Does Your Teen Need Therapy?

Raising a teenager isn't easy. Teens are often moody, emotional, self-centered, and focused on everything except their family and their studies. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for parents to determine whether their kid is acting like a normal teenager or if something more serious, such as depression or anxiety, is going on. Learn more how to evaluate your teen so that you can get him or her professional help if needed.

Can You Identify a Stressor?

It's natural for teens to be anxious, emotional, and moody, so before automatically assuming that your teen needs to see an adolescent therapist, you need to try to determine if there have been any stressors in your teen's life. Some common stressors may include:

  • Divorce
  • Problems at school
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Major changes in close relationships

If you can identify a stressor, you should consider whether or not your teen's behavior precedes the event. If your teens behavior issues began before the stressor, it may be normal teen behavior. However, if the behavior problems didn't begin until your teen faced a major life change, he or she may need help dealing with the emotions related to the event.

Is There Evidence of a Mental Condition?

It's important to look at how your teen behaves on a regular basis to determine whether there are any indicators that your teen may be dealing with anxiety, depression, or other common mental disorders. Some symptoms to watch for include:

  • Staying in bed for excessive amounts of time
  • Refusing to socialize or hang out with friends
  • Worrying so much that he or she has trouble sleeping
  • Going long periods of time without changing clothes or showering
  • Periods of full manic energy, grandiosity, and sleeplessness

If your teen displays behavior commonly associated with mood or anxiety disorders, you should consider having him or her talk to an adolescent therapist.

Is the Behavior Affecting Your Teen's Ability to Function?

Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and other mental problems aren't solely classified on the symptoms a person is displaying. If your teen's behavior impacts his or her ability to function normally — complete schoolwork and chores, follow household rules, and act responsibly — then you should consider taking your teen to an adolescent therapist.

It isn't always easy to determine whether your teen is behaving like a normal teenager or the behavior is a cry for help, but it isn't impossible either. Trust your instincts. If you believe that your teenager needs to talk to an adolescent therapist, it's probably a good idea to contact one, such as those at Center For Family Guidance.