Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents
More About Thought Disorder

Having trouble with mental clarity from time to time is normal. After a stressful day, it isn’t uncommon to have brain fog or be at a loss for words. After too many hours without sleep, some people may begin to speak incoherently. These temporary cognitive disturbances do not usually indicate anything other than the fact that the brain needs resting time. 

However, if symptoms of incoherence begin to persist without logical explanation, this may be a thought disorder. Teens and adolescents who have persistent thought disorder symptoms can benefit from treatment.

Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

What is a Thought Disorder?

Thought disorder is defined as a disturbance in cognitive ability. This disturbance affects one’s ability to think, speak, and communicate clearly.  To be medically diagnosed as a thought disorder, a doctor will check for the frequency and severity of these disturbances.

Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents
Diagnosis of Thought Disorders

There are several tests that doctors can perform to help determine whether a thought disorder diagnosis is appropriate. Other mental and behavioral health conditions can cause thought problems. Therefore there will likely be tests for any potential cause the doctor suspects may be behind a thought disorder.

Thought disorders themselves are typically diagnosed with the aid of two tests:

Rorschach Inkblots

The famous Rorschach inkblot tests involve patients looking at a series of inkblots and describing what they see. The Rorschach test is helpful because it allows medical professionals to see how patients interpret the world around them relatively unbiased. Someone with disordered thinking will focus more attention on relatively minor details of the image.

Thought Disorder Index

 Formed mainly from observations of the Rorschach tests used to evaluate thought disorders. The Thought Disorder Index is a series of 23 categories of thought disturbance. Each class is assigned a severity scale, depending on how much the patient exhibits behaviors in that category. This comprehensive method can catch thought disturbances that other methods may miss.

Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

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Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

Benefits of Thought Disorder Treatment

The cognitive disturbances that lead to disordered thinking can make even simple tasks challenging. They can strain a person’s ability to interact meaningfully with others. Thought disorder treatment aims to alleviate some of these problems. The primary aim is to allow the patient to better respond to the disturbances they’re experiencing.

Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

What Is Thought Disorder Treatment Used For?

Several types of thought disorders and conditions are associated with thought disorders. Treatment for each state will involve improving the disordered thoughts and any symptoms specific to a given situation. 

The American Psychological Association has listed some of the common types of thought disorders a person might experience:

is when a person has reduced thought productivity. The patient often exhibits speech that is incoherent or vague.

are words invented by the patient that are meaningless or lack any clear origin.

This is any persistent thinking or verbal expression that is delusional or lacks logic.

When a person creates incomprehensible sentences consisting of words with loosened connections to their actual meaning.

Thought Disorder Treatment for Adolescents

How Thought Disorder Treatment Works

There are many forms of thought disorder, and each person will be affected by the condition differently. This means each person brings a unique set of needs to help them cope with their disordered thinking. During thought disorder treatment, those needs will be identified. Professionals will also help adolescents learn to deal with their cognitive disturbances.


Depending on the type of thought disorder a person has, doctors may prescribe medication to help them cope with the symptoms. Medical professionals will consider the thought disorder and any other symptoms the person is experiencing before prescribing medication. 

Medications that can be prescribed for thoughts disorders can include:


Patients with certain thought disorders are often put on antipsychotics. This category of medicine has proven effective in treating the condition.  There are over 20 antipsychotics available in the U.S. This allows doctors and patients to find one that works well for the individual.

Mood Stabilizers

Because thought disorders have been observed in patients with primary depression, anti-depressants may be prescribed. The medications help patients to think more clearly and may help to alleviate some of the confounding factors of disordered thinking.


Ideally, adolescents who suffer from anxiety disorders may exhibit extreme fear when assigned some tasks. They may also exhibit abnormal concerns when required to handle some tasks. This worry may interfere with their daily activities, making their relationships with other people more complicated.


As with many mental health conditions, psychotherapy can help teach patients to cope with the symptoms of their thought disorder. Psychotherapy can also help adolescents potentially learn to overcome their thought disorders. Two particular forms of psychotherapy may be recommended for those who need thought disorder treatment.

These types of therapy are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to teach the patient about the various cognitive distortions that cause us to think and behave in detrimental ways. By becoming aware of these distortions and recognizing them, patients can learn coping mechanisms to help them resist the distortion.

Family Counseling

An adolescent with a thought disorder can strain the whole family. The affected person may be challenging to get along with. And parents may wish to know how they can help their children through their difficulties. Family counseling can help provide the tools needed for families to work through a loved one’s thought disorder together. 

Adolescent Thought Disorder Treatment in Massachusetts

Thought disorders in adolescents can be challenging diagnoses and affect daily life. Thought disorders affect how a teen can process information, communicate, and behave. With treatments like medications and therapy, reduction in thought disorder symptoms is possible.

The Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness (MCAW) offers thought disorder treatment to young people. We understand that each case brings unique challenges, and each adolescent is different. At MCAW, we provide a treatment plan that helps teens cope with their condition in a supportive and judgment-free environment. We also treat a variety of other mental health disorders and are committed to supporting your teenager.  

Clinically Reviewed by:

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Melanie Carbonneau is the Clinical Director at Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness and is a licensed counselor and certified music therapist with a Ph.D. from Lesley University. She leads MCAW with a focus on holistic care, emphasizing the importance of family and community involvement in the healing process.