Does My Teenager Need Therapy?

Signs Your Teen May Need Professional Counseling

 

The brain undergoes major changes during the teenage years, which is why teens often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Because it’s normal for teens to experience ups and downs, many parents find it difficult to determine when their teen is suffering from a more severe problem. As a result, many teens do not get the professional counseling they need.

Therapy can help teens with a wide range of issues, including emotional problems, substance abuse, trauma and body image. If you’re a parent, it’s important to understand when your teen might benefit from therapy. Here are the signs you should look for that indicate your teen may need therapy.

Talking about self-harm or suicide

Teens that talk about inflicting harm on themselves or committing suicide can benefit from professional counseling — even if they claim they’re joking. 

Talking about self-harm or suicide--regardless of whether your teen has acted on these thoughts--is a serious sign of emotional distress. Don’t wait until it’s too late to connect your child to the help they need.

Changing their social life

It’s normal for teens to make new friends and leave old friends behind as they mature. But, if your teen is suddenly hanging out with a different group of friends, be on the lookout for other behavior changes that might indicate something else is going on.

Suddenly withdrawing from all social activity is one such red flag. If your teen seems to be avoiding social functions and cutting off communication with friends, this could be a sign that there is a mental health problem that needs to be addressed. 

Drug or alcohol use

Teens who are experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health disorders may make the mistake of using drugs or alcohol to numb their emotions. Relying on drugs or alcohol to lessen the feelings of emotional distress is dangerous, and teens can quickly become addicted. 

If your teen is using drugs or alcohol, it’s crucial to act before the situation spirals out of control. If you aren’t sure how to approach this sensitive topic, consider reaching out to a professional family counselor or therapist for support.

Negative self-talk

Having high self-esteem gives teens the confidence to take risks, try new things, overcome challenges and develop healthy relationships with others. Unfortunately, many teens suffer from low self-esteem caused by bullying, trauma, abuse, mental health disorders and other stressful life events. 

Teens with low self-esteem will often engage in negative self-talk. Do you hear your teen making negative comments about their appearance, intelligence or abilities? If so, your teen might benefit from therapy. Seeking professional help now could set them up for a healthy and successful future.

Poor academic performance

Not doing well on a test is not a sign that your teen needs therapy; however, if your teen’s academic performance has drastically changed, this is a red flag. 

Mental health issues can affect a teen’s concentration and motivation, which can, in turn, negatively affect their grades. If your teen’s grade point average has suddenly dropped, talk to your child to learn more about their struggles and consider therapy if you feel it could be helpful.

The caring therapists at Foundations Counseling can help you and your family overcome life’s greatest challenges. Contact us today!