When Should Parents Consider a Psychologist for their Troubled Teen?

Therapy with a psychologist is one of the perfect alternatives before considering troubled teen residential programs or other therapeutic programs. But before even broaching the subject to your teen, it’s pertinent to determine some indicative signs that they do in fact require professional psychological help.

So, one of the first questions to ask is what are the signs? There are many and here are a few to know and understand:

1. Depression

There is no one warning of troubled teen behavior. However, depression is certainly one of them. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs or symptoms may include crying spells; anger or frustration over small matters; low self-confidence, and other behavioral issues. This may include loss of interest in activities, lack of socializing, or extreme sensitivity to failure.

Determining the difference between teen depression and normal teen behavior can be difficult. That’s why it’s also important to communicate with your teen and recognize if they can “manage challenging feelings or if life seems too overwhelming for them.” The Mayo Clinic also reports that if they demonstrate more extreme signs like self-harming behavior or suicide, don’t wait for help. Contact a suicide hotline or medical/counselling professional immediately.

2. Your Teen is Always in Trouble

Deception, lying, extreme defiance, stealing, trouble with the law, to name a few actions, are all strong indicators of troubled teen behavior. These are sure signs that professional intervention is required as there may be issues with mental illness, destructive behavior, and/or substance abuse. In fact, according to Aspiro Adventure, a wilderness troubled teen therapeutic program, this type of consistent behavior “can go beyond the scope of typical teenage problems.”

3. Signs of Anxiety

Anxiety is rising among teens. It’s common for them to worry about school grades, social acceptance, even family conflicts and issues at home, and the National Institutes of Health reports that one in three adolescents aged 13 to 18 experience some sort of anxiety disorder.  

Although CRChealth.com states there are many types of disorders – including General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or Teen Panic Disorder, fortunately, there are also various forms of treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy by a psychologist. Most importantly, however, be sure to watch for signs to include trouble concentrating, abnormal diet or sleep patterns, even depression and hopelessness.


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