It’s not unusual for teens with mental health issues to need teenage rehabilitation facilities. There are various facilities and programs designed to deal with multiple issues arising from teen mental health conditions. Teen rehabilitation is not mixed with adult rehabilitation and the medical professionals assigned to teen rehab facilities are specially trained to deal with adolescent mental health issues.
There are services in rehab facilities for any number or addictions or conditions teens may be living with:
- Alcohol or Drug Abuse
- Anger Management
- Depression and Anxiety
- Bipolar Disorder
- Disordered Eating
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Some of these are considered behavioral issues while others are considered mental health diagnoses. It is not uncommon for one type of treatment center to focus on specific types of behavior or mental health issues. Here, we will be discussing the types of programs available in the United States and how they gear their rehab to certain teen issues.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse – Behavioral with medical component
Quite candidly, these types of rehab facilities are everywhere. Most local hospitals offer in-patient treatment for alcohol and drug abuse for patients of all ages. But, since teens do have different behavior dynamics and have reached only a certain level of brain maturation, teen specific programs are better equipped to deal with teens abusing alcohol or drugs.
It’s important that even if you don’t go with Beachside, any facility you choose for your teen is accredited and provides customized treatment for teens. It should have a variety of rehab programs focused on physical, mental, and emotional healing, teaching teens the tools needed for long-term recovery. Most quality facilities also help teens keep up with their education.
Inpatient treatment centers typically consist of clinical guidance and supervision during step-down programs that clients go to after a medical detox from alcohol or drugs. Teens receiving inpatient treatment live on-site at the facility in a supportive and supervised environment.
The benefits of inpatient alcohol and drug abuse for teenage rehabilitation include medical support during detox, structured programming (including continuing education), nutritional support (teaching teens how to eat healthy), providing a sense of community through group therapy and activities, and how to establish healthy boundaries.
Teenage rehabilitation at a facility is a starting point. Programs should also have components for aftercare and ongoing sobriety support.
Anger Management – Behavioral
Treatment programs for anger management are usually thought of in terms of court ordered therapy for domestic violence offenders. But, teens can most definitely suffer from anger management issues. Teenage rehabilitation for anger management focuses on the aspects of their behavior or outside events that can trigger unusual amounts of anger.
Teens can be angry, they could yell at their friends, slam doors, or burst into curses for no reason. Adolescence is a time of extreme stress. Also, hormonal changes teens go through make them more susceptible to emotional shredding. While this anger can sometimes be managed by family and friends, it is essential to note when your teen is out of control.
When people get angry, the body prepares for fight or flight through the manifestation of these symptoms:
- Quickening heart rate
- Slowing of digestion
- Quickened breathing
- Increased circulation
When people feel no anger at all, that is often a sign they have been heavily abused, either physically or emotionally. Many teens express anger verbally, by shouting or cursing. Generally speaking, letting out anger is a good thing. But for teens with anger management issues, the anger doesn’t end there. Anger management problems in teens manifest in a variety of ways. Some teens may seem irritated, either with themselves or others, and they may snap when asked the simplest of questions. They may simply seem angry all the time, with no identifiable triggers.
Teen rehabilitation for anger management consists of attending sessions with a counselor where they’ll learn how to stay calm when under stress. Those skills can keep them from developing greater anger management issues later in life. Therapists will offer new coping skills the teens may have never done before in place of responding in anger.
Teens will learn to express their emotions in healthy ways that aren’t negative or violent. They will learn to find the source of their anger, why they get so mad, and what they can do to keep their anger under control. They will also learn relaxation techniques to help them focus and calm down when their anger is triggered.
Social skills training can also help teens with anger issues. There are some teens with anger management problems that simply have never learned how to communicate their anger properly. The teen works with a therapist and attends group therapy with peers. They learn to behave and communicate appropriately with others. They learn social cues and no longer find themselves confused, which can lead to irrational anger.
However, teens with serious anger management issues may require long-term therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and the addition of medication to their treatment plan. Anti-depressants are often prescribed because for many teens, anger is a manifestation of hidden depression.
Depression and Anxiety – Mental Health Issues that often appear Together
Depression and anxiety have been recognized as co-occuring disorders for the past several years. Depression creates feelings of isolation or hopelessness. Those feelings can create anxiety and worry about the future, about relationships, or even about just making it through the day.
One kind of unique program offers teenage rehabilitation for multiple behavioral disorders and mental health issues through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL). These behavioral health tools enhance traditional talk therapy and give teens rare chances to learn about themselves and others through horse related activities.
The teens in the program work as either individuals or in groups. They are given an objective involving the horses and work to meet it. This kind of experiential learning is particularly effective because it allows teens to experience learning at their own pace and on their own terms.
Equine Assisted Learning is incorporated into treatment plans to address various struggles, including depression and anxiety. Through the guided activities with the horses, teens learn to interpret non-verbal communication and decisiveness while applying creative thinking and problem solving strategies. The teens work with a team of mental health professionals and equine specialists, developing leadership and cooperation skills, building confidence, and learning how to reach and maintain healthy attitudes.
In treating depression, cognitive behavior modification and physician-directed medication management is offered in a safe and controlled environment. A residential setting is perfect for teenage rehabilitation since diagnosis is complex and involves consistent observation by medical professionals over an extended period of time.
The diagnosis of anxiety among teens has been rising for years. Professionals blame the increase on addiction to cell phones, unlimited access to social media, over-medicating by overworked medical professionals, poor diet, and lack of sleep. Through the combined use of traditional therapies and equine therapies, teens with anxiety and/or depression can get the help they need in a natural environment.
Bipolar Disorder – Mental Health Issue
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder many teens experience starting at a young age. It is characterized by severe high and low mood swings, alternating between stages of mania and depression. This particular disorder does require medication to treat in addition to individual, group, and family therapy. Teenage rehabilitation for bipolar disorder requires facilities where physicians work with therapists to find the right combination of psychotherapy and drug therapy to help the teen find balance.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness; teens in a state of mania can feel extremely happy and are very active. However, when depressed, display heightened sadness and not as much energy. Bipolar disorder is far more powerful than the normal ups and downs of life. Teens with bipolar disorder can learn to manage their symptoms and lead successful lives with the right skills and tools.
Residential bipolar disorder treatment centers provide teenage rehabilitation with 24-hour supervision and intensive therapeutic treatment. Each client gets an individualized treatment plan designed for their condition. After assessment, staff will work with the teen to create a treatment plan. The best treatment method for teen bipolar disorder has been found to be a combination of medication and therapy:
Medication: mood stabilizers may be used in conjunction with talk therapies to help control the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. Finding the right medication for bipolar disorder is an ongoing process. Teens may cycle through different medications until they find what works best. The in-house psychiatrist and nurse practitioner supervise medication administration.
Individual therapy: held at least once a week and introduces methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help teens recognize and modify responses to stress. Individual therapy also allows the teen to go more in-depth about their emotions and learn better coping behaviors.
Group therapy: Groups are held multiple times each day within the cabin group. These meetings include goal setting, discussions on symptoms and how to address them, and focusing on others rather than the self.
Family therapy: family must be active participants in the treatment process in order for teenage rehabilitation to be successful. Family therapy is once per week and concentrates on issues in the home dynamic.
In addition to traditional therapy methods, a top-notch facility will offer any number of experiential programs:
- Recreational therapy
- Adventures program
There are clearly several components to treating bipolar disorder successfully during teenage rehabilitation. However, the most critical is maintaining a good balance of psychotherapy and drug therapy.
Disordered Eating – Behavioral and Mental Health Issue
Disordered eating includes diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, obesity, and body dysmorphia. Each one of these disorders starts as a mental health issue, but due to the nature of the disorder, it manifests as a behavioral issue. Teens, mostly girls, who suffer from one of these disorders have untreated underlying issues that must be addressed to return them to proper eating habits, a healthy weight, and the knowledge that their body must be treated with respect if they hope to have a long, healthy life.
For teens in this delicate situation, find a teenage rehabilitation treatment center that addresses anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorders, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Eating disorder residential treatment programs are designed for patients who are medically stable, but require continuing mental and physical health support from medical staff who are on-call 24 hours a day.
The growth and recovery for teens in a residential program like this gives them a chance to draw on the support of peers who experience many of the same symptoms, the same emotions, fears, joys, and milestones. Teens learn the value of trust and cooperation as they practice new skills for avoiding either-or thinking, identifying triggers, and examining their assumptions and behaviors.
The medical staff at these facilities will gather several times throughout the week, and review and adjust each resident’s individualized treatment plan, based on an initial evaluation and the progress of the patient. Mealtimes are supervised by licensed and experienced nutritionists who can answer teens’ questions about eating healthy.
A residential treatment center for disordered eating can include the following:
- Daily schedule that includes process groups, experiential activities and psycho-educational programming, and aftercare
- Comprehensive nutrition plan
- Full-time, on-site psychiatrists
- Individual therapy sessions
- Body Image programming
- Expressive arts programming
- Intensive Family Programs
For all forms of disordered eating, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, nutrition education, and behavioral adjustments will help a teen see him or herself as a new, healthy human being. Teenage rehabilitation in this type of setting will put your teen on a path to a health future.
Borderline Personality Disorder – Behavior Disorder with Mental Health Issues
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a type of mental health disorder featuring instability in one’s self-image, emotion dysregulation, and trouble with personal relationships. The presence of borderline personality disorder in teens can cause symptoms like powerful mood swings, reckless behaviors, and engagement in self-harming. Teens with BPD may also have a distorted self-image, feelings of worthlessness, or may just feel flawed.
Therapeutic wilderness teenage rehabilitation centers that focuses on short-term, high impact intervention and assessment for teens with borderline personality disorder use the outdoors as an alternative to conventional therapy.
Here, teens are far removed from modern distractions, have few, simple choices, and learn valuable lessons about kindness and respect. They learn to accept responsibility for their actions, work on individual and family issues, and learn to take an interest in their personal growth.
Throughout their stay, all teens experience wilderness expeditions where they will participate in daily challenges. After each expedition, students spend time processing what they have learned. Some of the therapeutic methods used specifically to treat borderline personality disorder may include the following:
Medication management: research has shown that there are some medications that will be able to reduce some of the symptoms of this disorder.
Individual therapy: every teen receives individual counseling sessions up to two times a week to help reduce the symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder and focus on emotion regulation, how to maintain healthier relationships, and stress management.
Group therapy: process groups are held on a daily basis, while therapy groups are held one to two times each week. Some of the topics covered in group include communication skills, mindfulness, bullying, anxiety, social skills, and emotion regulation.
Family therapy: as with any residential treatment program, family therapy is a key component to the teen’s overall treatment plan. As wilderness programs are generally far off the beaten path, phone calls or video chats with family are part of the therapy process.
Experiential therapy: In addition to traditional therapy, most wilderness programs offer other highlights and benefits:
- Fire starting
- Therapy certified dogs
- Expressive arts
- Ropes course
- Trap building
- Trail navigation
- Tree identifying
These various activities will give teens a sense of accomplishment, pride in their achievements, and self-respect. Teens with BPD who engage in these activities learn to look at situations from perspectives other than their own and how their behavior can affect others, both positively and negatively.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Mental Health Issue
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in teens is a serious mental health issue. Teenage rehabilitation for this disorder must be handled with professional care to ensure the teen is able to recognize the root of the disorder, what triggers their PTSD, how to cope with anxiety attacks, and how they can learn to live with PTSD long-term.
PTSD in teens is the mental, emotional, and physical fallout following traumatic events, or an instability in the home, that can easily overwhelm a teen. They come to believe the world is a perilous, dangerous, and chaotic place. Because of the underdeveloped coping skills of teens, they are more susceptible to PTSD.
There are multiple situations or experiences that trigger PTSD in teens. This includes violent assaults, sexual abuse, rape, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or domestic violence in the home. “Bullying, car accidents, senseless acts of violence (such as school shootings), natural disasters, a traumatic divorce, family separation, or serious illness can also lead to PTSD in teens.”
If a teen has been through a traumatic event, there are symptoms to watch out for:
Reliving the trauma – Nightmares, flashbacks, and/or difficult and disturbing mental images are common.
Avoidance – those with PTSD tend to avoid things that are reminders of the traumatic event.
Emotional numbness – feeling detached, dissociated, and/or numb is typical.
Anxiety – as a result of the trauma, people developing PTSD often have higher levels of stress hormones in the body. These hormones can then cause those with PTSD to experience hyper-vigilance. Anxiety can also contribute to difficulties with concentration and sleep.
The therapeutic facilitators at teenage rehabilitation centers include licensed professionals who specialize in various treatment modalities:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Family Systems Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Psychoeducational Group Therapy
- Post Induction Therapy
The best facilities also offer experiential treatments:
- Equine Assisted Therapy
- Surfing Therapy
- Martial Arts and Physical Training
- Somatic Experiencing
- Music Therapy
- Creative Writing
- Art Therapy
- Drama and Improv
- Outings (museums, movies, beach)
The various approaches and multi-modalities available give your teen with PTSD the opportunity to heal, grow, and start a life that isn’t at the mercy of PTSD.
Teenage rehabilitation is not just a simple fix. While you can certainly find inpatient programs at your local hospitals, specialized rehabilitation facilities will offer a much better outcome as they are focused on treating teens and take unique approaches to teenage rehabilitation.