If you are in your teens and the topic of going to treatment has come up, whether you thought it might be time or someone suggested (perhaps even insisted) that it’s time, of course you’re wondering if you’re too young. Maybe you see treatment as a last resort for adults that have really made a mess of their lives, but if you are a teen and a part of your life has slipped out of your control treatment is an option for you. For those willing to seek it, treatment can help you better understand the nature of your problem and learn tools that can prevent a life of chaos. So the simple answer is no, you are absolutely not too young for treatment, and it can be explained why.
But I Don’t Even Really Understand What Treatment Is
Treatment for mental health or substance use issues can be thought of in like with any other medical treatment. If you were to get sick with chickenpox, and your doctor told you to stay home for a week or two, you would. If you broke a bone and had to walk using crutches for four to six weeks, you’d follow the doctor’s orders. Likewise, if you have mental health or substance use issues, you should seek and follow the right treatment, no matter your age.
Treatment for mental health and substance use varies depending on the extent of your health issues, how long you have been unwell, and the severity of your symptoms. Just as you would seek a specialist in orthopedics for a fractured bone, you should seek medical treatment, from a mental health specialist, for mental health issues. They may prescribe medication or other treatments depending on your individual situation. For substance abuse, you may require medical supervision as you go through detox, afterward licensed and trained psychologists and therapists can sometimes supervise early treatment.
There are many other people who can be involved with your treatment, for example, counselors, life coaches, mentors, and physical trainers. These professionals should be sought in addition to the health care providers mentioned above. They do not take the place of licensed and trained medical personnel. Mental health and substance use issues are medical health issues, so you need to seek appropriate health first and foremost.
Different Kinds of Treatment
Residential treatment refers to programs where you stay and live in the facility for a period of time, based on your current symptoms and treatment plan. These programs are necessary when you need 24/7 medical supervision or help to build a foundation for lasting recovery and are often valuable for those who do not have a stable home environment in which to recover. They are helpful not only to medically assist you back on a path to health but also because they remove you from the environment in which you were unhealthy and give you space to heal before returning to daily life.
Outpatient programs exist for those who do not need or cannot commit to staying at a facility. They can be ideal for teens who need to work a program in addition to school or work. If you have a safe and stable home environment and seek help early or have symptoms that are less severe or have just completed residential treatment, then outpatient programs can work for you. There are outpatients with varying degrees of required participation so a program can be tailored for you and at the end of any session you’re able to return to a healthy home environment daily.
Why Seek Treatment Now
There is no age requirement for someone to desires help when mental health or substance use disorder is causing pain and making life unmanageable. For some, early recovery from such struggles can help build a lasting foundation and help prevent additional suffering that would otherwise be experienced. Things learned in treatment can become a lifelong practice. Treatment involves finding the root of your issues, starting with things such as an accurate diagnosis for mental health issues. Or using therapy to help understand what created conditions to start using substances and introducing 12-step recovery programs if needed. As we age negative thought patterns are harder to break and healthy habits are more difficult to engage, treatment at a young age can be a gift if you allow it to be.
An early diagnosis of diabetes, with the need to develop new medical and dietary habits, gives someone the best chance to take care of themselves and prevent their disease from growing worse. It is the same when it comes to mental health and substance use issues, the earlier you detect the issue the better prepared you are to fight it. The therapy and guidance you receive at such a young age takes a weakness and makes it into a superpower – a foundation to make your mental health a priority and continue to care for it as you grow into a bright future.
Take advantage of your self-awareness around these struggles and care for your mental health. A lifetime of freedom is available to you if you build a solid foundation today. You are not too young for treatment.
Find your mental health now. Choose your treatment by calling Embark Behavioral Health 1-855-809-0409 today. You can change your habits and change your life. You are never too young for that.