A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Mental Health Treatment

Paradigm Malibu’s teen mental health treatments are based on a holistic approach and implements a combination of the best traditional and experimental approaches in therapy, in both individual and group settings. Before being admitted to Paradigm, every teen undergoes a thorough psychiatric evaluation, which our team of therapists and other mental health care professionals use, when designing the teen’s individual treatment plan.

Each mental health treatment plan is carefully constructed, with a primary goal of providing individualized treatment, according to each teen’s specific condition, symptoms, experiences, and interests. Along these lines, it’s worth noting that at Paradigm, we approach therapy according to teens’ strengths and other positive attributes, as opposed to their mental disorders and symptoms. This is one way in which we provide therapy that is thorough and precise to the individual, in striving to help teens toward a real and long-lasting recovery.

We feel uniquely qualified to provide such individualized care, because of the vast number of types of therapy we’re able to offer, provided by our team of therapists and specialists, dedicated to the well-being of adolescents.

How Common Are Mental Health Issues in Teens?

Mental health issues are particularly common in teens, as many teens are confronted with sudden changes in their lives, and some struggle to cope with the transition from childhood to adulthood, and all the expectations and responsibilities that follow. While growing up has always been hard, statistics show that mental health problems are on a rise for several potential reasons.

The world is changing quickly, and it’s getting harder and harder to adapt to it as it continues to develop. Faced with an uncertain future, constant input, growing environmental concerns and more, today’s generation of teens have many hardships to look forward to.

Yet despite this, the biggest factor for why mental health disorders continue to rise is a better understanding and awareness of what mental disorders are. Given the long history of human medicine, it’s only quite recently that we’ve begun to effectively diagnose and combat mental health problems. All things considered, despite the grim prognosis, teens today have a better chance at getting the help they need for their problems than ever before.

The numbers from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) show that roughly 21 percent of teens aged 13-18 will experience a ‘severe mental disorder’ at some point in their lives, with conditions ranging from mood disorders to anxiety disorders, psychosis, behavioral disorders, addiction, and more.

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While those numbers seem frightening, the greater issue lies in how little is being done to address the issue – despite millions of teens struggling with a mental health disorder, only about half of those aged 8-15 received the help they needed for their condition. Minorities seek help less often, with African Americans and Hispanic Americans using mental health services at half the rate of Caucasian Americans, and Asian-Americans using mental health services at one-third the rate of Caucasian Americans.

Problems in our system also highlight how teens with mental health problems are often placed in difficult and aggravating situations, as more than a third of teens with mental health issues drop out of school, and up to 70 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition. More can be done to help teens dealing with mental health issues, and for many, the first step must involve family.

4 Signs That Your Teenager Smokes Pot - Paradigm Malibu

Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are a very broad category of illnesses and disorders, and while warning signs are a helpful way to tell when you should pay more attention to your teen’s behavior, it’s important to note that a warning sign should never be considered a clear indication of a mental health disorder. If your teen is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, get them a referral with a mental health specialist and speak to your family doctor/psychiatrist/pediatrician.

  • Extreme risk-taking behavior.
  • Self-harm, talking about self-harm/suicide, suicide attempts.
  • Sudden and excessive weight loss, not eating at all, use of laxatives.
  • Sudden weight gain, constant snacking, overeating.
  • Severe mood swings, uncontrolled irritability, acting out violently.
  • Sudden moments of hyperventilation, discomfort, and panic.
  • Constant vocal worries about the same irrational fears, avoiding others or avoiding specific situations in a pattern.
  • Socially withdrawn with no contact to others, prolonged sadness (for more than 2 weeks), always tired.
  • Severe insomnia.
  • Constant procrastination, unable to finish conversations, losing track of thoughts, stopping midway through sentences.
  • Drug use.

1/5

teens will have a serious mental disorder

50%

of all lifetime cases of mental disorder start around age 14

90%

of teens who committed suicide had a mental disorder

How Can I Help My Teen with Mental Health Issues?

Talk to your teen about getting professional help – mental health treatment can make a serious difference in a teen’s life, especially when followed up with consistent support from home. However, both the family and the teen have to take the crucial step of getting that help in the first place. Some worry about the consequences of acknowledging the existence of mental health disorders in the family, while others are scared that, if even professional help won’t work, that there is no chance for things to get better.

Despite these fears, it’s important to understand that for many teens, the help of a mental health professional is the only way to avoid worse symptoms. Yes, treatment can take time, and it’s frustrating when specific therapies fail. But every teen struggling with a mental disorder deserves the chance to live a fulfilling life despite their disorder.

Learn more about mental health problems together – teens and parents alike are scared by mental health issues, because they are scary. These illnesses are invisible and can often make living a ‘normal life’ very difficult. A teen struggling with anxiety or depression will have a harder time dealing with the same amount of stress as their peers.

However, life is still completely worth living, regardless of your diagnosis. With modern mental health treatments, any teen today can live a fulfilling and rewarding life despite their diagnoses, especially with the support of family and friends. As scary as it might seem at first, the more you and your teen will learn about their diagnosis, the more you’ll realize that your teen can still lead a healthy and happy existence. It may take some time getting used to some of the changes that will be necessary moving forward, but once all proper adjustments have been made, life won’t seem that much different.

Just like everyone else, individuals with mental health issues get up in the morning, have their share of responsibilities and tasks, strive to fulfill personal goals and sustain meaningful long-term relationships, and do their best to enjoy a full night’s rest.

Communicate with your teen’s healthcare provider – therapists and doctors work hard to help their patients, but treatments and therapy can only do so much to help a teen if they’re continuing to run into walls at home. Parents often are not aware of how their actions and home environment is affecting their teens and can often do much to change things in a positive way.

Speak to your teen’s mental healthcare provider to understand how you can better support your teen at home. Improving the family diet, striving to get into fights less, promoting healthier and kinder communication together, enforcing curfews, and spending more time talking together rather than living apart can help improve a teen’s condition, for example, by including them more often in family interactions, giving them time to speak and vent, and more. Parents are any teen’s most important therapists.

This is a top-notch organization with extremely talented therapists, clean and safe
facilities and a staff that genuinely cares about its patients. Our teenaged son was quite honestly a lost cause - or so we thought. He had a dual-diagnosis and was suffering from depression, bi polar disorder and was self medicating with marijuana and pain pills. Now, as a direct result of the people at Paradigm, he is doing so very well. He is clean and sober and is an active participant in his life!
- Brian T.

Paradigm Teen Mental Health Treatment

Every teen’s treatment looks different at Paradigm Malibu, which is something we pride ourselves in.  However, there are some fundamental aspects of teen mental health treatment we provide that are consistent, among all teens that are here, addressing their specific mental illness.

During treatment, every teen will receive one-on-one therapy, every day they’re here. In addition to these sessions, they will also take part in group therapy sessions, family sessions, and several other types of therapy, depending on what they’re interested in. Some of these special therapy approaches might include things like:

  • Dance Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Writing Therapy
  • Equine Therapy

Within therapy sessions, our therapists strive to help teens address what they’re experiencing, such as symptoms, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, as well as the underlying habits and beliefs that may exist, beneath the surface. Our therapists work to help teens to address, evaluate, and in some cases, learn to accept and cope with a mental illness. Then, our therapists teach teens to become self-aware, learn their habits and triggers, re-establish healthy belief systems, and recognize how their illness affects others close to them. This is only possible when teens work on things beyond the illness and symptoms, which is what we’re dedicated to helping them do.

Individualized Treatment & Parent Support

Another important aspect of therapy sessions is helping teens to learn healthy habits and ways of dealing with stress and triggers. Because many mental illnesses that teens face do not have a permanent “cure,” it’s very helpful for teens to learn how to alleviate their stress in positive ways. A few of the resources and techniques available to them at Paradigm include exercise, yoga, acupuncture, and massage. We encourage teens to draw upon old likings and activities, as well as discover new, as part of an intentional effort to adding positive actions to their lifestyles.

Another challenge of mental illness for teens can be navigating medication and finding the right combination and/or amounts that work for your teen’s illness. While teens are at Paradigm, we make special efforts to monitor and assess teens’ medication, and make necessary adjustments, while they’re here. Medication can be an incredibly powerful factor in helping alleviate teens’ symptoms, but can be an admittedly difficult process, as well.  Whether teens have been on medications before coming to Paradigm, or are beginning new medications while they’re here, we try to make this process as effective and painless as possible, providing whatever support we can along the way.

Whenever we work with a teen, we also work with their parents. For teens with mental illness, we work with parents in individual and family sessions, both to provide support and acknowledge the experience of being a parent of a teen with mental illness, as well as to advise parents in how to best support their teens.  We also provide Parent Effectiveness training, which aims at helping parents learn tools and resources for communicating and working effectively with their teens. Following teen mental health treatment, we also provide free ongoing support services for both teens and their parents.

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