New Dimensions Day Treatment Centers

At Risk Teenagers and the Start of the School Year

Aug 9, 2018 | Adolescent Treatment, Mental Health

The start of the school year can be stressful as parents and teenagers adjust to the demands of school and the increase in extracurricular activities. While most teenagers adjust relatively quickly, some teenagers really struggle to transition back into the school environment.  For example, when teenagers begin High School they may struggle initially to adjust to the size of the school, the change in friends, the pace of school, or the demands of the school work. For most teenagers, this struggle is short-lived as they develop a new routine and establish new friendships. Other teenagers, however, may not adjust to the added stress of school and may end up in crisis.  Some of the common reasons that this occurs are:

  • Anxiety – Some teenagers struggle with anxiety in social situations. They may feel inadequate and try to avoid school to avoid the anxiety that they feel.
  • Substance abuse – Many teenagers try drugs for the first time during the summer months. In addition, many teenagers who are already using drugs or alcohol often tend to increase their usage during the summer. As the summer progresses, the intensity and frequency of the parties may also progress. As a result, some teenagers are ill-prepared to shift from “getting high” to studying.
  • Low self-esteem – Teenagers with low self-esteem may struggle to make friends or excel in the school environment.
  • DepressionTeenagers that struggle with depression often struggle to function in school. They may express feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness and may become tearful or suicidal when they feel “forced” to go to school.
  • PTSD – Teenagers that have experienced trauma may struggle when school starts. This may occur because of “triggers” that remind them of the traumatic event or because the added stress begins to overwhelm their coping skills.

If your teenager continues to struggle after the first 3 weeks of school, it could be a sign that they are in crisis and they may need help. It is useful to remember that most teenagers adjust relatively quickly to being back in school and that most teenagers are not drinking or doing drugs. So, if your teenager is really struggling to adjust to the school environment, don’t wait to get them help. The earlier that you intervene, the earlier you can get them back on the right path.

New Dimensions Can Help!

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.