There are many reasons why a teen might feel anxious. Between finals, pressure to date and do drugs, doubts about self-identity and more, anxiety can be a common internal experience.
When that anxiety gets in the way of functioning at home, school or work, that’s when professional treatment might be in order. That is the time to have a teen professionally assessed by a mental health expert. A psychologist or therapist can decide on a diagnosis, based on your teen’s symptoms, and then develop an appropriate treatment plan. The type of anxiety disorder will determine the type of treatment, frequency of therapy sessions and medication use, as well as the level of care. However, for most teens with anxiety disorders, treatment will involve psychotherapy and psychotropic medication.
Yet, if you a concerned parent of an anxious teen and your family lives within Los Angeles county, one of the best ways to facilitate psychological treatment of anxiety is to have your teen participate in a treatment center that’s close to home.
A treatment center within close proximity to home allows for high family involvement in a teen’s psychological care, which is a key factor for treatment success. It is not uncommon for treatment centers to include family therapy in order to address the ways that family dynamics contribute to the psychological illness. Family Therapy is a treatment method that focuses on the systems and relationships within a family network. It aims to explore the relationship within families in order to help them better manage the specific problems they might be facing. This form of therapy is used with a wide range of mental illnesses and is based on two principles:
- Many mental illnesses are made worse by the dysfunctions present in families.
- Close family members are often the supports that an individual suffering from mental illness has and are therefore extremely important in treatment.
Based on these principles, Family Focused Therapy aims to change the way family members interact, improve the functioning of the family as a unit, and improve the functioning of individuals within the family.
A recent study done at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) offered some promising results. The research aimed to discover whether the use of Family Focused Therapy along with medication could help reduce symptoms of those adolescents diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. (Although not anxiety, Bipolar Disorder is another type of mood disorder.) The study evaluated 145 teens with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis and compared the use of medication and psycho-education as a form of treatment to the use of both medication and Family Focused Therapy. The results of the study did in fact find that the teens who received both Family Focused Therapy as well as medication treatment for their Bipolar Disorder were more likely to have less severe symptoms after two years, compared to those teens who were treated with only medication and psycho-education.
If Los Angeles teens do not participate in family therapy, being close to home is important for another reason. The individual psychotherapy that begins in treatment can continue even after he or she completes residential rehab treatment.
Research has shown that psychotherapy and medication combined are the most effective forms of treatment for depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy can be the venue for explaining why medication or other forms of treatment are necessary as well as provide a clear explanation of a diagnosis, which can be puzzling to adolescents. Furthermore, a therapist can assist in outlining the benefits of treatment and facilitate an ongoing open dialogue about these topics.
Los Angeles residents who attend a teen anxiety rehab in Los Angeles County might find that staying close to home aids in their treatment success.