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Do you have a struggling teen?

Counseling is very important for adolescences. Teenagers face many challenges, from exams and deadlines to the pressures of growing up and the endless comparisons encouraged by social media. Depression, identity issues, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, substance abuse, eating disorders, and relationship problems can result from feeling unsupported or overwhelmed.

In the UK, only one in four young people who need mental health services receive help, despite talk therapy being an effective treatment.

Common mental health problems among teenagers

Anxiety Disorders

Adolescents today are most likely to suffer from anxiety disorders. According to the World Health Organization, four percent of 10-14-year-olds and five percent of 15-19-year-olds suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders typically develop before the age of 21.

Anxiety disorders aren’t just isolated feelings of anxiety – they affect one’s daily life. In situations that do not pose a threat, they are characterized by persistent, excessive worry or fear. Teenagers with anxiety may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of dread or apprehension
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Predicting the worst possible outcome
  • Shortness of breath and racing heartbeat
  • Fatigue and upset stomach
  • Sleeping problems or insomnia
  • A feeling of tension or jumpiness

It is important to consult your clinician if you suspect your teen is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders may be classified as phobias, panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, or generalized anxiety disorders. Teenagers, particularly, should seek professional treatment for any of the above. During adolescence, teens’ brains are still developing, so it’s important to treat mental health conditions as early as possible.


Three percent of 15 to 19-year-olds worldwide suffer from depression, the second most common mental health disorder in adolescents. It is estimated that 13 percent of youths (aged 12 to 17) will suffer a major depressive episode by 2020 in the United States. In 2020, 2.2 million youth in the U.S. were suffering from severe major depression.

A person with depression experiences recurrent, severe periods of negative mood changes, thought processes, and motivation. Teenagers and young adults with depression often feel hopeless, lonely, and unmotivated. Depression is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Sleep or appetite changes
  • Concentration problems
  • Deficiency of energy and motivation
  • A lack of interest in activities and friendships
  • Lack of hope 
  • Aches, pains, and general maladies
  • Thoughts of suicide

Adolescents with depression may have difficulty attending school, developing relationships, and performing well academically. COVID-19 has exacerbated depression symptoms in teenagers, particularly in recent years, due to social withdrawal. Parents should help their teens seek professional help if they exhibit any symptoms of depression. When left untreated, depression can persist into adulthood and/or lead to substance abuse and suicide thoughts.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on learning and behavior make this condition very common among adolescents. It is estimated that almost nine percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 suffer from ADHD. It is possible for these children to have difficulty paying attention, to become easily distracted, and to exhibit hyperactive and/or impulsive behavior.

ADHD is commonly seen in children and teenagers in the following ways:

  • Jumping from one activity to another
  • Easily becoming bored with a task
  • Focusing or paying attention to others is difficult
  • Having trouble completing schoolwork 
  • Processing information slowly
  • Having trouble sitting still for long periods of time
  • Playing with everything or touching it
  • Ignoring the consequences of my actions
  • Interrupting others and talking a lot

In both the classroom and at home, ADHD affects a child’s ability to learn. Your teen’s future success depends on recognizing and treating this disorder. Additionally, it is important for parents to know that about two-thirds of children with ADHD also face another condition. These conditions may include learning disabilities, conduct disorders, or anxiety or depression. It is recommended that those with co-occurring or multiple mental health disorders receive integrated dual diagnosis treatment.

Eating Disorders

It is “much more common” for people to develop eating disorders during their teenage years and in their early 20s, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. There is a higher risk of eating disorders among girls and young women, but it’s important to recognize that eating disorders are also prevalent among boys and men.

A variety of eating disorders exist, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. The goal of anorexia is to lose weight by self-starvation. When struggling with anorexia, teens deny hunger, refuse food, and exercise until they exhaust themselves. Bulimics may also purge, which is also common among them. A person with bulimia eats a large amount of food and then forces themselves to vomit to lose weight. In comparison, binge eating disorder (BED) causes feelings of self-disgust, depression, and shame due to excessive eating – in large portions, over a short period of time. People with BED do not purge like those with bulimia.

Eating disorders are associated with nutrition deficiencies, obesity, and premature death, though these risks vary depending on the disorder. The mortality rate of anorexia nervosa, for example, is higher than that of any other mental disorder. Therefore, youth who are struggling need early intervention.

Substance Use Disorders

Teenagers often experiment with drugs and alcohol for the first-time during adolescence, when risk-taking is heightened. It is unfortunate, however, that this is not always a phase or an experiment. Substance use disorders are common among teens and young adults. In 2020, over four percent of American youth reported having a substance use disorder. 

A person’s drug of choice can lead to many different types of substance use disorders. Substance use disorders can also overlap with other mental health disorders. Teenagers with substance use disorders can, however, display the following signs:

  • Family or friend withdrawal
  • Behavior changes suddenly
  • Taking part in risky behaviors, such as sex, fights, and drinking and driving
  • Developing a high tolerance for drugs and alcohol
  • When not drunk or high, experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Having the feeling that they need a substance to function properly

It’s important for parents to understand that substance use and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety often co-occur. Co-occurring disorders are known as co-occurring disorders. It is estimated that 17 million Americans will suffer from both a mental illness and a substance use disorder by 2020. If a person is struggling with a mental health disorder like depression, they are roughly twice more likely to develop a substance use disorder as well.


Teenager counseling benefits

Teens can benefit from psychological therapy in the following ways:

  • Relax and be yourself in a safe, unpressured environment
  • Getting to know themselves and what they want
  • Assisting them with issues such as bullying or LGBTQ+ issues in an unbiased manner
  • Developing communication skills and self-expression
  • Recognizing their own values and being able to see bigger perspectives
  • Managing their emotions and thoughts and raising their confidence
  • Instead of focusing on their weaknesses, they should focus on their strengths
  • Managing challenges ahead requires coping skills.

Helping your teen to help themselves is what we do

Your teen will be matched with a psychotherapist or psychologist with significant experience working with young adults. To schedule a first appointment, call us or use our online booking form.

Adolescent psychotherapy can help with what issues?

Adolescent psychological problems can be treated through counselling if your teenager is showing signs of them. As an example:

  • Having trouble coping with daily tasks
  • Anxiety and worry excessively
  • Depression and lethargy for an extended period of time
  • Hopelessness and negativity
  • Issues related to identity and sexuality
  • Sleeping and eating patterns change
  • Not wanting to go to school or struggling at school
  • Negative self-talk
  • Self-harm or suicide references
  • Behavioral changes or outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Substance abuse issues
  • A persistent cold or flu or unexplained medical symptoms
  • A withdrawal from social interaction.

How does teenager counselling work?

Teenage counseling follows all the same principles as adult therapy. A relationship of trust and openness is established through active listening, reflecting back, and asking questions. Your goal is to help your teen focus on their strengths and open up new perspectives. Counselors may also use practical exercises during sessions to help teens deal with their emotions and thoughts.

What is the difference between teen therapy and adult therapy?

Counseling teenagers can be based more on developmental psychology strategies. Teenagers are in the phase of life where they are still figuring out their identity, who they are apart from their families and peers, and what values they will follow.

The Expert Therapy approach to adolescent therapy

Expert Therapy psychologists and teenager counsellors have specific training and have passed a CRB check. Their passion and interest are working with teenagers, so they are experts in their field.


Related topics

  • How to Help a Teen with Depression
  • Self-esteem for Teens – How Can You Help Your Child?
  • Your Teenager’s Brain – What’s Going on in There?
  • Adolescent Counselling – Some Facts Explained
  • The Dangers of Facebook.


Frequently asked questions

How do I find the right therapy for a teenager?

There are different specialties among therapists in the UK, so look for practitioners with experience in the areas you are seeking support in when searching for adolescent therapists.

Can you get family counselling on the NHS?

On the NHS, you can get free family counseling, but there may be a long waiting list and a limited number of sessions.

Can a 16-year-old go to therapy?

The UK allows children to consent (or refuse) to any treatment or therapy once they reach the age of 16. Confidentiality is guaranteed to a 16-year-old child going to therapy alone.