Reduce Or Eliminate Screen Time Whenever Possible
The evidence is overwhelming: Screen time is devastating for mental healthespecially in children and teens. Over the past decade, the number of children admitted to hospitals for suicidal thoughts and actions has doubled.3 And studies repeatedly link increased social media use to higher rates of depression and anxiety.4
I know its hard. Im living this unfolding nightmare with you. As a dad trying to do his best and a mental health professional, I dont allow either of my children access to personal devices. I encourage you to do the same, and to limit other forms of medialike shows and movies and video games. If you do allow them to have screens, put guardrails in place to limit their use to specific times of day for specific purposes.
Teen Anxiety And Substance Use Disorder
Teens suffering from anxiety sometimes self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They might feel that this is the only way to numb the pain and fear theyre experiencing.
At Newport Academy, we also specialize in treating substance use disorders. Teens can address both issues at once. Our professional staff has a track record of experience and success.
We offer a solution for anxious teens with substance use disorder. We can help your teen find the path forward. The goal is to leave behind both teen anxiety and drug or alcohol use.
Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
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Anxiety And Substance Use
Teenagers who are anxious may use recreational drugs, especially marijuana, as a way of coping with their discomfort. Its self-medication, notes Dr. Bubrick, and the reality is, in the short term, it works. It does alleviate anxiety and stress. It numbs it. It does shut off the worry part of your brain. But its a poor coping mechanism in the longer term, because the anxiety persists and the teenager becomes dependent on the substance.
Dr. Bubrick says what he hears about most from teenagers is that marijuana is healthier than alcohol. And now that marijuana is legal in many places and vaping is an option, its easier than ever to smoke on the street, at home or at school without adults being aware of it.
But he notes that neither is a healthy way to manage anxiety, and he urges kids not to use recreational drugs as medicine. If you have a joint in your pocket all the time and youre smoking during the day, to get through your day at school, thats no different from having a bottle of vodka in your desk drawer at work. Youre still relying on a substance to get through the day and the more you use it, the more dependent on it youll be.
How To Help Teens With Anxiety In 2020
From the uncertainty about what the coming school year will look like to feelings of loneliness brought on by being separated from their social circles, teens are coping with concerns that they have never experienced before. If your teen has 2020 anxiety, here are some tips and strategies the experts recommend.
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Risk Factors For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anyone can develop an anxiety disorder. However, factors that may increase the risk of developing GAD include:
- Temperament / personality Being prone to worry, pessimistic, timid, or reluctant to take risks
- Gender Being female is associated with a higher risk
- Family history A family history of anxiety disorders increases the risk
- Trauma Experiencing trauma as a child can cause anxiety
- Stress Highly stressful events, such as parental divorce or a sudden major move
Other Ways To Ease Anxiety In Children
- teach your child to recognise signs of anxiety in themselves
- encourage your child to manage their anxiety and ask for help when they need it
- children of all ages find routines reassuring, so try to stick to regular daily routines where possible
- if your child is anxious because of distressing events, such as a bereavement or separation, look for books or films that will help them to understand their feelings
- if you know a change, such as a house move, is coming up, prepare your child by talking to them about what is going to happen and why
- try not to become overprotective or anxious yourself
- practice simple relaxation techniques with your child, such as taking 3 deep, slow breaths, breathing in for a count of 3 and out for 3. You’ll find more guidance for helping children with anxiety on the Young Minds website
- distraction can be helpful for young children. For example, if they are anxious about going to nursery, play games on the way there, such as seeing who can spot the most red cars
- turn an empty tissue box into a “worry” box. Get your child to write about or draw their worries and “post” them into the box. Then you can sort through the box together at the end of the day or week
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How To Help Teens Suffering From Test Anxiety
Many people think that text anxiety is a joke, an excuse dreamed up by overprotective parents, pop psychologists, or entitled teens. After all, they say, everyone gets stressed about tests at school, so what? These teens just need to toughen up. This is the harmful message the world is communicating with teenagers.
But as mainstream society finally recognizes the mental health crisis in this country, the stigma around common teenage issues like depression is getting chipped away. Finally, the teenagers who struggle with test anxiety are being taken seriously.
Practical Powerful Ways To Help Manage Anxiety
Understand why it feels the way it does.
Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does will be one of your greatest tools in managing it. Think of it like this. Imagine being in a dark room that is full of stuff. When you walk around in the dark, youre going to bump into things. Youre going to scrape, bruise and maybe drop a few choice words. Turn on the light though, and those things are still there, but now you can navigate your way around them. No more bumps. No more scrapes. And no more having to hold your tongue in front of people who can confiscate your phone. Heres what you need to know
Anxiety happens because a part of your brain thinks there might be something it needs to protect you from. When this happens, it surges your body with a mix of neurochemicals , designed to make you stronger, faster, more alert and more powerful so you can fight for your life or run for it. This is the fight or flight response. Its normal and healthy and its in everyone. In people with anxiety, its just a little quicker to activate.
The amygdala acts on impulse. Its a do-er, not a thinker all action and not a lot of thought. It just wants to keep you safe, because safe is a lovely thing to be and because thats been its job since the beginning of humans. The amygdala cant always tell the difference between something that might hurt you and something that wont and it doesnt care. All it wants to do is keep you safe.
You might feel dizzy or a bit confused.
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Panic Attacks = Red Flags For Anxiety Disorder
Panic attacks, on the other hand, are more jarring and pervasive. They tend not to be a reaction to a specific stressor. Rather, panic attacks often seem unprovoked and unpredictable. During a panic attack, a teen is seized with irrational terror.
Panic attacks are so debilitating that your teen may feel like they are going to die. They might be convinced that something terrible is going to happen. If this is the case, you can comfort your child, letting them know that its going to be okay. Everything in life passes, and this will, too.
After calm is temporarily restored, its time to act. Panic attacks are often a sign of a deeper problem, such as unresolved trauma. The good news is that panic attacks and teen anxiety disorder are treatable.
Keep reading for the signs of a panic attack. Being informed can potentially alleviate some of the pain for your child.
How To Help Your Teenager With Anxiety
Anxiety is commonly felt by teenagers. It’s often a result of the constant changes they face and the pressures of impending adulthood. But when this worry and fear starts to affect their everyday life, it can cause more serious concern.
As a parent, the questions you need answers to may include anxiety symptoms in teens what should I be on the lookout for? and how do I go about helping my teenager with anxiety?.
It can be difficult to recognise when anxiety in teens turns into a condition. Its important to take the time to discuss the causes of anxiety with your teen and be aware of any changes in their behaviour that may indicate a more serious problem is at hand.
This article will provide information and practical advice to all parents dealing with teenage anxiety.
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Seeing Teen Depression For What It Is
I understand the intent: we want to prevent kids and teens from feeling guilty or ashamed when they are struggling.
We want them to understand that mental health issues like these are common and treatable. We donât want them to feel alone. But its also critical they know that their brains are malleable and changeable.
The way we think, develop, relate to others, and handle challenges are critical to good mental health and are components of our human experience that CAN be learned, unlearned, and adapted.
What you believe about yourself and how you view the world are significant factors in both the development and recovery from anxiety, depression, stress, chaotic relationships, and many other issues.
Parents can learn how to help a teen with depression when the family takes a skill-building approach.
Teens are hearing so they tell me when I ask themthat depression and anxiety are permanent, based on hard wiring and/or genetics. While there may be some genetic contribution to anxiety and depression in teens, there is no known anxiety gene or depression gene nor ANY solid scientific proof that fully explains what causes depression.
We do know that the malleability of our brains, our chemistry, and even the genetic expression of our DNA is far broader and influential than researchers believed even 10 or 15 years ago, and we know about risk factors, like trauma, isolation, and social disconnection, to name a few.
Six Signs Of Teen Anxiety Disorder
This is what happens when a teen anxiety disorder goes untreated. We cannot stress the importance of accessing help at this time. The Newport Academy treatment team can provide you with the tools you need and bring relief to you and your teen.
According to a report by the Child Mind Institute, 80% of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not getting help. Parents are the key to changing this troubling statistic.
When I came to Newport, I couldnt do anything on my own. I was barely crawling. I didnt know what it was like to actually care for myself and have respect for myself until I went to Newport. They didnt just pick me up and tell me to walk again, they taught me a new way of walkinghow to walk with my head held high.
Meg, Newport Academy Alumni
Education is a powerful tool for transformation. Newport Academy wants you to gain the knowledge you need.
Read on for an overview of the different types of teenage anxiety disorders.
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Temporary Teen Anxiety Vs Teen Anxiety Disorder
Teen anxiety affects practically every kid at one time or another. Being anxious before a big test or nervous on a first date is a normal part of growing up. However, there is a significant difference between a temporary phase of anxiety in teens and a real disorder.
As a parent, its never enjoyable to watch your child experience any form of anxiety. But a temporary phase of teen anxiety tends to pass quickly. In contrast, an anxiety disorder sticks. Your child literally becomes stuck in the negative cycle of fear for days on end. But there is a viable solution.
Anxiety In Teens Has Nothing To Do With Strength Or Courage
Your child is not a coward because he or she has an anxiety disorder. Some of the most influential people in history suffered from anxiety. Who would question the strength or courage of President Abraham Lincoln, writer John Steinbeck, actor Marlon Brando, poet Emily Dickinson, or Dr. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis? All of these remarkable people suffered from anxiety. They found a way to succeed despite the disorder.
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