemic levels in recent years. This troubling trend has affected teens as well, with opioid overdoses and death on the rise among teenagers. It’s important to understand the different types of mental conditions teens may suffer from, signs of addiction, why mental health is so important, and what you can do if your teen is struggling with mental health issues.
Why Teens Turn to Drugs, Sex, Eating Disorders & Suicide
It may be difficult to understand why so many young people would turn to drugs, sex, dangerous eating disorders, and ultimately, suicide. There are several pressures that teens today are facing, many that those in previous generations didn’t have to deal with. For starters, social media has placed intense pressure on teenagers. Adding to the problem is that many parents don’t understand how to help their children through the minefield of navigating adolescence while living so much of their lives on social media. Psychology Today reports that digital technology is having a great impact on the emotional and social lives of young people.
Besides social media, many of the problems teens are facing are the same that previous generations have also struggled with. Peer pressure among teens has always been extremely intense. When a teen’s friends are engaging in activities such as doing drugs or skipping school it can be extremely difficult to not go along. It’s even more difficult when those who are deemed popular or more successful are doing these things. Teenagers often feel enormous pressure to do drugs, have sex, and engage in risky eating behaviors to be accepted by others. When they’re not accepted by their peers or have been excessively bullied, some teens may even feel that suicide is the only way out.
The Signs of Addiction: Is My Teen Abusing Drugs?
Many teens will experiment with alcohol and drugs without becoming addicted. Some adolescents may be more susceptible to teen addiction due to genetics, traumatic events, or stressful situations they’re currently dealing with in their lives. Some substances, such as heroin, are extremely addictive and a teen may be hooked after just one or two uses. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence lists several signs of adolescent drug abuse that parents should be aware of.
- Physical Signs of Drug Addiction: Glazed expression, bloodshot eyes, incoherent speech, excessive shaking, and sudden weight gain or loss are physical signs of drug use. Other symptoms include unusual smells on the body or breath, and unexplained bruises and marks on the skin.
- Medical Signs of Drug Addiction: Suddenly having seizures without an underlying medical history, frequent nosebleeds, and increased illnesses or infections are medical issues that could indicate drug use.
- Social Signs of Drug Addiction: Skipping school, loss of interest in extracurricular activities, and complaints from teachers are social and behavioral signs of drug use. Sometimes missing money and valuables in the home, a teen wanting more privacy, and changes in friends and social activities are also clues. Legal problems can also result from drug use.
- Psychological Signs of Drug Addiction: Sudden changes in attitude or personality, lack of motivation, angry outbursts, and seeming fearful, anxious, or paranoid for no reason are psychological signs.
There are several ways that drug abuse can affect teenagers. Since the pleasure centers of the teenage brain develop more quickly than the parts of the brain that determine risk factors and decision making, teens can be more susceptible to addiction. During the teen years an individual is still developing physically and mentally. Drug use has the potential to cause more harm during this time. In the teenage brain drug abuse can cause problems with memory, damage connections that are developing in the brain, decrease learning potential, and damage the development of perception. In severe cases serious health complications can occur, such as heart or brain damage. The potential for long-term damage makes it critically important to get an adolescent into teen drug rehab as soon as an addiction is recognized.
Eating Disorders & Teens: What to Look For
Eating disorders not only affect a teen’s physical health, but emotional and psychological well-being as well. While certain genetic factors may contribute to eating disorders, societal pressure and participation in activities that value being thin are often reasons for struggles with food. Sometimes personality traits such as perfectionism and anxiety can play a role as well. Healthline discusses several specific types of eating disorders that teenagers can suffer from.
- Anorexia Nervosa – Those with this condition usually suffer from extremely low body weight. To lose weight they may severely restrict food, purge after eating, exercise excessively, or use a combination of methods. Anorexia affects more females than males and usually develops during adolescence.
- Bulimia Nervosa – Those suffering from bulimia often eat large amounts of food in a short time period. This is sometimes called binge eating. Overeating is then followed by some sort of purging that may include vomiting, excessive exercise, the use of laxatives, or fasting.
- Binge Eating Disorder – Individuals suffering from this condition can’t control the amount of food they eat. They often consume large amounts of food in a short time, such as an hour or two. A person will often eat rapidly and until they are extremely uncomfortable. While many people will overeat occasionally, not having control on a regular basis is a primary sign of binge eating.
- Rumination Disorder – This involves a person bringing up partially digested food and rechewing the food. Sometimes the food is spit out but often it is swallowed again. Symptoms often include weight loss, tooth decay, bad breath, stomachaches, and chapped lips.
- Pica – Individuals with this condition will crave non-food items such as dirt, stone, chalk, or hair. Sometimes an iron or zinc deficiency causes this condition. This disorder can be life threatening, depending on the substances that are being ingested.
There are several signs that a teen is struggling with an eating disorder. Anytime there is excessive weight gain or loss, especially in a short amount of time, or a teen is exhibiting extreme preoccupation with food and weight, these could be symptoms of an eating disorder. Wanting to eat alone or using the bathroom immediately following a meal are also signs that a teen is struggling with an eating disorder. The use of dietary supplements or laxatives may also signal an eating condition.
When seeking treatment for eating disorders it’s important to find a program that has the needed experience and expertise in treating teenage eating disorders. Adolescent Growth provides a comprehensive program that evaluates, addresses, and then meets the needs of each individual teenager. They provide around the clock professional care by a team of trained professionals that have the experience and expertise to treat a variety of eating disorders. They have the unique experience of treating eating disorders in both males and females.
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Why Your Teen’s Mental & Behavioral Health is Important
There are many different mental health conditions that can affect teenagers and their quality of life. The following are several types of mental illnesses and symptoms that often accompany these conditions.
- ADHD – Attention-Deficit Hyper-Activity disorder is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders affecting teenagers and children. Symptoms include inability to focus, difficulty following instructions, easily distracted, problems staying organized, and often the loss of personal items. This disorder occurs more often in boys and is normally diagnosed during childhood. It can occur, however, in people of all ages.
- Anxiety Disorders – Generalized anxiety involves excessively worrying or feeling tense when there isn’t a valid reason. Depression symptoms in teens can include extreme sadness, difficulty concentrating, irresponsible behavior, and a preoccupation with death. It should be noted that the majority of individuals with diagnosable depression and anxiety are not getting the treatment they need.
- Bipolar Condition – An individual diagnosed with bipolar condition would experience extreme fluctuations in mood. This would include an individual being hyper or manic for days, weeks, or months at a time and then experiencing severe depression. These swings in mood can occur rarely or several times in one year.
- OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by reoccurring thoughts, which is the obsessive aspect of the condition. These thought then drive the person to repetitively do something, which is the compulsive part. These unwanted thoughts, followed by compulsive routines often disrupt the person’s life. Examples of OCD include excessively washing hands or repeatedly checking things before leaving the house. It can also include repeating mental thought patterns or going over the same thoughts in an attempt to reduce anxiety.
- PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder occurs when a person has difficulty recovering after witnessing or experiencing an extremely frightening event. The person will often have flashbacks or nightmares of the event. Events could include a sexual assault, the sudden death of a family member, or being involved in a serious accident. It’s estimated that PTSD will occur in 1 of 3 individuals that experience a traumatic event.
- Panic Disorder – Panic disorder is characterized by debilitating fear and extreme anxiety that occurs without a reasonable cause. Symptoms can include a fast heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and sweating. Sometimes individuals experiencing a panic attack may feel like they are going to die. Panic disorder is more prevalent in females and normally starts when people are young adults.
- Phobias – There are literally dozens of phobias that an individual may suffer from. Phobias are defined as excessive and irrational fears that affects a person’s daily life. In teenagers social phobias are often the type this age group suffers from the most. Symptoms of social phobias include fear of eating or drinking in front of others or a general fear of being in different types of social settings. Other phobias include mysophobia – the fear of germs, claustrophobia – the fear of small places, and acrophobia – the fear of heights.
Since up to 80 percent of young people in the juvenile system have some type of mental disorder it’s extremely important for teachers and parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health problem. Getting a teen the help he or she needs may prevent further problems from occurring. Addressing mental health for teens is extremely important while they are still growing and developing.
Get the Best Care in Southern California for Your Teen at Adolescent Growth
When your teen needs professional care it’s important to find a treatment facility that provides experienced staff members with the expertise to treat teenage disorders. Adolescent Growth in Southern California provides teen drug rehab as well as treatment for a variety of mental health conditions your teen may be suffering from. They feature safe, effective programs for substance abuse, eating disorders, mental health conditions, and those struggling with a dual diagnosis. Mental health for teens. eating disorders, and adolescent drug abuse are serious issues that need to be addressed quickly whenever there are problems.
Adolescent Growth provides residential treatment so teenagers can receive 24-hour supervision, care, and treatment. They receive comfort and support from a qualified treatment team that will develop an individualized program for each teen. Adolescent Growth treatment programs include extensive family support. Families can receive therapy with their child once or twice each week. Since 2005 they have been Joint Commission accredited. They can help you treat teen addiction, drug abuse, eating disorders, and mental disorders. When you’re ready to break the cycle of addiction and seek treatment for mental health contact Adolescent Growth.