Adolescents can be extremely moody and emotional. Most of the time this is completely normal — growing up is tough, and the teenage years are probably the most difficult because of the sudden landslide of new external pressures and internal changes that the teen experiences. There is a point, however, where angry outbursts go beyond normal growing pains and turn into a problem. If left unresolved, anger issues can disrupt an adolescent’s ability to perform scholastically, cause legal issues, and damage relationships with family and friends. These issues can lead to a teen isolating themselves, or worse — hurting themselves or others.
Anger issues can have long-term effects, as well. Teens whose anger issues remain unresolved are at risk for developing lifelong maladaptive patterns or unhealthy coping mechanisms. These patterns become more difficult to reverse as a person grows older, and can lead to serious problems as an adult, such as drug dependence or domestic violence.
Early intervention helps teens learn healthy methods to cope with their anger and can provide an important step toward resolving the issues that form a basis for anger issues. In the face of the overwhelming pressures that your adolescent child faces every day, it may seem like a good idea to delay addressing these anger issues until a more convenient time. Delay, however, can only make things more difficult later. As anger becomes more ingrained in the teen’s personality, it becomes more and more difficult to get to the root of the problem and resolve the issue. That’s why early intervention is such a powerful tool — it attempts to resolve the problem at its root before adulthood.
Treatments for teenage anger issues vary greatly. There are several factors that will affect the type of treatment that is recommended to treat the anger issues. These include, but are not limited to:
- Medical diagnosis
- Extent of symptoms
- Age, health, medical history
- Your preference(s)
- Your child’s response to clinical/behavioral intervention
- Your child’s response to certain medication(s) and/or therapies
There are many types of treatment, and many different schools of thought when attacking particular common teenage anger issues. Ultimately, the approach that you take toward treatment is your decision.
MEDICATION (DEPENDING ON DIAGNOSIS)
Depending on your child’s diagnosis, he or she may be prescribed medication to help with any underlying diagnosis he or she receives. Medication is commonly used as a supplement to other types of therapy. Some teens who are diagnosed with depression are too young for certain antidepressants; some teens with ADHD do not respond as well to stimulant medications. It’s important to find a mental healthcare provider who has a lot of experience working with teens to ensure that your child receives adequate treatment.
ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASSES
In addition to psychotherapy sessions, your child’s healthcare provider may suggest anger management classes. These classes cover effective, healthy coping mechanisms to help your teen recognize angry feelings and deal with his or her anger in-the-moment. Your child may learn breathing techniques, relaxation skills, and proper ways to express angry feelings to others.
Sometimes, when traditional talk therapy isn’t enough, a residential treatment program may be helpful for your teen. Sending your child away for treatment can be difficult, but treatment can be much more intense and much more effective when the adolescent is taken out of his or her comfort zone and placed in a situation where they are forced (seemingly) to rely on themselves for survival.