Medication as a treatment for behavior problems with underlying physiological causes can often lead to dramatic improvement in affected teens. Parents often feel confused and uncomfortable with the prospect of giving their child drugs to deal with problematic behavior. However, when that behavior is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, medication can bring about profound changes in attitude and mood.
Drugs are not a quick fix for troubled adolescents. Teens who are prescribed psychiatric drugs improve most when mediations are used in conjunction with therapy and behavior modification techniques.
Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs and what they treat are:
Adderrall ADD, ADHD, Conduct Disorders
Anafranil Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (ODD)
Efflexor Depression, ADD, ADHD, Conduct Disorders
Elavil Mood Disorders (e.g., depression)
Paxil ADD, ADHD, depression
Ritalin ADD, ADHD, conduct disorders
Wellbutrin ADD, Depression, substance abuse, conduct disorders
Zoloft Eating disorders, depression
Parents who have been advised that a teenager needs medication should ask questions, do research on their own, and discuss the implications with the child’s psychiatrist and general practitioner. If you are not comfortable with a diagnosis that requires medication, seek out second or third opinions. You can proactively seek out psychological and psychiatric testing to confirm or rule out any diagnoses. Some drugs have more long-term effects than others. Remember that drugs are not a cure-all. If your child can be effectively treated through cognitive or experiential forms of therapy, parents should seek out these solutions.
If your research leads you to conclude that your teenager does indeed need medication, doctors can help alleviate some of your concerns and advise you about any side effects your teen might expect to experience. By educating yourself and your child, the transition onto medication will go more smoothly, and you will be well aware of any issues that can develop that might be attributed to this treatment.
Aspen Education Group has a number of programs that can help treat pre-adolescent and adolescent children that may require medication. These intensive programs can help your child on a positive life path.
Youthcare and Pine Ridge Academy has an intensive residential therapy program that is very effective in treating adolescents and teenagers struggling with self-defeating behaviors. This program is for adolescent boys and girls. Students receive therapy sessions and academics, that include recreational therapy and behavior modification, if necessary. Talk to a program representative for more information.
Passages to Recovery is an intervention program whose primary focus is to treat addictions and substance abuse problems. Participants also work on many personal issues and self-defeating behaviors that are preventing them from living a full and healthy life. The program assists students in confronting their fears in a supportive, emotionally safe milieu. Talk to a program representative for more information.
Our Assessment Test can help you determine if a residential program might be best for your particular child.