Teen Anxiety Treatment Centers
Teen anxiety treatment centers are therapeutic programs that help teens and adolescents who struggle with some form of anxiety. At Solstice West, a residential treatment center for teens that helps girls struggling with anxiety, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treating anxiety. This holistic approach goes beyond teaching teens healthier coping mechanisms to manage anxiety by helping teens identify and face the root causes of their anxiety using a variety of evidence-based strategies. If you are looking for the right anxiety treatment center for your teen, it is important to find a program that offers long-term benefits, not just quick fixes.
The guide is meant to be comprehensive, but as such, not every section will be applicable to everyone. Instead, we invite you to click on the links in the table of contents to jump to the sections that most interest you.
How Does Solstice RTC Help Teens with Anxiety?
At Solstice West, our relationship-based milieu, daily mindfulness activities, and trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy are just a few of the ways we help students learn to regulate their anxiety. These techniques also help to increase self-awareness of how anxiety shows up for students in their day-to-day lives.
By offering small class sizes, we can reduce academic anxiety by giving each student one on one attention and addressing their needs in an appropriate and compassionate way. We also offer learning styles support which helps students understand how they learn best, providing a strengths-based perspective to what used to be a stress-inducing environment.
Psychiatry services are also available for students that need medications to manage their anxiety. The goal is to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and address underlying core beliefs that are holding the student back, in order to find success and happiness in their day-to-day lives.
What are the Causes Of Anxiety In Teens?
The causes of anxiety vary greatly and differ from one person to the next. They might include:
- External events or internal factors related to the individual. Examples of external events typically are related to stress, whether with school, a significant relationship, family members, work, or a recent major event, such as a new child, major move, or death of a loved one. Even an event that is typically considered positive or happy in nature can bring on stress and therefore feelings of anxiety, including going to college or planning a wedding.
- Certain medications and caffeine can also contribute to an increase in anxiety. Some individuals are just more predisposed to have feelings of anxiety. This can be related to their personality, having other mental health disorders, or having relatives that also struggle with anxiety.
- Gender can play a role: Studies show that girls are more likely than boys to be affected by anxiety.
- Social media: it can create a vacuum by which teens are judging their life by how happy those they follow appear, furthering their worry that they are not measuring up.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in Teens
If you are worried that your teen is struggling with anxiety, here are some common signs and symptoms:
- Feelings of panic or fear
- General uneasiness
- Issues with sleep (having trouble sleeping or anxiety-related nightmares)
- Avoiding activities or things that trigger anxiety
- Shortness of breath/breathing quickly
- Not being able to move on from the thing you are worrying about
- Sweating, trembling, and/or dizziness
- Dry mouth, nausea, or gastrointestinal (GI) issues
- Increased heart rate/heart palpitations
- Catastrophizing (thinking things are much worse than they actually are)
Treatment Options For Teens with Anxiety
The two main treatments in outpatient treatment are psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very effective modality of psychotherapy for treating anxiety, and other options include Exposure Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat anxiety symptoms and each comes with its own set of benefits and risks. Some medications are intended for short-term use whereas others are safe and appropriate for long-term, extended use. It is important to discuss these options with your primary care provider, therapist, and/or psychiatrist in order to understand if medication is an appropriate option and if so, find the medication that is right for you . Within residential treatment, the options for treating anxiety include the ones already described and as well as complementary therapies and lifestyle changes. Examples include exercise, meditation/mindfulness, healthy diet, and limiting the use of caffeine.
Why are residential treatment centers a popular treatment option for teens with anxiety?
Compared to inpatient hospitalization that focuses on helping teens struggling with anxiety and panic attacks learn ways to self-regulate, residential treatment centers offer more opportunities for teens to practice applying these skills in their everyday lives in a more normalized environment. With a longer length of stay, teens have time to develop a strong support system of staff and peers and participate in our accredited academic program so they don’t fall behind in school. There is also a larger family component, as therapists work closely with parents through a parallel therapeutic process that includes weekly family therapy and quarterly family workshops.
Recreation activities also help break up the weekly schedule by offering a “normalized” weekend schedule. Recreation therapy teaches teens with anxiety that it is possible to face their self-doubt and low self-esteem and that not all “risk taking” is dangerous or debilitating. Some degree of stress and anxiety is normal when engaging in adventure activities. In adventure therapy, teens may realize that this is part of the process, rather than a barrier to being fully present when engaging in activities in with others. When students transition home, they may continue to integrate healthy social activities, like hiking, biking, or water sports, into their weekend plans as they challenge their social anxiety.
What do academics look like at a residential treatment center?
For many of our students, academics have been a struggle as dealing with anxiety became the primary focus. At Solstice West, students are able work through their anxiety and the underlying issues while also re-engaging with school to stay on track for graduation. Our goal is to make learning fun again and help our students find academic success.
Our class sizes are intentionally kept small so that each student can receive personalized attention from teachers. With an average class size of six students, we can work with a variety of learning styles while understanding what motivates each student to learn. This gives our students an increased chance to participate and for teachers to individual instruction. Solstice West also has executive functioning coaching and study strategies classes with our special education teacher. The special education teacher also meets with each student twice a month to create and monitor personal academic goals and strategies to achieve those goals.
Our academic program and curriculum are accredited by AdvancED, which ensures that all credits earned at Solstice West will be transferable to the next school your teen attends. Most of our students are college-bound and students are able to take the ACT while enrolled at Solstice West.
Each student also has time with her team teacher every week. This team teacher is a part of the multidisciplinary treatment team that works collaboratively to ensure a holistic treatment plan for your teen’s anxiety. At Solstice West, we have created an integrated and healing environment where your teen can learn, grow, and become an empowered young woman. Learn more about academics at Solstice West>>>