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By LifeLine

7 Warning Signs Your Teen Might Be Struggling with Anxiety

7 Warning Signs Your Teen Might Be Struggling with Anxiety

Are you concerned that your teenager might be struggling with anxiety? If so, here are 7 warning signs you need to watch out for.

Teen anxiety is running rampant across the United States. In fact, one-quarter of American teenagers suffer from a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

An even more startling fact is that most kids endure the pain on their own. Only 20 percent of children and teens struggling with anxiety receive treatment.

As a loving parent, you have a desire to find out what’s going on in your child’s life. It’s also your duty to ensure they get the help they need to overcome their issues.

This article will help you spot some of the behavioral, physical, and emotional signs of teen anxiety. Keep reading to learn the key indicators.

1. Waning Academic Performance

Keep a close eye on your child’s report cards and progress reports. In some cases, low grades can indicate an issue with anxiety. This is especially the case if your child’s grades recently began plummeting.

An anxious teen may procrastinate often and miss assignments. They may eventually also begin to skip class, or even avoid school altogether.

Anxious students often have issues controlling their attention. As a result, they may not be able to reach their full academic potential.

But keep in mind that many teens struggling with anxiety still excel in school. Their academic performance often compares well to that of non-anxious teens. It usually takes them longer to complete tasks, however.

2. Difficulty Sleeping

A teenager should be getting approximately eight to 10 hours of sleep every night.

But there are many reasons why a teen might skimp on sleep. This includes the use of electronics, as blue light exposure impacts a person’s melatonin secretion. In some cases, the issue may relate to anxiety.

Not only can anxiety lead to sleep deprivation, but the reverse is true as well. Therefore, it can become a vicious cycle.

Pay close attention to your teen’s sleeping habits. Look for the following warning signs:

  • Going to bed late at night
  • Waking up late in the morning
  • Daytime sleepiness

Make sure to get all electronic devices out of the room at least half an hour before bedtime. Monitor your child’s behavior to see if it shows any improvement.

3. Social Withdrawal

Teens struggling with anxiety, particularly social anxiety disorder, often choose to isolate themselves. They do so to avoid the stress of interacting with others.

Social withdrawal often ends up feeding anxiety even more. An isolated person becomes more internalized. This causes them to focus on negative thoughts.

Anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective. As a result, anxiety sufferers may also experience difficulty creating new empathetic bonds.

See if you notice any significant shifts in your child’s social habits. Some specific behavior to look out for includes:

  • Fewer interactions with friends
  • Skipping extracurricular activities
  • Spending more time alone than usual

Sufferers of anxiety need distractions. It’s very difficult for someone to overcome anxiety on their own.

4. Unhealthy Eating Habits

It’s very common for eating disorders to accompany anxiety disorders. In fact, two-thirds of people with eating disorders also deal with anxiety during their lifetime.

Stress causes anxiety, but it also affects eating choices. High levels of stress cause people to crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. As a result, overeating may occur.

Research shows that females are more likely to use food as a coping mechanism for stress. Males, on the other hand, turn to drugs and alcohol more often.

Some people respond to stress by undereating. This tends to be a more common reaction in younger people than adults.

See if you notice any noticeable weight loss or weight gain in your teen. If so, it could signal anxiety issues.

5. Low Self-Esteem

Teens with general anxiety disorder or social anxiety may suffer from low self-esteem. But low-self esteem can also lead to other issues such as teenage depression.

If your teen has low self-esteem, they may constantly doubt their skills or knowledge. He may also go out of his way to seek approval from others.

Pay attention to how your teen perceives himself. If he puts himself down or reacts poorly to criticism, he likely has low-self esteem. This could be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

6. Panic and Anxiety Attacks

A panic attack is a symptom of panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. Despite what many people think, this condition is different from an anxiety attack.

Anxiety attacks usually occur gradually as a response to a stressful situation. Panic attacks, on the other hand, occur without warning, and they’re often accompanied by a fear of death.

Still, panic attacks and anxiety attacks share many of the same symptoms. Here are a few of the most common ones you should look out for:

  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Throat tightness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Issues with breathing
  • Nausea
  • Fear
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling

If you notice your teen exhibiting signs of a panic or anxiety attack, get him to a doctor.

7. Mood Swings

It’s normal for your teen’s emotions to change as he reacts to different events. However, if his emotions shift in the blink of an eye, it may indicate mood swings. And mood swings can sometimes be a sign of anxiety.

Neurotransmitters and hormones both play a role in anxiety. An imbalance in these chemicals can also cause mood swings. The more severe the imbalance, the worse your teen’s mood swing can be.

How to Help a Teen Struggling with Anxiety

Finding out whether your teen has anxiety is only the first step. From here, you have to take action before it’s too late.

Avoid waiting for your child to “grow out of it.” This is a dangerous mindset, as anxiety may eventually affect his school performance and open the door for drug addiction. Both of these outcomes can have a severely negative impact his future.

Therefore, if you know your teen is struggling with anxiety, do something about it as early as possible. Talk to him calmly and offer viable solutions. Let him know that he has your support.

Are you ready to make a positive change in your child’s life? If so, contact us for a free consultation!

By LifeLine

Teen Suicide, Risk Factors, and Intervention Measures

Teen Suicide

Nothing is more devastating for a family or community than to lose a young person to teen suicide. Oftentimes, parents, classmates, siblings, and neighbors are left wondering whether they could have done anything to prevent the spiraling of suicide thoughts and ultimately the death itself.

Preventing tragedies such as these require a proper understanding of suicide ideation and the risk factors pushing the teen to a point of attempted suicide. That said, the reasons for attempted suicide in teens can be quite complex. In general, the rate of suicide attempts in children is much lower, but as they progress to become adolescents, the rate goes up sharply.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide ranks third among the leading causes of death in the United States for people aged between 15 and 24 years.  (Check out this article: Report shows Utah youth suicides jumps 141%)

The risk of suicide has been shown to dramatically increase in instances where teens have access to firearms. Statistics reveal that 60% of all the suicides in the United States are gun related. Therefore, parents and guardians with guns in their homes should ensure they are unloaded and safely locked out of reach of teens.

Apart from access to firearms, overdose resulting from over-the-counter prescriptions and self-medication are among the leading methods through which teens attempt and complete suicides. In terms of gender, there is a stark difference between girls and boys. While the rate of girls attempting suicide is twice that of boys, it has been found that completed suicide cases are 4 times higher in boys than in girls. This has been attributed to the use of more lethal methods including hanging, firearms, or jumping from extreme heights. Hormones, depression, and social peer pressure are large factors.

The Teens at Risk for Suicide

The area between childhood and adulthood can be quite a gray area for teens, and a confusing one at that. Even though it has been cited as a period of tremendous possibilities, if not well managed, this bridge from childhood to adulthood can be a source of stress and worry. Many teens struggle to fit in socially, act responsibly, and perform well academically. This pressure can be overwhelming if left unchecked.

Nowadays, a majority of teenagers tend to explore their sexual identity through relationships and because of the fact that they are still growing in maturity, such explorations can result into conflicts. With rules and expectations at every corner they turn to, teens may feel that their independence and self-identity is under attack.

As pointed out at the beginning, suicide attempts are driven by a cocktail of interrelated factors. Some of the commonly cited push factors of suicide ideation include:

Psychological Disorders – This may include depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and bipolar disorders. It is said that close to 95% of people suffer from a psychological disorder at the point of committing suicide. 

Feelings of irritation, agitation, and distress.  

Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness which are oftentimes followed by depression. 

Inadequate support network, feelings of social isolation, and poor relationships with peers or parents.

 Previous suicide attempts. 

A family history of suicide or depression. 

Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

 

Warning Signs of Suicide

After a period of moodiness or excessive sadness, a teen who becomes calm could be giving a sign that he has come to a point of taking his life. In most instances, they will withdraw from the rest of the family or peers and choose to be alone. You may notice a gradual loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. The withdrawal could also portend depression which is one of the leading causes of suicide.

Sudden Calmness and Withdrawl

After a period of moodiness or excessive sadness, a teen who becomes calm could be giving a sign that he has come to a point of taking his life. In most instances, they will withdraw from the rest of the family or peers and choose to be alone. You may notice a gradual loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. The withdrawal could also portend depression which is one of the leading causes of suicide.

Changes in Personality and Behavior

A person contemplating suicide may exhibit a change either sudden or gradual, of behavior and attitude. They may speak or move with unusual slowness or speed and to some extent, they may be less concerned about their personal appearance. Because this trait is associated with addictions as well as “typical” teen behavior, we recommend consulting with one of the professionals at Lifeline For Youth.

When the change in personality is accompanied by self-harmful behavior such as reckless driving, increase intake of drugs, or engaging in other risky behaviors, may serve as an indicator that the teen in question doesn’t value life as much.

When the change in personality is accompanied by self-harmful behavior such as reckless driving, increase intake of drugs, or engaging in other risky behaviors, may serve as an indicator that the teen in question doesn’t value life as much.

Teens Who Threaten Suicide

This is a rather direct warning sign. It has been established that about 50 to 75% of people who contemplate suicide may confide or give a hint to a friend or relative. That said, it must be pointed out that not everyone considering suicide will give a red flag and not all those who threaten suicide actually follow through to complete it. That notwithstanding, any threats of suicide should be carefully and seriously followed up.

Hopelessness

Any teenager showing a deep sense of hopelessness either concerning the future or their present circumstances must be carefully observed. With little expectations of improvement, a majority of teenagers consider suicide as a solution to end it all.

Suicide Intervention

Whenever you spot suicide warning signs you should act with haste to arrest any thought processes that could be fueling the impending suicide attempt. The first step is talking to them about suicide. You don’t have to be direct in this, but you can simply show them that you care. Often suicide attempts are a call for help. This will open an opportunity for them to express their feelings and it could give them the relief they long for.

Be attentive, empathetic, patient, and non-judgmental as you engage them. Try as much as possible not to blame them or argue with them as this may escalate the problem.

You can also offer help and support by talking with the professional counselors at Lifeline For Youth. Do all you can to encourage them to make positive life changes and continue your support even after the visible signs of suicide are long gone. For more information about our services don’t hesitate to call us today. The life you may save is worth it.

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By LifeLine

Teenage Depression

Teen Depression

Teen depression and anxiety are very real things. We at Lifeline For Youth want to make sure you have some of the facts you need to know about how to help your teen with depression or anxiety.
 
Let’s break down some fact and fiction about these conditions and learn how to identify depression in teens and how to help your teen deal with anxiety.

"Depression is just being sad or bummed out"

FALSE!!

Recognizing teen depression isn’t only about being sad is the first step to awareness. Teen depression symptoms can often present in many ways such as lack of energy, too much or too little sleep, restlessness, irritability, change in appetite, drop in grades or attendance at school, hostility , frequent bouts of crying or tearfulness, changes in eating habits, hopelessness, and substance abuse. Because so many of these symptoms are present during adolescence, to begin with it may be harder for a parent or loved one to understand the link between these behaviors. At Lifeline For Youth, our skilled professionals have been helping teens for over 27 years and know how to recognize symptoms of teen depression.

"Depression will go away on its own."

FALSE!!

Unlike the normal ups and downs of the teenage mood swings, depression can become a battle that lasts for weeks, months and in worse cases, years. So many factors can contribute to and fuel depression in a time of life that is typified by its own precariousness. Getting help for your teen if you suspect depression is vital to overcoming it. Help is necessary, and ignoring the symptoms won’t make it go away.

"Depression can lead to suicide."

TRUE!!

Rates of teen suicide and teen depression are inseparably intertwined. In an article from Healthychildren.org, we learn that suicide is no less than the third most prevalent cause of teen death in America, extending from ages 15 through 24. We also know that studies show 90% of all suicides are among teens who suffer from one or more of: depression, anxiety issues, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or other behavioral issues.

Check out this article: Report shows Utah youth suicides jumps 141%

"Depression is a mental disorder."

TRUE!!

Calling depression “moodiness” is like calling a landfill “messy”. Because of the complexities of the human brain, we are learning new information on its function every day. By classing depression as a mental disorder, it is differentiated from an illness or sickness in that it is simply out of the norm in terms of normal brain function.

"If you've had depression once, you'll always have it."

FALSE!!

Depression is very treatable and comes with a good success rate with proper professional intervention. While sadly, up to 75% of teens that experience depression will experience it later on in their lives, treatment is available.

Treatment for teen depression includes and depends on a support system that will teach your child how to overcome and prevent thinking that could lead to relapses. At Lifeline for Youth, we have a 97% satisfaction rate with our teens and their families.

"Depressed teens are still social."

TRUE!!

Although teens are more commonly noted for their highly un-social personas, it’s actually false. Because parents see a withdrawal and separation from a lot of the authority figures in the child’s life, it is assumed that teens adopt a uniformly solitary introverted existence. In reality they are more likely to remain friends with peers they feel comfortable with and simply become more selective in their associations. This is one of the significant differences between adult depression and teen depression.

"Depression is just something adults get."

FALSE!!

Most adults tend to forget the struggles of childhood because they’re busy navigating adulthood, and specifically adulthood with teens. National statistics put 3 million teenagers from 12-17 on the map for experiencing a depressive episode in 2015, with a staggering 2 million that experienced a serious depression that affected their daily functionality.

We are sadly mistaken if we think that only adults experience stress levels that lead to struggles with depression or mood disorders.

"Anxiety comes from worrying too much."

FALSE!!

Anxiety is a complex issue and experts warn about putting anxiety into a cause and effect statement. While it includes many triggers, anxiety can often have no apparent trigger at all. Exercising, being dehydrated, and sometimes just thinking about having a panic attack can bring one on.

"Anxiety and Depression are pretty much the same things."

FALSE!!

While the symptoms of anxiety and depression in teens are similar and include many of the same traits, they are separate. People who suffer from depression often have a history of anxiety issues. To say that one causes the other would be inaccurate, but many people including teens often struggle with both.

"Anxiety is made up. It's just in their head."

FALSE!!

Anxiety involves neurotransmitters, hormones, and results in physical problems. Because the brain can be over-sensitized to stimuli that trigger adrenaline, the fight or flight mechanism, and the subsequent bodily reactions are very real. If treating anxiety were easy as responding to triggers with logical thought processes, there would be no need for professional intervention.

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"Anxiety symptoms can include dizziness, chest pains, and diarrhea."

TRUE!!

Because we don’t see a psychological disorder the same way we would see and recognize a physical disorder, we tend to diminish its significance in a person’s life. This is what makes recognizing teen anxiety difficult because most of the symptoms of teen anxiety are internal. The effects of anxiety may be silent, but they are a very real response to the chemical, emotional, and thought imbalances in your child.

"The only way to deal with depression and enxiety is medication."

FALSE!!

There are many times when medications can be very helpful, and they certainly have their place. Because some medications can offer serious long-term side effects, including triggering and over sensitizing to attacks of anxiety and even addiction later on, a large array of treatment options are considered. Rest assured that LifeLine for Youth will work with you to treat your loved one with the utmost care and respect, including alternatives to medications.

Bottom Line...

If you suspect your teen is struggling with anxiety and/or depression call Lifeline For Youth today. With our caring and committed staff we can help with targeted teenage depression treatment, present relevant teenage anxiety, and depression solutions, and help prevent turning back to old thought and habit patterns. Your loved ones deserve it. Call for your consultation today!