Teen depression, anxiety and sadness has doubled since 2019. Many experts are pointing to the rise of internet addiction. Today teenager’s not only have the stress of schoolwork and peer pressure, they are concerned about their social media presence. If you doubt this is an issue, you are fooling yourself. Statistics have proven that teens rely on their virtual reality for many feelings of acceptance. This is why it is critical for parents to continue to have offline discussions about online reality.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real for these kids today. Even some adults have this fear. You have to look far and wide to walk down the street to find someone without their cell phone in their hand. What are some of the warnings signs that your teen could be struggling with depression or anxiety?
- Headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
- Difficulty making decisions
- Excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Risky behavior
- Rebellious behavior, defiance (more than normal)
- Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
- Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
- Sudden drop in grades (underachieving)
- Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
- Withdrawn from friends and family
- Loss of interest in their favorite hobbies or activities
The lesser known relative of depression, anxiety, afflicts people of all ages and can be especially detrimental for teenagers. It is completely normal and even common for individuals to experience anxiety, particularly during stressful periods, such as before a test or important date (think Prom).
Anxiety disorders are not fatal; however, they can severely interfere with an individual’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. The intense feelings of fear and worry often lead to a lack of sleep as it makes it very difficult for people to fall asleep. Those with anxiety disorders also commonly suffer from physical manifestations of the anxiety.
The anxiety can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even vomiting. In addition stress can cause individuals to lose their appetite or have trouble eating. One of the more difficult aspects for students to deal with is difficulty concentrating.
In addition to medication, treatments for anxiety disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy, other types of talk therapy, and relaxation and biofeedback to control muscle tension. Talk therapy can be the most effective treatment for teenagers, as they discuss their feelings and issues with a mental health professional.
Many teens find it incredibly helpful to simply talk about the stress and anxiety that they feel. Additionally, in a specific kind of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy teens actively “unlearn” some of their fear. This treatment teaches individuals a new way to approach fear and anxiety and how to deal with the feelings that they experience.
Teen depression and anxiety is treatable. It’s imperative you seek help for your child. As many parents know, sometimes your teenager can be stubborn and refuse to get help. It’s a parent’s responsibility to do what is best for them.
Finding a therapist that specializes with adolescents and connects with your son or daughter may take a few tries. Sometimes outpatient therapy works and typically finding a good peer support group is always beneficial.
If you come to a point where you have exhausted all of your local resources and you find your teen is still hitting rock bottom in darkness, you may want to consider residential therapy. This gives them a second opportunity at a bright future. It doesn’t say you or they are failures – opens up many doors for them.
Read: Goals of Boarding Schools.
If your teen is struggling with anxiety, depression or a mental health concern and local therapy isn’t helping, learn more about how residential treatment can benefit them. Contact us for more information.