Does My Teen Need Treatment?


In this episode of The Intelligent Divorce with Mark Banschick M.D., we discuss how to tell the difference between an upset teen and a teen that needs treatment, and perhaps medication.

Teenagers are rarely easy. Normal adolescents, bless their hearts, can be moody, demanding, self centered and otherwise preoccupied at the expense of their studies or the family. When things go wrong, it can be rocky going. Depression, eating disorders, oppositional behavior and drug use are just some of the quagmires lying in the way of healthy adolescent development. Treatment can be a Godsend; even medications when appropriate can help many of the problems that teens may face.

So, do we just run to medicate an adolescent when he or she starts to show symptoms during a divorce? The side effects of medications are real, but not doing any treatment may lead to far worse.

The teenage brain is a developing organ that won’t reach maturity until twenty-five or so, and the psychological roller coaster of emerging independence and sexuality can be daunting for girls and boys alike. Add a divorce (or any real stress), and figuring out what’s going on psychologically can be tricky. While your adolescent may be inherently inconsistent, moody, or test limits, during a divorce there are additional pressures to deal with over which he has little control - like the dissolution of the family as he knows it, perhaps warring parents or just worries about what the future may hold.

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