Teens And Young Adults
Teenage and young adult years are filled with adjustments and transitions that can sometimes throw people off balance. FSA provides therapeutic services for teens and their families that help navigate those transitions and address the crises that can sometimes result from them.
Depression and Anxiety
As many as one in eight teenagers may suffer from depression. Recent research shows that depression is occurring at younger ages than previous decades and adolescent depression can lead to a multitude of problems in adulthood, including continued depression, physical and mental illness, and substance abuse. There are a number of potential causes for depression, including grief and loss, nutritional changes, school or relationship stressors and family conflict. Left untreated, adolescent depression can lead to suicide, the third major cause of teenage death. It’s important to understand the signs of depression in a teenager and access help as soon as possible. FSA offers a range of evidence-based treatments for adolescents struggling with depression.
Sometimes, normal shyness and reticence to perform in public can become disabling social anxiety and prevent a teenager from making friends, attending social events or fully participating in school. FSA therapists help teenagers disabled by social anxiety develop a healthy ability to engage with people outside home.
Symptoms of Depression:
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Significant change in appetite or body weight
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Psychomotor agitation or retardation
Loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Panic attacks are a perceived, not real, fear that builds in intensity and frequently involves a sense of doom. Teens who have had panic attacks can develop panic disorders and may stop going to favorite places, be afraid to attend school, or may not want to drive or travel. FSA therapists can help teens with a panic disorder regain normal activities and learn strategies to regain a healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of a panic attack:
Trembling or shaking
Shortness of breath
A choking sensation
Derealization, or a sense that one has lost contact with reality
Fear of going crazy or losing control
Numbing or tingling sensations
Fear of dying
Chills or hot flashes
Stress and Trauma
There is a wide range of stressful or traumatic events during adolescence or young adulthood that require professional help to overcome. From physical or sexual abuse that almost always requires professional intervention, to academic stress and problems at home that get beyond a person’s ability to manage. Family or romantic relationships, parents’ divorce, entering the work world, and college preparation can sometimes create unmanageable difficulties. FSA therapists utilize an array of therapeutic strategies to address each individual’s challenges and needs with the goal of achieving long-term stability.
FSA has Marin County’s most comprehensive services for childhood trauma, including trauma from sexual and physical abuse. The consequences of abuse can manifest themselves as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, feeling responsible for the assault, developing self-injurious behaviors or addictions, intimacy issues, depression or anxiety. At FSA, the therapist’s goal is to help the victim feel empowered and able to build an adult life beyond the influence of the abuse.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
After infancy, the brain experiences the greatest growth spurt during the teenage years. Critical and delicate processes are unfolding and teenagers risk damaging those processes when they overuse drugs or alcohol, become addicted to nicotine, caffeine or even the Internet, texting, or gambling. When it comes to drugs and alcohol, the younger a teenager is when he or she first begins using, the greater the risk of serious addiction and other mental health disorders. FSA provides individual evidence-based therapies with experienced therapists to help teenagers and young adults successfully overcome their addiction and substance abuse problems.
Many teenagers have distorted body images, which can result in an eating disorder. Although it can happen to either gender, 90% of teenagers struggling with an eating disorder are girls and one out of every seven women currently has or has had an eating disorder. The struggle could be with anorexia, which is an obsession with weight gain that results in a refusal to eat, or bulimia, a condition marked by overeating or gorging followed by periods of fasting, vomiting or purging with laxatives. These are complicated, dangerous conditions and most often need medical intervention, but cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently a necessary therapeutic component. FSA therapists work with clients diagnosed with eating disorders to achieve lifetime management of the problem.
Signs of an eating disorder:
Skipping most meals
Unusual eating habits
(such as eating thousands of calories at one meal or skipping meals)
Extreme weight change
Skin rash or dry skin
Erosion of tooth enamel
Loss of hair or nail quality
Hyperactivity and high interest in exercise
Cutting and Self Injury
Teenage self injury can involve scratching or cutting the body to draw blood or burning, pinching or pulling hair as a response to grief, stress, anxiety, despair, frustration, anger or any number of intense emotions. FSA therapists provide an array of strategies to help young people experiencing these symptoms learn alternative strategies to manage strong feelings and achieve healthy lives.
LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Questioning)
The challenges of sexual orientation are evidenced in the statistics from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center that show between 30 and 40% of lesbian, gay or bisexual youth have attempted suicide. The social, cultural, familial and personal conflicts involved in a young person discovering their sexual orientation can lead to an array of challenges like isolation, depression and anxiety. As many as 25% of LGBTQ youth have reported being harassed or bullied at school. FSA therapists work with teenagers and their families to navigate the complicated process of exploring and becoming comfortable with sexual orientation. Therapy is tailored to the individual and his or her family.
Foster and Adoptive Families
Help is available for foster and adopted children, as well as foster and biological parents. When a teen moves into foster care, he or she begins to navigate a complex web of adjustments including separation from biological parents and siblings, school relocation, and family adjustments. Conversely, there are equally complicated challenges when a child reintegrates with his or her biological family. Once a child is eighteen years old and a legal adult, the challenges of transitioning out of foster care can create new problems that can result in homelessness, depression or addiction. FSA therapists provide comprehensive therapy for every member of a foster or adoptive family as well as reunited biological families. FSA and Buckelew Programs together have services for transition-age youth ages 16-25 years to help bridge the journey to adulthood.
Parenting and Single Parenting
Parenting is a challenging responsibility regardless of when someone becomes a mother or father. Becoming a teenage or young adult parent can thrust a person into those challenges before there’s time to develop adult perspectives. FSA provides individual and family counseling as well as the Parent Partner Home Visiting Program, group opportunities for young Latina mothers suffering from postpartum depression, and Parenting Apart for separated or divorced parents.
Academic and Work Stress
College can be tremendously stressful and the pressure of a new job can be overwhelming. FSA provides one-on-one therapy to help young adults face the competitive pressures of college, transition from college to the work force and navigate the first steps in a career.
Transition Issues to Adulthood
The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be overwhelming, particularly if mental health issues, substance abuse or early trauma are part of that transition. FSA therapists provide individualized therapy that helps make this transition productive and positive, and prevents new challenges from creating obstacles for a healthy, well adjusted adulthood.