Have you noticed that your teenager is not themselves lately? As much as you want to help, you might be met with a wall, blocking you from what the real issue may be. It’s possible that your child is going through something difficult internally, and feels like they may not be understood.
This is not your fault as a parent, and it’s not your fault for being uncertain in opening up. However, there are some ways that you can determine if your teen is going through some difficulties in regards to their mental health.
Staying Away from School
One of the major red flags for a teenager suffering from anxiety or other mental health problems is wanting to avoid going to school. According to a top teen anxiety therapist, a struggling teen may object to going to school or frequently call to be picked up during the day, putting the blame on stomach aches or headaches. A teen’s anxiety may disrupt their focus on what’s going on in class, shifting focus to the world around them. This could also include difficulty completing homework, or even procrastination.
These feelings of anxiety can be exacerbated by just about anything from a bad grade to possibly a bully. Teen therapy can provide an empathetic environment, with a professional who has an understanding of the struggles of teen years and is able to provide a safe space for a difficult discussion.
While it may seem like a typical teenager thing to hide in the bedroom from mom and dad, there could actually be some anxiety issues at play. If you notice that your child is avoiding interaction with friends, or is showing less interest in activities that once seemed to bring them joy, they could be dealing with anxiety or possibly depression.
These lifestyle changes can be a sensitive issue to point out to your teenager. Through individual therapy, an anxious teen may be able to use the tactics of cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, to associate these anxious feelings with moments that act as stressors.
Sometimes a teen’s anxiety can make them incredibly fearful of just about everything around them. This level of anxiety can sometimes trigger panic attacks, lead to lack of sleep, or create symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This underlying fretting and sadness can sometimes be aided by a deep breath, but sometimes it is best to have these difficult conversations with your children.
It is best to be prepared to have those difficult discussions. It is a stressful situation for everyone involved, so it is important to go into this hard conversation with empathy and understanding. There are different ways that a teen can handle these issues, and the important thing is to take note of these emotions and create a safe space for these conversations. Don’t make this discussion a surprise, plan ahead to have these talks with your teenager.
Mental health struggles can impact anyone’s physical wellbeing. Part of recognizing these anxiety symptoms is being aware of what is triggering these feelings of illness. Stomach aches and headaches have been commonly associated with feelings of anxiety, as well as tense muscles, digestive troubles, sweating, and shaking.
The healthy way to approach these physical symptoms may require intervention from a primary care physician to assure that these symptoms are being brought on by negative thoughts and not a mental health-related ailment. A doctor may recommend a skilled therapist for your teen to help them identify the stressors that may bring on an anxiety attack and those symptoms.
Most importantly, it is important to understand that these adolescent years are difficult. Take an approach of concern, care, and consideration to help your teenager feel heard and seen.