As summer breezes turn cool and crisp and trees take on various shades of red and gold, your thoughts likely turn to pumpkin carving, steaming mugs of hot apple cider, and making plans to celebrate upcoming holidays with family and friends.
If you are the parent of a child struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or self-harm, you may be considering postponing your child’s treatment until after the holiday season. Maybe you plan on making treatment your number one priority after the start of the new year. While it’s quite understandable that parents might want to postpone treatment until after the holiday season, it’s important to know that fall could be the best time to seek treatment for your child’s mental health disorder.
Prompt Treatment Increases the Odds of Recovery
Mental health disorders are more common than most parents realize. Up to 25 percent of children, teens, and young adults experience some form of mental health disorder during any given year. While the exact cause of mental health issues remains a mystery, research suggests mental illness is caused by any combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Although it’s quite natural for parents to initially believe postponing treatment is in their child’s best interest, the best time to get mental health treatment is now. Mental illness changes the way teens, children, and young adults interpret their environment and interact with the world around them. The sooner treatment is initiated, the better the odds of a full recovery.
Delaying Treatment Can Have Significant Consequences
Some of the more commonly diagnosed mental health conditions affecting our nation’s young people include anxiety and depressive disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, self-harm, and oppositional defiant disorder. Without successful treatment, your child’s physical and emotional health could continue to decline, potentially impacting their transition to adulthood. Just a few of the many potential consequences of delaying mental health treatment could include:
- Intensification of symptoms and treatment complications
- Inability to focus on education or academic performance
- Further withdrawal from family, friends, and social interaction
- Increased feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, or guilt
- Worsening of physical symptoms, including digestive disturbances, heart palpitations, or headaches.
- Significant changes in sleeping patterns or eating habits that intensify other symptoms
- Abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or cope with symptoms
- Increased preoccupation with self-harm or suicidal thoughts
Unfortunately, as many as 80 percent of children and adults living with mental health disorders don’t get the treatment and follow-up support they need to recover. Mental health problems in adolescence become increasingly complex as young people transition through adolescence and adulthood.
The Benefits of Beginning Treatment in the Fall
Although mental health disorders are fairly common in teens and young adults, the first signs of mental illness often begin much younger. If your child is showing signs of emotional struggle, if you recognize symptoms of increasing anxiety, loss of self-esteem, changes in appetite, or other signs of a potential mental health disorder, it’s important to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. While many parents are initially hesitant to have their child begin a treatment program during the school year, seeking treatment in the fall has significant benefits. Consider the value of the following examples:
Reducing the Impact of Treatment on Education
Mental health treatment does not have to derail your child’s education. Many families choose to begin treatment in the fall to take advantage of the time their child is scheduled to be on Thanksgiving break. By planning for an absence around Thanksgiving, students miss less school. Addressing educational concerns with academic advisors and student health services can help minimize the impact of lost classroom time and help your student transition back to the classroom.
Utilizing Insurance Benefits by Year’s End
For many families, insurance deductibles are already satisfied by the time fall rolls around. Most Insurance policies reset at the beginning of the year. With the new year quickly approaching, fall treatment allows your family to take full advantage of your health insurance plan before January 1st. If you’ve been setting aside money for medical expenses with a Flexible Savings Account, you may be required to spend a majority of the funds by the first of the year or risk losing your contribution. While your employer is required to allow a short grace period or roll $500 to the following year, the money set aside in your flex account could contribute to the cost of your child’s treatment.
Learning Skills to Help Navigate the Holiday Season
Most families commemorate the holidays with noisy family gatherings, hectic schedules, and high expectations. For many young people, these well-intentioned holiday traditions and family gatherings are particularly stressful. Many young people living with mental health disorders find that holiday gatherings heighten anxiety levels, trigger obsessive thoughts, and intensify their struggles. That’s why it’s essential to get children into treatment before potentially stressful holidays begin. Beginning mental health treatment in the fall allows you and your child the opportunity to learn coping mechanisms, combat stress, and identify situations that trigger overwhelming thoughts.
Early Detection and Intervention to Support Long-Term Recovery
Early detection and intervention dramatically improve your child’s chance of long-term recovery. At Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program, we’ve helped thousands of young people in our residential and outpatient facilities understand and deal with their disorder with personalized treatment plans. Children receiving treatment in our residential programs benefit from the services of our Academic Liaison.
Academic Liaisons work with your child’s school to ensure your student can continue their education during treatment. Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program specifically designates 20 hours during the week for your child to study and work on classroom assignments. Keeping up with schoolwork during treatment helps keep your child’s education on track.
For a confidential consultation, call 844-987-0440 or fill out the Contact Form found at the bottom of our home page.
For mental health disorders, we believe teens and adolescents need specialized treatment. Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program’s nation-wide treatment facilities address the complex medical, psychological, and neurobiological complications associated with mental health disorders. We guide patients and their families through every phase of treatment and recovery. With a 20-year legacy of clinical excellence, Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program’s Treatment Centers are considered the gold standard for mental health, eating disorder, and substance abuse recovery programs.