Help for adolescents and young adults with emotional issues

It is hard for young adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, anger management and learning disorders. It is also difficult for the parents who are seeking ways to help their child. Often both parent and child feel helpless to the situation and do not know where to turn for help. What are the options, or choices, for helping people with emotional or substance abuse issues?

The first step is usually to see a psychotherapist in your area, or meet with an education consultant. Either way, look for one specifically trained to help adolescents and young adults. You can often get a referral from a doctor or high school counselor. Adolescent and young adult emotional changes and substance abuse problems can have roots that are hard to determine by family members. An outside resource can help determine root causes to the problem because of their professional experience and training, and they have the added benefit of seeing the family system from the outside. Therapists and education consultants who work specifically with adolescents and young adults will know of outside resources and programs that may be uniquely beneficial for the client and family. It is important to find someone who treats each person as a unique individual because even though a few people might have the same symptoms of anxiety, depression or other substance issues, they can stem from very different causes and will need different treatments.

If a therapist is unable to help with the emotional needs of the adolescent, then a treatment center or wilderness program can be sometimes helpful. This allows the troubled teen to get a new perspective from being in a new environment with supportive counselors and daily structure. The counselors see the young adult daily and are able to better assess his or her problem and what is creating the emotional issues. There are some holistic treatment facilities which offer help to the body, spirit and mind. Often, physical problems can create emotional issues, so better nutrition, sleep habits and exercise will help the mind.

A new, and very exciting, approach to helping adolescents and young adults with emotional and social development issues is independent living treatment programs. These are perfect for those who have already been to a treatment center or wilderness program, or who do not have the severity of problems which would necessitate in-patient treatment. The independent living program will help the adolescent (over 18 years old) or young adult find their own apartment, attend college or get a job and connect with community resources. There will be a team of counselors and therapists assisting them daily to make sure they are staying on their co-created behavior plan. It really is the best of both worlds because he or she will be able to have the independence of living on their own, and making choices associated with that, but also have daily support to make better choices.

There is help out there. Keep looking until you find the perfect match for you or your adolescent/young adult child.

Article written by Living Well Transitions. We assist our adolescent and young adult clients in reducing the harm from unproductive or high-risk behaviors – helping them create a balance between opportunity and responsibility – through therapy, counseling, community networking, social skills enhancement, educational and vocational support, and additional resources as needed. For more information see

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