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How To Deal With A Teenager With Anxiety And Depression

Healthy Coping Mechanisms For Teens

How To Deal With Teenage Anxiety And Depression | Teens 101 | Real Families

Any coping mechanism that makes you feel better without having to resort to bad or harmful coping mechanisms could be considered a healthy coping mechanism but here are some that are directly related to better health.

  • Going for a peaceful walk: Throw on some headphones or just enjoy the sounds of your surroundings, either way, taking a walk is a very healthy coping mechanism because it gives you a chance to disconnect from things, take some time to yourself, and its good for your mind and your body.
  • Spending time at the park: Is there a park near you, or even an area with a few trees and a table or bench? Some time in nature, whether youre on a woodsy trail, sitting near a body of water, or anywhere else that feels calming,
  • Intense exercise: A walk or a stroll in the park is always nice, but many people feel great after an intense workout. Exercise can be a good way to get your mind off things, especially when youre in the middle of an intense workout where all you can really think about is finding the willpower to keep going. You can forget about lifes problems, forget about the things that are stressing you, forget about whatever makes you feel angry or anxious, and just dedicate yourself to the exercise.

Helping Kids With Depression Get Treatment

Some teens will want to go to therapy when you ask them and some wont. For those who are resistant, know that they arent going to suddenly open up to the idea of therapy quickly, but you can help guide them towards treatment by opening the door and then waiting patiently for them to walk through it.

Try saying, I know youre having a hard time, and I have some ideas of things that could help. If youd like to talk with me about them, let me know. Im here for you. Its also a good idea to ask them if they has any suggestions on how you might be able to help. You might be surprised with what they have to say.

Be aware that your teen might tell you to back off. Thats fine its their way albeit a slightly irritable one of telling you that they need space. Its normal for teenagers to want independence, and its important for you to respect that. You can respond by saying, Ill give you more space, but know that Im here for you if you ever want to talk or hear my suggestions.

If they do come to you wanting help, be prepared. Do your research. Find two or three therapists they can interview and tell them that they can choose the one that they feel most comfortable with, and think will help the most. Finding a therapist who is a good fit is extremely important, and making the choice theirs will help them feel ownership over their own treatment, which is extremely important to teens and sets the stage for effective therapy.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Lastly, its important to make sure that youre taking care of yourself. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting to be a parent of someone who is struggling with depression. Know that you are not alone, and get support for yourself. Make sure that you make time to do things you enjoy and go out with friends. The phrase: happy mommy = happy baby still applies!

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Tip : Make Physical Health A Priority

Physical and mental health are inextricably connected. Depression is exacerbated by inactivity, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Unfortunately, teens are known for their unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating junk food, and spending hours on their phones and devices. But as a parent, you can combat these behaviors by establishing a healthy, supportive home environment.

Get your teen moving!Exercise is absolutely essential to mental health, so get your teen activewhatever it takes. Ideally, teens should be getting at least an hour of physical activity a day, but it neednt be boring or miserable. Think outside the box: walking the dog, dancing, shooting hoops, going for a hike, riding bikes, skateboardingas long as theyre moving, its beneficial.

Set limits on screen time. Teens often go online to escape their problems, but when screen time goes up, physical activity and face time with friends goes down. Both are a recipe for worsening symptoms. Gently encourage your teen to take an occasional vacation from their devices or engage in family activities that dont involve screen time. You can also set an example by reducing your own time spent online.

Encourage plenty of sleep.Teens need more sleep than adults to function optimallyup to 9-10 hours per night. Make sure your teen isnt staying up until all hours at the expense of much-needed, mood-supporting rest.

Treatments For Anxiety And Depression

How to Identify Anxiety in Adolescents and to Talk to Them ...

Fortunately, early involvement of health care professionals can shorten the period of illness and increase the likelihood of her not missing important life lessons.

The most common treatment a mental health professional is apt to use is some form of cognitive behavioral therapy, and depending on how young the child is, it may involve teaching the parents as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that a person suffering from a mood disorder is trapped in a negative pattern of thought. Depressed kids tend to evaluate themselves negatively, interpret the actions of others in a negative way, and assume the darkest possible outcome of events. Similarly, a child suffering from anxiety is overwhelmed by fears of negative outcomes long before events occur. In CBT, we teach sufferers to challenge those negative thoughts, to recognize the pattern and train themselves to think outside it. And in many cases we see real improvement in teenagers with depression and anxiety.

If the anxiety or depression is moderate to severe, treatment may involve medications such as antidepressants. For both anxiety and depression, a combination of psychotherapy and medication usually works better than either alone.

Learn more about treatment for anxiety and depression.

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Depression In Teens Vs Adults

Depression in teens can look very different from depression in adults. The following signs and symptoms are more common in teenagers than in their adult counterparts:

Irritable or angry mood. As noted, irritability, rather than sadness, is often the predominant mood in depressed teens. A depressed teenager may be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or prone to angry outbursts.

Unexplained aches and pains. Depressed teens frequently complain about physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. If a thorough physical exam does not reveal a medical cause, these aches and pains may indicate depression.

Extreme sensitivity to criticism. Depressed teens are plagued by feelings of worthlessness, making them extremely vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure. This is a particular problem for over-achievers.

Withdrawing from some, but not all people. While adults tend to isolate themselves when depressed, teenagers usually keep up at least some friendships. However, teens with depression may socialize less than before, pull away from their parents, or start hanging out with a different crowd.

Is it depression or teenage growing pains?

What Do Anxiety And Depression Look Like In Teenagers

Nanci Ginty Butler: A common sign of depression in teens is irritability and an inability to tolerate stress or adversity. Depression can also make it hard for teens to get along with their family and friends. They often isolate themselves and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Kimberly OBrien: In younger adolescents, anxiety often arises as social anxiety and fear of group situations or not performing well in or out of school. As teens approach graduation and early adulthood, the source of their anxiety can shift to fear about the future or their identities.

Signs of anxiety and depression in teensAnyone can go through a slump. Parents should take notice when their teens behavior changes abruptly or they exhibit any of the following signs for two weeks or longer: Depression inability to tolerate stress or adversity trouble getting along with people lost interest in activities panic attacks: episodes of sudden, intense fear excessive worry about social acceptance crippling concern about the future

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Depression In Children And Teenagers

Depression doesn’t just affect adults. Children and teenagers can get depressed too.

Almost 1 in 4 young people may experience depression before they are 19.

It’s important to get help early if you think your child may be depressed. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is to disrupt your child’s life and turn into a long-term problem.

Early Detection And Treatment

How to Deal with a Depressed Teen | Child Anxiety

It is crucial to address the needs of adolescents with mental health conditions. Avoiding institutionalization and over-medicalization, prioritizing non-pharmacological approaches, and respecting the rights of children in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights instruments are key for adolescents mental health.

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Help Them Get Support

While your compassion and guidance can make a big difference for your child, professional support is typically the best way to improve symptoms.

If they resist the idea of therapy at first, talking to a school counselor, family pediatrician, or favorite teacher can help them get more comfortable with the idea. They might be more willing to consider therapy when other trusted adults encourage them to reach out.

Talking over what happens in therapy can also help demystify the process. If they seem worried about being hospitalized or forced to take medication, explain that a therapist will listen to their thoughts, offer support without judgment, and help them explore ways to start feeling better.

You can also explain that while medication can help relieve severe symptoms, they have other treatment options, too.

When To Get Professional Help

Feeling down or worried happens to people of all ages, but when those feelings get in the way of your everyday life, you might need extra help. If your grades drop significantly, you cant face beneficial social activities, youre using alcohol or drugs to cope, or youre having any thoughts of harming yourself or others, consider seeking therapy or treatment.

If you need extra help, talk with your parents or guidance counselor if possible. If you dont feel comfortable doing that, you can call the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Hotline, or if youre thinking of harming yourself, the National Suicide Hotline. The best way to cope with school while youre feeling depressed or anxious is to get help for those symptoms as soon as possible.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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What To Ask Your Child

  • Take a private moment to express your concern gently and without judgement. For example: Ive noticed that youre spending more time in your room or Ive noticed that you just dont seem as happy. Can we talk about that?
  • If your child has a hard time opening up, try offering up some personal examples to start the conversation. For instance: This is what Ive been experiencing in this stressful situation. Ive been more anxious, and had a harder time thinking about the positives. Is that something youre feeling too?
  • If they dont want to talk at length about their feelings, thats okay. Get in the habit of doing a quick mood weather check, to report when theyre feeling low without the pressure to go into all the details. For example, I just want to check in on how youre feeling today, and if youre worrying about anything in particular or Scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling today?
  • If youre worried about your child, ask them directly if they ever have suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming themselves or others. If the answer is yes, get help right away. See below for how.

Teen Anxiety And Depression Are Normal

Most U.S. Teens Say Teen Anxiety and Depression Are Major ...

Apart from using statistics and the Bible to assure teens that anxiety and depression are common, one of the best ways we can normalize these problems is to talk about mental illness and other emotional disorders as common experiences in a fallen world. Speak about it around the supper table or in the car. If we are teachers or preachers, we can talk about it in the classroom, in the pulpit, or at youth groups. Look out for long-term changes in your teens behavior and moods and take opportunities to ask her whats going on in her thoughts and feelings. You could say, for example, You seem to be a bit down or troubled. Can I help in any way? To maximize the chances of your teen opening up to you, try not to come across as judgmental, critical, or scared.

Only one thing is worse than never talking about such disorders, and that is to mock, shame, or stigmatize those who suffer with them. Such a cruel and arrogant attitude will ensure that our teens will never talk to us about these challenges or seek our help. They will either bottle it up and suffer in silence, or else they will seek help from others outside of the Christian community, who may lead them astray. At worst, they may start cutting themselves to find temporary relief, or even attempt suicide as a permanent solution.

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How To Help A Teen With Depression

These ways of thinking create anxiety and stress in teens, so what can you as a parent do to help? You can start by paying attention to how you and your family handle failure and mistakes.

Research tells us convincingly that your own relationship with anxiety and uncertaintyâand how you role model this to your childâsignificantly impacts how she sees the world.

When is something good enough? How do you move on to your next task? What does your family say about screw-ups?

Now may be the time to notice and change your own response to mistakes, to sprinkle family conversation with phrases that normalize screw-ups, struggles, and imperfection.

Teens also need to hear that they arenât expected to know everything, and that they canât see into the future.

The goal is NOT to make all good decisions. The goal is to have the problem solving skills needed to adjust from the inevitable bad ones.

Flexibility is key, and this means knowing when to push harder and when to be satisfied with a less-than-perfect result. As you see your teen becoming anxious, look for opportunities to let her know that this IS a time of uncertainty, but you have confidence in her ability to problem solve along the way.

Giving advice about how you would handle things might not be as valuable as instilling a sense of autonomy in your teenâand this may mean backing off the lectures and letting her know that you are there to support her as she makes HER choices.

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