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How to Beat Teen Isolation-Related Depression and Anxiety?

How to Beat Teen Isolation-Related Depression and Anxiety?

Isolation affects teenagers in negative ways. They may become depressed or anxious and even begin to self-harm. Teen drug use and teenage alcoholism can also result from isolation while teens look for ways to alleviate their negative feelings. It’s essential to understand the reasons behind this behavior and what you can do to help your teen move past it.

The Growing Problem With Teen Isolation

Social isolation refers to a “state where there is a lack of connection between individuals and society.” Many teens isolate themselves for a variety of reasons. Some teens isolate themselves because they want to avoid conflict or because they want to avoid dealing with their emotions such as stress or anxiety.

Many Circumstances Can Lead to Isolation

Isolation can result from general circumstances like moving, changing schools, or living in an area where there isn’t much for teenagers to do outside of school hours. Other teens isolate themselves because they are depressed and don’t feel like being around anyone. Teenagers often isolate themselves due to stress, anxiety, and depression related to peer pressure or school pressures, such as grades, tests, and college applications.

While this condition can begin during childhood and continue into adulthood, it commonly occurs among teens with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders. Such individuals often suffer from feelings of loneliness, rejection, or shame about being different. They may even believe that no one will understand their pain. Other signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Poor school performance or skipping school altogether
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Sadness or irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

The Connection Between the Covid-19 Lockdown and Teen Isolation

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a contributor to teen isolation and depression. Teens are missing out on crucial socialization when they visit with friends, go to clubs, play sports, or even work part-time jobs. Their peers have made the transitions from childhood to teen much easier. Many of the activities that teens use to escape their stresses may not be available due to lockdowns and social distancing.

Strategies to Tackle Teen Isolation

If you’re concerned about your child’s isolation, there are strategies you can employ to help:

  • Get them outside: It’s easy for teens to be comfortable inside, where they don’t have to deal with people or stressors. Encourage your teen to spend time outdoors. Even if they go for walks near the house, it will allow them to interact with people and see what’s happening around the neighborhood. Ultimately, fresh air, exercise, and time spent away from technology can help your teen get out of their head and combat depression.
  • Encourage volunteering: Your teen may have no interest in spending time with their peers, but they may be open to working with younger kids. Volunteering can help your teen feel a sense of purpose, get out of the house, and build self-esteem.
  • Limit screen time: If your teen is spending too much time staring at screens instead of getting out into the real world, it might be time for a technology intervention. Limit their screen time by setting rules about when they can use devices.
  • Encourage physical activity: Teens are more likely than adults to develop depression if they don’t get enough physical activity daily, so make sure your teen gets plenty of exercise and eats a healthy diet.
  • Find a job: Working gives teens a reason to get out of bed every day. A job provides the structure that helps some teens feel normal again. Jobs also give teens money to do things they enjoy. Your teenager might even find a career path through working in their current position.

Teach Your Child About Mental Health

Talking to kids about mental health can be difficult, but it’s a meaningful conversation with your teen during this developmental stage of their life. Make sure your child knows that it’s okay to reach out if they’re feeling down and the best ways they can do so.

Find a Mentor

Teens that exhibit signs of isolation may benefit from finding someone older who can serve as a friend and mentor. Someone who can listen without judgment can help them navigate their emotions and challenges and encourage them to set goals for their future.

Encourage Your Child to Pursue Activities Outside of School

Isolation can be challenging when it’s related to bullying or other problems at school. Help your teenager find activities outside of school where they can socialize and feel more confident. Consider art classes, intramural sports, dance lessons, or support groups. Along with the listed strategies, parents can also seek professional treatment to assist their child with any associated mental health disorders.

Teenage depression can rob many teens of their productivity and potential for success. Even if your teen isn’t suffering from depression or anxiety, too much isolation can adversely affect your teen’s self-esteem and mental health. On your search for teenage recovery centers in  North Fort Worth, Texas, make Clearfork Academy your first choice. We understand how hard it is to believe that your teen can break free of drug abuse and manipulation. At Clearfork Academy, we see positive results every day. We’ve helped countless teens recover from drug abuse and pursue happy and healthy social and academic lives. Most of all, we help teens work toward a brighter future with their family members. If your teen needs help, get help today. Call us at (888) 966-8604 to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help your teenager recover from potential substance use and other mental health conditions.

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Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

As humans, our need for connection is necessary to thrive in life and feel a sense of self-worth. While social media offers this sense of connection, there are some negative aspects to the content you consume. If not handled appropriately, mental health content can be among the most misleading and damaging content. Since mental health is becoming more discussed on social media, it is important to control what content you read.

Positive Effects of Social Media

When used the right way, social media offers many benefits. Some positives of social media include:

  • Staying Connected: Social media allows you to keep in contact and communicate with friends, family, and people from around the world. Connection is an integral part of everyday living. Apps like Instagram allow you to share pictures of your favorite moments in life and share them with your loved ones.
  • Providing a Creative Outlet: Many people use social apps as a creative outlet. Artists such as painters, writers, and musicians can post their work, generate a following, and develop a career.
  • Networking: In today’s society, networking is a big part of growing a community and meeting new people. Social media allows you to connect and meet potential business partners from across the world. If you struggle with social anxiety, this is a great way to meet people without the anxiousness that could come from meeting in person.

Negative Effects of Social Media

Social media also has many negative aspects. The negatives of social media include:

  • Cyberbullying: People tend to feel bolder online because they do not need to worry about physical interaction. However, this can lead to cyberbullying, which consists of people leaving rude, unwanted, and opinionated comments on your posts. Cyberbullying can affect your mental health and perpetuate disorders such as depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia.
  • Social Media Addiction: Studies have found that some individuals can develop an addiction to social media. While not considered an actual disorder or diagnosis, it is a form of behavioral addiction. Social media addiction is the uncontrollable urge to commit more time to social media than interacting in person.
  • Feelings of Inadequacy or Self-absorption: Social media has become about sharing selfies, posting body transformations, and personal achievements. While there is nothing wrong with posting this kind of content, overindulgence is a form of self-absorption. It could make you feel inadequate because you believe you don’t measure up to these standards or get as many likes on your selfies as others. It can also worsen symptoms of disorders such as depression or body dysmorphia.

Filter Who You Follow

One of the best ways to control your online experience is to regulate who you follow. Make sure you are following accounts posting accurate and positive mental health content. There are blogs and accounts dedicated to spreading mental health awareness that post information about disorders and ways to cope. You can also follow organizations or people who are advocates and share personal stories.

Follow Credible Sources

Social media is also a host for misinformation and stereotypes about mental health. Here are a few credible sources to follow on social media instead:

Report Harmful Posts

Misinformation about mental health creates stigmas and influences people toward taking the wrong steps to get help. However, most apps give you the option to report such harmful or disturbing posts. If you come across content that speaks about mental health in a degrading or damaging way, take the time to report the post. Reporting posts not only helps you manage your social media algorithm but helps prevent the spread of harmful posts for others to consume.

Reporting harmful posts will also allow the app to establish boundaries and standards for its users. While you cannot eradicate all negative posts, taking time to report such posts will help cultivate a positive community.

Take Some Time Off

Social media can become addicting, and you may find yourself spending hours upon hours using social media. It is not healthy to consume a large amount of information from other people’s lives daily.

Taking time to step away from social media is great for your mental health. However, you might struggle to unplug from social media. If you have difficulty getting away from social media, try to set specific hours that you cannot engage in social media throughout the day. Having a set schedule will help you stay focused and accountable. You might use this time to read, draw, journal or have physical interactions with friends and family.

Social media is one of today’s most influential platforms for teens, which may lead your child to try unhealthy coping strategies such as substance use. Clearfork Academy can help. Our treatment programs include highly trained and certified staff members that offer a compassionate approach. Located on an inviting and charming ranch, we provide a home away from home for teens in need of substance use and mental illness treatment. Whether your teen is going through our inpatient or outpatient programs, our sole focus will be on recovery and creating a healthy and drug-free lifestyle for your teen. While we do not exclude smartphones, we do provide a space free of social media to allow teens to get in touch with their innermost passions, whether it be art, music, acting, or writing. If your teen needs a safe and professional treatment program, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604

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Holiday Depression and Anxiety: Why It Happens, How to Mitigate It, and What To Do

Holiday Depression and Anxiety: Why It Happens, How to Mitigate It, and What To Do

The holidays can bring about a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression. You might even try to avoid these feelings by suppressing them. However, doing so could perpetuate negative thoughts and behaviors. It is important to manage your emotions properly. Let’s look at some ways to help you healthily deal with holiday stressors.

The Link Between Stress and the Holidays

Many factors can affect your mental health, such as financial stress, family responsibilities, and increased social demand. As you can imagine, there are many links between addiction and anxiety. Some of these links are more indirect, while others are direct.

Stress is one of the biggest causes of relapse. Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders tend to become more prone to using substances to manage stress. For example, social events like Christmas parties or family gatherings can trigger your impulse to use. Substances, such as alcohol, act as a sedative for the nervous system and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking hands, sweating palms, and nausea. However, this is not a viable nor sustainable solution to manage anxiety.

Common Holiday Triggers

You may encounter many triggers during the holiday season. These triggers could relate to religious practices, expectations from society, and family traditions. However, it is imperative if you struggle with a substance use disorder to maintain recovery, and knowing your triggers will help.

Some of the common triggers include:

  • Change of Routine: Routines help sustain recovery. During the holiday season, you might experience a disruption in your routine. In many ways, the holiday season could show up as a significant change in your life, especially in early recovery. Take certain precautions to deal with changes in your habits, like attending more recovery group meetings.
  • Social Events: There are many social gatherings during the holiday season. You may experience pressure to join your peers by drinking or using during these gatherings. Or, you may find the whole experience stressful, especially if you struggle with social anxiety. Being around so many people may trigger you to find a chemical sedative to relieve stress. Therefore, try to attend events that put your recovery needs first. Many recovery groups hold sober parties during the holiday season.
  • Family Stress: Family stress develops from many things outside your control. However, you can minimize stress by keeping your holiday expectations simple. Focus on enjoying the company of your family and the blessing of your recovery.

8  Effective Ways to Deal With Holiday Depression and Anxiety

Creating a plan for this holiday season will help. such plans should include self-care practices to help you manage holiday stress or depression.

#1. Plan. Planning will help you stay on track with your goals and allow you to deal with stress in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you. Try planning out your breaks, doctor visits, exercise plans, or anything else to help you prioritize what needs to happen so that you can stay healthy during this time of year.

#2. Find your happy place. Every person has their unique way of dealing with depression and anxiety, but some people find that certain areas make them feel better. Try to think about the last time you had an excellent feeling of happiness or satisfaction, and find ways to recreate those feelings.

#3. Meditate. Meditation is a great way to relax and relieve stress. The best part is, you can meditate anywhere. You can utilize an app or a comfortable space such as your bedroom and create an atmosphere conducive to self-care and comfort.

#4. Take a break from social media. You’re likely to get bombarded with posts, ads, and other content that might make you feel guilty or ashamed. Comparing yourself to others on social media is not helpful for your recovery. Instead, take a break from social media.

#5. Spend time with family or friends. Sometimes, spending time with the people who care about you the most can help you forget about all of your worries. Focus on positive interactions with loved ones rather than worrying about problems.

#6. Exercise. Exercise lowers stress levels by releasing endorphins which will help you feel better emotionally and physically. It will also help you sleep better at night.

#7. Eat well. Eating well helps keep your stress levels down by providing the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and strong during the holidays.

#8. Allow yourself to experience emotions: Let your emotions flow through you. Laugh if you’d like, or cry if you feel the urge to cry. Share how you feel with loved ones that you trust. Doing so will help you release some of the stress and realize that you are not alone in how you feel.

Besides these suggestions, consider going to a treatment center like Clearfork Academy. We offer inpatient and intensive outpatient care to ensure that you get the care you need.

Many factors affect mental health, such as financial stress, family responsibilities, and increased social demand. Since the holidays involve many social events, many teens find it very stressful, especially if they struggle with social anxiety. At Clearfork Academy, we offer professional support to help your teen manage anxiety, stress, and depression. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, we also provide appropriate resources to support them. Our programs work with both parents and teens to help them understand addiction and how it affects the whole family. With us, your teen will learn effective ways to express emotions and develop the self-confidence and self-assurance necessary to manage the challenges of maintaining sobriety and managing emotions. Our goal is to create better communication within the family dynamic. If you or a loved one currently needs help, then the time to act is now. Find out more about our programs and contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (866) 650-5212.

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What Are the Risks of Using Marijuana to Reduce Anxiety?

thoughtful young man sitting on a couch

In the United States, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among teens. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 27 percent of high school students have tried marijuana. However, using marijuana can perpetuate symptoms of anxiety. 

With all these harmful effects in mind,  many teenagers continue to consume marijuana to reduce anxiety. Yet, the risks of marijuana often outweigh any benefits. Let’s look at the risks of using marijuana to treat anxiety and explore alternative therapies. 

About Marijuana

Marijuana is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC composes most of marijuana’s psychoactive components. The content may vary depending on the strain of marijuana and its intended use. While marijuana might treat anxiety, many teenagers also use it for recreational purposes in social gatherings or at home. Since marijuana is becoming easier to attain, teens could quickly develop a substance use disorder. 

The Link Between Marijuana and Anxiety

The ongoing controversy about the safety of marijuana continues to evolve significantly regarding teenagers. Teenagers experience pressure because of their schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and relationships. Alternatively, anxiety remains a serious issue among teenagers. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your teen’s behavior to help you understand the signs of anxiety. 

Some examples of anxiety include: 

  • Separation Anxiety: Experiencing severe fear when separated from loved ones or caregivers.
  • Phobias: Showing severe fear regarding certain circumstances or things like going to the mall or encountering insects or animals.
  • Social Anxiety: Exhibiting terror over places where they will encounter people.
  • General Anxiety: Worrying about the future or fearing the worst-case scenario happening.
  • Panic Disorder: Experiencing sudden, unexpected, intense fear that comes with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty.

When anxiety becomes severe, many teenagers use marijuana to reduce symptoms. They might feel drawn to it because of its euphoric effect. In addition to peer use, willingness to use might be influenced by how some adults respond to marijuana and its portrayal in media.  

According to a 2017 national survey of more than 9,000 Americans, 81 percent of participants stated that marijuana provided the following benefits:

  • Increased sense of calm
  • Improved relief from stress
  • Improved sleep

However, marijuana holds many disadvantages. Further, these adverse symptoms have a more pronounced effect, particularly in teenagers. 

THC and the Adolescent Brain 

A study discovered that the THC in marijuana causes harm to the adolescent brain. THC directly interferes with the central nervous system’s processes that regulate emotional and cognitive behaviors. The study also reveals that continued marijuana use can lead to risky behaviors such as increased marijuana use and aggressive and delinquent behaviors.

Additional consequences of marijuana use among adolescents include:

  • Poor decision making
  • Lower aptitude for learning and recalling information
  • Short term memory loss
  • Poor performance on tests due to lack of attention and memory
  • Slower processing speed, poor verbal skills, and sequencing abilities

What Are the Dangers of Using Marijuana?

Marijuana use can pose many dangers, such as impaired judgment and loss of motor skills.

Other common dangers of marijuana include:

  • Marijuana is highly addictive and can lead to a substance use disorder.
  • Teens can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using marijuana. Marijuana withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, lethargy, loss of appetite, irritability, and cravings for marijuana.
  • Continued marijuana use may cause sudden mood swings and increased anxiety among teens.
  • High doses of marijuana can cause teens to experience psychosis. These hallucinations could be auditory or visual.
  • Continued dependence on marijuana may lead to teens being more passive or withdrawn from their environment or previous interests.

Anxiety-Relieving Activities 

If anxiety becomes severe, your teen can benefit from behavioral therapies to reduce anxiety. Such treatments often include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Using CBT will help your teenager reduce their anxiety. CBT treats anxiety and depression and can uncover the root of their negative feelings. It also functions to change the thought patterns from negative to positive. By instilling effective thinking patterns within the teen, their behaviors improve.

In addition, there are many other natural options for anxiety relief that don’t require the use of medical marijuana or any other medication. 

Practices that help reduce anxiety include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Journaling
  • Breathwork
  • Yoga
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Support groups
  • Exercise

Utilizing these practices will build the foundational elements necessary for a teen to continue to develop and grow. Such tools will also help them confront challenges, develop problem-solving skills and attain better confidence and self-esteem. Taking any medication or using marijuana to treat anxiety always poses a risk. Therefore any medication to treat anxiety should be discussed and approved by a healthcare professional.