Reasons Teens are Entering Counseling in Katy & Houston: 3 Part Series
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 #1: 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
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:
Teens living in an affluent community
Teens who attend competitive schools
Teens who have excessive pressures to succeed at the highest levels
Teen who have excessive pressures to attend a top college
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:
Parents high expectations in their schooling endeavors
The schools they attend and the stiff competition to excel
The schools they attend and the teachers teaching to a standardized test and the pressures on the teachers to excel
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:
Other Extracurricular Activities
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?
The Genetic Factor
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
Neurofeedback has helped many teens who struggle with teen depression or teen anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most researched and well supported treatment for teen depression and teen anxiety.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another effective treatment supported by research in treating teen depression and teen anxiety.
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:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Talk to one of our specialists in therapy for teen depression or therapy for teen anxiety
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
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.