Sometimes the struggles teens face don’t necessarily all fit within the boundaries of a particular disorder. It’s okay to admit that you’re having trouble but aren’t “sick”, in the sense that you might need medication or a full-blown treatment program to help cope with a diagnosis that sets your experience apart from the normal human condition. Not all mental health issues start as a recognizable disorder, and sometimes, we need help despite not being diagnosed with anything. For most teens, the first sign of trouble is when grades begin to slip significantly. These academic issues may point at a deeper problem.
Overwhelming pressure – academic issues may cause academic issues. Not everyone can process the same amount of stress. Some people are mentally built to take on a 100-hour work week, while others crumble under the thought, and simply can’t handle the workload. Stress can be dealt with in a number of ways, but too much at once is always going to lead to pressure on the boiler. Too much pressure causes it to blow.
Sudden loss – anything from a devastating breakup to the loss of a loved one can, if not given enough time to grieve and process, lead to an abscess of emotion developing into a deeper, darker issue by way of constantly being unable to face it, due to being busy or fearing the pain that comes with confronting emotions of loss.
Mental health – you don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder to start developing one. Some psychiatrists and therapists can recognize symptoms of a potential problem brooding in teens, although it may be irresponsible or too early to consider it something requiring professional treatment. Nevertheless, seeing a specialist is always a good idea when you’re starting to feel like something is off.
of high schoolers at top schools report feeling a large amount of stress on a daily basis
of teens report feeling depressed or sad due to stress
of teens report they never set aside any time to manage their stress
Be there for your teen – sometimes, teens just need to hear that it’s okay to struggle, and that they’re not being judged for it. As a parent, your primary role is often to offer support and help your teen in whatever endeavors they embark on. It can be exceptionally difficult to see your teen struggle and falter, and even fail. But it’s worse yet to see them refuse to get back up or try again. Be their cheerleader and convince them to keep on trying.
Help them identify coping mechanisms – stress is painful, but it’s something that festers and usually only becomes worse the longer it’s left ignored. This is something teens and adults both do, and chances are that as a parent, you’ve faced your fair share of stressful situations and walked away without addressing the experiences you’ve gone through. Consider taking the time to find ways to deal with stress with your teen, from venting by taking up a training goal together, to both you and your teen attending one-on-one therapy on the basis that you both keep going.
Work on mental and physical health together – there are many things that affect the way we process stress, including the way we communicate and deal with each other, the foods we eat, the time we spend when not attending to our responsibilities, and the quality of our sleep. Work with your teen to improve a little bit in each of those areas and find ways to reduce your mounting stress by just living a little better.
The important thing to keep in mind about seeking treatment, for any struggle a teen might be facing, is that the treatment should address the teen holistically, taking into consideration all aspects of life.
If the teen is struggling with things at school and needs help, it’s not simply a matter of raising grades, getting a tutor, or keeping the highest A in the class, though those might be reasonable steps along the way. The goal of treatment for teen academic issues should be to support the teen to become healthy enough that they feel confident in taking on whatever stresses they face, including the ups, downs, and in-betweens of their school work.
The good news is that there are definitely ways that teens facing what feel like impossible academic issues can find relief from stress and discover healthy ways to cope.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much the simple process of getting teens to communicate what they’re feeling will help provide relief and insight. Along with so many other aspects of life, teens are trying to learn how to manage their stress and what to do with it, and sometimes they haven’t yet learned that talking about what they’re feeling can help them sort their thoughts, which can begin to open doors toward relief.
In fact, most teens report that they don’t consider stress to have a serious affect on the human body. Many don’t seem to realize that stress is actually harmful, and that not managing it can lead to much more than just an upset stomach.
With the help of a therapist, adolescents can learn not only to articulate their own feelings, but in the process of doing so, can learn how to identify what stress they’re feeling, what things are causing stress in their lives, and how to deal with it effectively.
Part of treatment might be helping a teen find interests that can help them cope with the stresses at school. It might be something as simple as learning a new skill or taking on a sport. However, sometimes, the last thing a teen needs is even more stimulation.
Alternative therapies might also involve helping teens find ways to relax, whether through meditation, yoga, massage therapy, aromatherapy, or a creative outlet like journaling and music.
Sometimes, a tutor is necessary. Tutoring is not just reserved for those who miss classes or struggle with learning disabilities, but it can also help some teens who simply don’t get the information and knowledge they need through the traditional classroom setting.
A regular one-on-one session with a professional tutor can help your teen feel more at ease about their academics, giving them the structure needed to address school work at home, as well as worry less about not understanding what’s going on in the classroom.
Going to a treatment facility like Paradigm Malibu for the purposes of dealing with academic issues might sound like a stretch too far, but the truth is that therapy and counseling aren’t just for those who feel like they’re dealing with a mental health problem. Not enough is being done to help America’s teens actually have the opportunity to embark on adulthood ready and relaxed – instead, we’re raising children who are anxious, afraid, and often break down with brittle confidence levels and a damaged self-esteem, fostered through years of adversarial confrontations and a jaded outlook on human interaction. A little time away from school can do a lot to change that.
Away from School
Paradigm Malibu has several treatment locations in and around the Malibu area to help teens get the help they need – even if that just means spending some time away from school, in a treatment facility with luxury amenities and a helpful staff trained to help teens holistically, rather than just treating a single set of symptoms.
You might not feel like you need professional help, but chances are that you do. Many teens who feel the academic issues they’re struggling with are simply a result of their own laziness may be trying to mask the idea that they’re in fact struggling with a greater level of anxiety than previously imagined. The accommodating and professional staff at Paradigm Malibu is here to help you set aside your worries, and objectively analyze why you’re feeling the pressure you feel, and what to do about it.
An overwhelming number of students report feelings of anxiety and depression, with up to two-thirds of college students who have sought counseling reporting levels of serious anxiety.
School is stressful, and it’s okay to admit that. Not everyone handles or processes stress in the same way, and while we can all get through school and find our place in the workforce, some of us need more help and support along the way than others. There is no shame in that, and we should all be considerate of each other’s needs, so we can advance society together.
“ Outstanding! I believe Paradigm saved our daughters life and taught me invaluable things about how as her mother I can best support her in her journey to healing. “
What if I need therapy but don’t have the time to fit it in?
You’re not alone – there is an unknown dark figure in most studies and surveys about how many Americans truly feel symptoms of depression and anxiety but choose not to do anything about it. For millions of Americans, these are passing feelings that are part of the human condition. For millions of others, they’re a growing wound that can quickly become a permanent fixture of a life plagued with challenges most don’t have to face.
When caught early, a developing mental health issue can be addressed and treated. That doesn’t mean it’ll go away, but the symptoms can be managed to such a point that it won’t affect your overall life. But if left in the dark, it can push you to experience unexplainable and continued emotional pain and unnecessary suffering.
If you think something is wrong, get help – no matter what. Your mental health is important, and if it suffers, so does everything else you do.
Are teens really more depressed and stressed today than ever?
Some figures suggest that teens today are several times more stressed than teens back in the days of the Great Depression. While it’s easy to argue that it’s unlikely that teens back then had similar ideas of what “stressed” meant, there is some merit to the idea that teens today may be more agitated than our ancestors.
Teens today report lacking more sleep than any other generation, spend more time on social media than the previous generation, and are more often reported to be single. They also experience more bullying, more targeted advertising and controversial content. Teens don’t have time to dream soundly, be imaginative, or even just be bored. Time spent offline is quickly reducing with each generation, and that may be a very bad thing for the stress levels of the youth.
There are many ways parents can help remedy this. Instead of taking an authoritarian approach, consider helping your teen manage their time better. Work with them to instate curfews they agree to. Help them manage a schedule that includes time spent away from the phone or the computer. Give them more choices in life, even if it’s something simple like room décor or meal planning. Slowly bring them into a series of adult responsibilities, from chores to helping them manage their own finances, learn how to prepare meals, open a bank account, and spend time with them analyzing the news from a more objective point of view, so they can avoid sensational media or immunize themselves from content that is meant to be aggravating, controversial, and misleading.