Understanding Teenage Outpatient Programs

Stressed teenage girl hugs her knees while talking to mental health therapist

Adolescence can be a challenge. Between educational requirements, social pressures and peer relationships, it comes as no surprise that teenagers often struggles with their mental health.

If you’re a concerned parent looking for age-appropriate mental health treatment options, outpatient programs may be a beneficial option. 

At Branches Lewisville, formerly the Excel Center of Lewisville, we understand the looking into mental health treatment can be a confusing and, at times, overwhelming journey. That’s why we’ve put together all the essential information you need to better understand adolescent outpatient programs.

Common Mental and Behavioral Health Issues in Adolescents

Teenagers may struggles with a variety of mental health and behavioral health challenges. They may include: 


Depression is a common mental illness among adolescents. It may include intense and continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that once brought joy. Depression symptoms in adolescents may include: 

  • Change in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and dread
  • Thoughts of self-harm

Anxiety disorders

As teenagers navigate the many challenges of growing up, anxiety disorders are a common mental health challenges they may face. Anxiety disorders can cause feelings of excessive worry and fear. They can also led to avoiding certain situations or activities, which may in turn cause social isolation and withdrawal.

Substance use and addiction

Adolescents is, for many teenagers, a time of experimentation. Drug and alcohol use may evolve into a substance use disorder and addition. This can have significant negative effects on their physical and mental health, especially since their bodies are still developing. 

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention-deficiet hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioral health disorder that often begins in childhood and continues into adolescence. Adolescents with ADHD may struggle with behaviors such as impulsivity, inattention and hyperactivity. This, in turn, can affect their academic performance and relationships.

What Are Adolescent Outpatient Programs?

Adolescent outpatient programs are a type of mental health service where teenagers receive care (usually in a psychiatric facility or hospital) in a structured and compassionate environment. At the end of each session, patients in outpatient programs are able to return home. This is unlike inpatient programs, which require patients to live on-site while receiving care. 

Overall, there are two types of outpatient programs for adolescents: intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). These programs vary in session frequency, duration and intensity.

At Branches Lewisville, for example, children and adolescents in our intensive outpatient program meet Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Our partial hospitalization program, on the other hand, meets on those same days but continues until 3:00 p.m.

Given the duration of PHPs, food is typically provided and adolescents will participate in academic classes to make up for missed time from school.

Are Adolescent Outpatient Programs Different From Adult Ones?

Adolescent outpatient programs and adult outpatient programs differ in several ways. This includes:

Approach to treatment

Outpatient programs for adolescent approach treatment from the unique perspective of the challenges teenagers face. This include considerations for developmental needs, emotional challenges and social factors specific to teenagers. 

Treatment techniques

Adolescent outpatient programs may also differ in the treatment techniques that are used. For example, outpatient programs tailored to adolescents may highlight family therapy, while in adults programs this component may not be as popular. 

Family involvement

As mentioned, outpatient programs for adolescents typically put more emphasis on family involvement. Adolescent outpatient programs typically involve parents or guardians in the treatment process. This may include family therapy sessions, educational workshops and support groups for parents. 

Environmental considerations

Finally, adolescent outpatient programs also include environmental factors for your child’s care. For example, Branches Lewisville’s IOP and PHP provide charter school to ensure that your child’s educational needs are still met while receiving treatment. 

Are Outpatient Programs for Teenagers Effective?

Research shows that outpatient programs can be effective for teenagers. They may help your teen reduce distressing symptoms, improve problem-solving and coping abilities and enhance social skills and overall well-being.

Outpatient programs also enable adolescents to surround themselves with peers facing similar challenges. We believe that peer support can play a vital role in the recovery process. 

Furthermore, outpatient programs can help strengthen family bonds. By taking an active role in your teenager’s mental health treatment, parents can improve communication with their chnild and take actionable steps in supporting them on their journey to mental wellness. 

Remember, outpatient programs are not one-size-fits-all. We recommend talking to a mental health professional to find an appropriate outpatient program for your teen.

Building Happier Tomorrows

When considering mental health treatment for your adolescent, it’s important to be as informed as possible.

Branches Lewisville, formerly known as the Excel Center of Lewisville, is an outpatient-only psychiatric facility to children and adolescents ages 5-18. Serving youths in the Lewisville, Texas area, our exceptional staff takes pride and care in your adolescent’s mental well-being.

If you’d like to learn more of what Branches Lewisville can do for your teenager’s mental health needs, do not hesitate to contact us at 972-906-5522 for a complimentary assessment.

If you think you or your child is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or get to the nearest emergency room.

For medical emergencies, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.