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Mental Health Center

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Therapy for Teens: What to Expect

WebMD Feature

If you are going to see a therapist, the following Q&As can give you some insight into what to expect. Keep in mind that many teens are in therapy today, trying to gain greater insight into the way they think, act and react.

Q. Am I "Crazy" If I Go to Therapy?

A. Having therapy does not mean you are crazy! At least 1 in 5 teens (20%) have mental health issues. Doctors and therapists treat mental health problems just like any medical problem. For instance, if you break your leg, you go to an orthopedic doctor. If you have an earache, you see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. If you are depressed, anxious, or need someone to talk to, you go to a therapist.

Q. What Is Mental Health?

A. Mental health includes how you act, feel, and think in different situations. Teens have mental health problems when their actions, feelings, or thoughts regularly create obstacles in their lives. Everybody has times when they think or feel something that they don't like. Other times, people do things that other people don't like. Both of these situations are normal. But when the unwanted thoughts, feelings, or actions regularly create problems, there may be a mental health problem. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists are people who help others with mental health problems.

Q. Why Do Teens Have Mental Health Problems?

A. Mental health problems can be caused by many different things. Some common causes include"

  • Medical conditions. Some medical conditions can make you think, feel, or act strangely. If you go to a doctor or psychiatrist for a mental health problem, they will first check whether a medical condition could be not causing the problem.
  • Violence. When something bad happens to a person, or they see something bad happen, they can develop a mental health problem.
  • Stress. Everybody gets stressed out. Some stress can be helpful (like motivating you to study for a test). But too much stress can cause problems.
  • Losing a relationship. If someone close to you dies, moves away, or doesn't want to be friends anymore, it is normal to feel sad or lonely. Usually these feelings get better over time. But sometimes they worsen, or affect other parts of your life.
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