Teen Treatment Statistics

For many teens, adolescence is a wonderful time in life. It’s a time to play, explore, be creative, and uncover who and what they would like to do in the world. At the same time, because of the many changes that go on during this stage of life, many teens find it challenging. In fact, these many changes can be so challenging that some adolescents require mental health treatment.

Anxiety disorders and mood disorders, including depression, are treatable. Yet, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report, 80% of teens with an anxiety disorder and 60% of teens with depression don’t receive treatment.

Types of Treatment

According to an August 2014 report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 4% of all adolescents ages 12 to 17 had a serious mental health problem and received non-medication treatment. Treatment for a mental health problem can include residential treatment, psychotherapy, support groups, family therapy, group therapy, 12-step groups, and when necessary, medication. Sadly, due to experiences of shame, guilt, confusion, or fear, many teens do not get the kind of treatment they require.

In general, about 5% of teens have a mood disorder. Mood disorders are those that affect a person’s moods and emotions. They include depression, bipolar disorder, and other lesser known illnesses such as dysthymia. Traditionally mood disorders are mostly seen in adulthood. However, they can begin to reveal themselves in adolescence. This is particularly true because of the changes that are taking place in the teen brain along with the rush of hormones that adolescents experience. Recent studies have found that as many as 15%-18% of teens have experienced a mood episode by age 18.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common teen anxiety disorder. It’s a diagnosis given to those teens who experience excessive and irrational worry for at least six months. Other forms of anxiety disorders among teens include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Phobias. Research indicates that one in eight children are affected by anxiety disorders, and according to the National Institute on Mental Health, approximately 25.1% of teens between the ages of 13 to 18 years old experience an anxiety disorder.

It should be noted that both types of disorders mentioned above (anxiety disorders and mood disorders, including depression) are treatable! Yet, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report, 80% of teens with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60% of teens with diagnosable depression don’t get treatment. Research indicates that some teens are more at risk for anxiety and depression, such as:

  • Female teens (females tend to develop depression twice as often than males)
  • Abused and neglected teens.
  • Adolescents who suffer from chronic illness and other physical conditions.
  • Teens who have a family history of depression or mental illness.
  • Teen with untreated mental illness or addictions to alcohol or drugs.
  • Those with a history of trauma or other major life event such as a divorce in the family.

There is a significant relationship between teen addiction and mental illness. However, even teens who do not have do not have a mental illness can develop an addiction. In fact, one concern that most parents and mental health providers have is that teens may use, abuse, and become addicted to alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey found a decrease in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription pain relievers among high school students. The survey also found a decrease in the use of inhalants and synthetic drugs, and a general decline in the use of illicit drugs. Still, there is concern about marijuana use among teens and the increased use of e-cigarettes. Treatment of addiction for teens may include residential treatment, 12-step groups, and types of behavioral therapy.

Teen Treatment Statistics on Technology and Teen Mental Health

Any parent who sees their teen excessively using their phone or iPad may begin to be concerned. And parents aren’t the only ones concerned. Because of the possible harmful effects on a teen’s mental health, the California Adolescent Health Collaborative did a study on the use of technology among teens and found:

  • 75% of teens own a cell phone
  • 88% of cell phone owning teens text
  • 72% of teens use text messaging as a means of communication.
  • 73% of teens have used a social networking site
  • 63% of teens watch online videos
  • 61% of teens play games online, including those that require more than one player
  • 52% of teens have commented on a blog

Obviously, a large number of teens who use technology as a regular part of their lives. The concern is that despite the benefits that texting and social media bring (such as connection among peers), too much of it can affect a teen’s ability to focus and impair their mental health. In some cases, social media has been used to deliberately cause a teen harm.


Getting Treatment

Whether it’s too much social media or a death in the family, teens are vulnerable to mental illness. Because of this, it’s important to know that many psychological disorders are treatable! This means that with residential treatment, therapy, medication, support groups, and/or family therapy, a teen can go on with his or her life without the illness. Calling for help is the first important step. If you’re a parent, caregiver, or a teen looking for a way to feel better, call a mental health provider for assistance today.

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