Adolescence is a time of both disorientation and discovery; adolescents struggle with issues of independence and self-identity, and they often feel misunderstood as they are struggling to leave behind their childhood and become adults. Peer groups and external appearance tend to increase in importance. Adolescents—young men and young women--experience all kinds of new changes in their bodies and in their feelings. Commonly characterized by rebellious behavior, lying, cheating, school performance problems, negative attitudes, disobedience and disrespect, sibling rivalry, drug and alcohol abuse, pressures from peers, depression, and issues of sexuality, adolesence is a time of changing brain chemistry and hormones, making for a roller coaster of moods. Many times an adolescent needs a person outside of her or his family and peer group to confide in and identify what he or she needs in order to thrive. I have had experience treating adolescents who struggle with ADHD, school refusal, self-harm, suicidality, mood instability, eating disorders, and addiction.
While many teenagers experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sexuality, it is not uncommon for experimentation to be pushed to limits of abuse and dependence. While a serious addiction may require outpatient and/or residential treatment, many adolescents can benefit from simply having a safe place to process their new emotions and struggling identity. Psychotherapy can be effective as a means to identify and control substance use.
I am who I am.
I like what I like.
I love who I love.
I do what I want.
Get off my back and deal with it. It's my life, not yours.
- a teenager