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Reasons Teens are Entering Counseling in Katy & Houston: 3 Part Series

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The Inner Child's Spark of Hope


Counseling for teenagers in Katy Texas and in the Houston area is on the rise. Over the last 10 years, our teens have experienced a significant increase in emotional and mood disorders. COVID-19 has not done us any favors or helped in the least. The social isolation experienced by our teens only add to the teen's emotional struggles. But, we are also finding that in some cases, social isolation has exposed the teen's underlying emotional or mood disorder that would have otherwise remained unseen.

At Katy Teen & Family Counseling we are seeing teens enter teen therapy in much higher numbers. The teens entering teen therapy are also reporting similar emotional and mood struggles. So why are teen emotional and mood disorders on the rise? Why are we at Katy Teen & Family Counseling seeing a rise in teens entering teen counseling?

Reason Number One: Teen Depression & Teen Anxiety

Teen Depression: Dramatic Increase

In 2007, 2 million teens (8%) ages 12-17 said that they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. In 2017, that number increased to 3.2 million teens or 13%. Data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health sheds light on a disturbing trend.

When it comes to teen girls, the data is not good. Roughly 2.4 million girls (20%) had experienced one major depressive episode in the last year. For teen boys, 845,000 (7%) experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year. Teen girls experience depression at about 3 x that of teen boys. Yet, teen girls are more likely to receive counseling for teen depression (teen girls at 45% & teen boys at 33%).

Signs and symptoms of teen depression can include:

  • A marked change in your teen's normal attitude and behavior

  • This change has caused marked distress in the home and/or at school

  • Your teen is feeling sad and experiences crying spells

  • Your teen becomes more easily frustrated or angry, even for small reasons

  • Your teen expresses feelings of hopelessness or feeling 'empty' inside

  • Your teen is displaying more irritability or moodiness

  • Your teen has lost or has decreased interest in things they used to like doing

  • Your teen tends to isolate from family members and possibly friends

  • Your teen has expressed feelings or worthlessness or excessive guilt

  • Your teen has become fixated on past failures or experiences exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism

  • You notice your teen has become very sensitive to rejection or failure

  • You notice your teen requires excessive reassurance

  • Your teen expresses a change in and difficulty concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions

  • Your teen expresses that they don't see a hopeful or bright future and that their future seems dim or bleak

  • Your teen has frequent thoughts of death, thoughts of not being around any longer, or thoughts of suicide

Teen Anxiety: Dramatic Increase

Roughly 30% of teenagers reported that they felt tense or nervous every or about every day. When we look at those teens who said they felt tense or nervous sometimes, that number jumps to 45%. Teen girls at 36% said they feel this way every or nearly every day. Teen boys at 26% reported the same.

Signs and symptoms of teen anxiety can include:

  • You notice your teen experiences persistent worrying about various things that seem far out of proportion

  • Your teen has excessive worries about their grades, athletics, or extracurricular activities

  • Your teen is very concerned with being on time and how they appear in front of others

  • You observe perfectionistic tendencies in your teen

  • Your teen tends to overthink things and plans out solutions to worst case scenarios

  • Your teen views certain things and situations as threatening when they really aren't

  • Your teen struggles with handling uncertainty

  • Your teen fears making decisions as they feel they will make things worse

  • Your teen struggles with letting go of worry

  • Your teen struggles with relaxing and feeling restless or on edge

  • Your teen expresses difficulty in concentrating and their mind going blank at times

Some physical signs and symptoms of teen anxiety can include:

  • Your teen complaining of being tired or fatigued

  • Your teen expressing that they are having difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep

  • Your teen experiences muscle tension or tightness

  • Your teen is observed trembling or being easily startled

  • Your teen experiences sweating including sweaty palms

  • Your teen expresses that they have been nauseous and/or complains of stomach problems

  • Your teen seems more irritable without apparent reason

Symptoms of teen depression and teen anxiety can vary from one teen to the other. The causes, variables, and factors can vary as well. We have observed consistent themes in working with teens in Katy Texas and the Houston area. Below are some of those themes.

Commonalities Among Teens Entering Counseling Services in Katy Texas and the Houston area

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Gifted Student Working to Excel

New At-Risk Group of Teens

Three independent studies came to the same conclusion -- that there is a new group of 'at risk' teens. At risk teens are less likely to successfully transition into adulthood compared to their peers. The variables that make up this 'at risk' group may surprise you. These risk factors are outlined in the three studies below. For simplicity, I include them in this blog below.

Teens at Risk: Unique Factors

So what variables make up this new group of 'at risk' teens? Below are common variables that theses studies identified:

  1. Teens living in an affluent community

  2. Teens who attend competitive schools

  3. Teens who have excessive pressures to succeed at the highest levels

  4. Teen who have excessive pressures to attend a top college

  5. Teens who have a variety of extracurricular activities offered to them

The teens we see for therapy for teen depression and therapy for teen anxiety have elements of the above in their story. The teens explain that the pressures they experience come from the following sources:

  1. Parents high expectations in their schooling endeavors

  2. The schools they attend and the stiff competition to excel

  3. The schools they attend and the teachers teaching to a standardized test and the pressures on the teachers to excel

  4. The teen's own inner expectations on what "success" looks like

If we as parents are giving our attention primarily when good grades are involved, there is success on the field or court, or other accomplishments in extracurricular activities, we may be missing an opportunity. There are teens that are putting in more hours in school and extracurricular activities than most adults put in during a typical work. Teens work this hard in an effort to meet high expectations. Where is down time, play time, or family time squeezed in?

Attending to good grades is important. Success on the field or court is important. Extracurricular activities are important. Quality time with their mother and father is more important:

  • Attending to our son or daughter and developing that relationship will teach them more than the A in class will

  • Attending to our teen's success in character development will help them in life more than athletic records

  • Create times where the family can be together without outside distractions. They will value this time together more than killing it in debate club.

Grades, sports, extracurricular activities are all an important part of our teen's life. It's not about taking these things away, it is about ensuring that we allow room for other important priorities:

  • It's about balancing out their hectic schedule and taking time to provide play time

  • Making room for unstructured down time recharges the batteries

  • Ensuring that we prioritize strengthening family relationships. Relationship development that a father and/or a mother can only provide will help them form a strong identity as an individual of worth and value.

In order for your teen to get grow into a well rounded adult, they need a balance of all these priorities:

  • Academics

  • Athletics/Clubs

  • Other Extracurricular Activities

  • Play Time

  • Down Time

  • Family Time

Social Media and Impact on Girls

Teen girls today are increasingly impacted by the effects of social media. The pressure to look good, be pretty enough, and present as perfect is higher than ever. The sad thing is that we are allowing social media to define these things for our teen girls.

Yes, teen girls understand what it takes to get that one, perfect picture. It is understood the time and effort that goes into getting the shot just right. It is understood that what they see on social media does not reflect reality. Yet, when they are with their girlfriends and they are commenting on how perfect Jenny looks on Instagram, the standard of perfection/beauty/acceptable has just been set.

The competition to fit that standard of perfection to get that same social validation is intense. The ever present need to gain one's sense of worth through other peoples likes and comments can be overwhelming. The hurt that can come through social media and it's impact on self-esteem can be devastating. Is it any surprise that girls are almost three times as likely to have teen depression or teen anxiety?

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It Starts in the Genes and is Mastered Through Teen Therapy

The Genetic Factor

As discussed above, there are many environmental factors that play a role in teen depression and teen anxiety. We can't forget the role that genetics play as well.

When teens come to Katy Teen & Family Counseling for teen depression or teen anxiety, I tell them they most likely have someone in their family to thank for this! Having a mother or a father who has or has had depression or anxiety increases the chances of the teen having teen depression or teen anxiety. On the flip side, the teens have also benefited from gaining personal strengths through these same genes. But, because a teen may come by teen depression or teen anxiety through genetics, does not mean all is lost. Below are some ways that our teen specialists provide teen counseling to address teen depression and teen anxiety.

Conclusion: PART I

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There are answers, there is hope!

There are many ways that our teen counselors and family therapists help teens who have teen depression or teen anxiety. Below are but a few that we utilize at Katy Teen & Family Counseling:

Though teen depression and teen anxiety are on the rise and has been steadily over the last 10 years, there is hope. At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we have specialized in the field of teen therapy and family counseling. We have been providing depression counseling and anxiety treatment for teens since 2003.

We have the expertise to help your teen recover the happiness and hope for their future. You don't need to struggle with teen depression and teen anxiety any longer. Start the journey toward feeling better today with Katy Teen & Family Counseling. It's as easy as following these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Talk to one of our specialists in therapy for teen depression or therapy for teen anxiety

  3. Being your journey and let us be your expert guide on this journey of healing

At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we also provide the following for those in Katy and the Houston area:

Neurofeedback Therapy for Teen ADHD

Teen depression and teen anxiety can be a thing of the past. Counseling for teen depression and counseling for teen anxiety is right around the corner. For those in the Katy and Houston area, we are conveniently located off of I-10 and Pin Oak Boulevard.

Don't miss PART II and the continuation of our three part series: Top Reasons Teens Today are Entering Teen Counseling at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.

How to Begin Teen Therapy or Family Counseling

To begin teen therapy or family counseling, simply contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling through our website or by calling 346-202-4662. Our Owner and Lead Clinician answers each phone call to help match you with the right therapist for you teen and family.

About the Author

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Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker. He is a Specialist in Teen Therapy & Family Counseling. He has provided therapy to teens and families since 2003. Through his expertise, he helps teens who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD/ADD, and PTSD. He works with talented teen athletes who have experience mental blocks. Gifted students have unique challenges that Jason understands well. Jason uses CBT, EMDR, Neurofeedback, FFT, and Motivational Interviewing. We only work with teens and families which allows us to focus on what teens and families of today need. Resolving the struggles of today can assure a more successful tomorrow. Proudly serving Katy, Tx and Houston.

Logo for Katy Teen and family counseling. Providing family therapy in katy, tx and neurofeedback counseling. Also provides counseling for teen depression in houston, tx.

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