If you are worried that your teenager may be stressed out, look for the warning signs below.
- Sleep disturbance – Teens that are experiencing significant stress often struggle with their sleep. They may sleep too much or too little or may sleep at irregular intervals. For example, if your teen comes home from school and sleeps the afternoon away, this could be a sign of stress or depression.
- Changes in relationships with siblings – If there is a dramatic increase in the number or severity of arguments between siblings then stress may be taking its toll. Look for an increase in bossy, controlling, avoiding, or critical behaviors.
- Disturbance in eating patterns – This could include binging, especially on high-calorie foods. Some kids have an overall decrease in appetite while others begin to “emotionally eat” to manage the stress.
- Increase in negative statements about self/others/world – Kids who are stressed often feel overwhelmed and hopeless. They may begin to verbalize statements such as:
- “I don’t care.”
- “Why try, it doesn’t really matter.”
- “No one cares so why should I?”
- “You can’t trust anyone.”
- “This is stupid.”
- “The world is going to end anyway, so why try.”
- Increase in arguing with parents or authorities – Kids who are stressed often become easily agitated and may express it through arguing with those in authority.
- Increased moodiness – Teenagers can be moody even without stress. When stressed, this moodiness is often heightened.
- Changes in school behavior – If you see a drop in grades or an increase in disruptive behavior at school, it may indicate that your teen is not managing their stress in a healthy way.
- Changes in personality – An example would be an outgoing child becoming quiet and withdrawn or a quiet child suddenly becoming loud and aggressive.
- Regression to previous developmental stages – Children who are stressed often revert to old behaviors. For example, some younger kids may start bedwetting again while older kids may start testing limits again that they used to test in the past.
- Depression – If stress becomes severe or ongoing, kids may begin to experience depression. This often includes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Teens who are depressed may also become more agitated and lose interest in everything around them. They may also begin to have thoughts of suicide.
- Substance Abuse – Some teens begin to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings of stress. Unfortunately, substance abuse only tends to compound the problems and often leads to more stress at home and school.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.