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Teen Phone Addiction

Teen Phone Addiction

Most of us are probably guilty of spending too much time on our phones. With continuous technological advancements, endless apps, and the possibility to communicate while being physically absent, software companies continue to find ways to draw people into their digital products. And teens are their perfect target audience.

Teenagers have grown up in an era where they are learning how to use cell phones younger than ever before. Cell phone use is ingrained in teenagers from an early age, increasing the risk of developing a cell phone addiction later on in their lives.

But what exactly is teen cell phone addiction and why are so many adolescents falling into the same trap? This page will explore what cell phone addiction is, the possible causes, red flags that may indicate a cell phone addiction, and steps that parents can take to help their teenagers avoid this modern phenomenon.

What is Teen Cell Phone Addiction?

What is Teen Cell Phone Addiction?

Cell phone addiction puts into question many stereotypical assumptions about addiction. While parents once worried about their teens falling into substance abuse and the possibility of drug addiction, recently, the addiction landscape has shifted. Parents now also worry about their teenagers having too much screen time and their risk of developing a cell phone addiction.

On average, teens have been found to spend around seven hours a day on their mobile phones, compared to adults who have a screen time of around four hours a day. But teen cell phone addiction is so much more than talking and texting. For teenagers, cell phones open a gateway to an escape from reality, it includes games, apps, and the biggest time consumer of them all, social media.

When it comes to interaction amongst peers, teens now like to admire and approve, comment, and criticize. They aren’t always communicating one on one but instead are constantly checking for responses and likes to their posts and others.

Smartphone addiction is real and the more that teenagers are using the apps, the more their behavior is reinforced by the dopamine that is induced through their mobile phone usage.

Why Are Teens Addicted to Their Phones?

Why Are Teens Addicted to Their Phones?

Teenagers tend to be naturally more sociable, they are at an age of questioning life and the things that happen around them. Interacting with new people is a part of this process. The evolution of technology has created a new possibility for socializing and allows for this generation to do exactly this, but online. Teens communicate through an array of social websites and apps that allow for these connections to be built even if individuals are thousands of miles apart.

The majority of phone apps are developed to keep users coming back time and time again. When these apps are used and teens are met with positive interactions, positive messages from friends, and believe quality relationships are blossoming, dopamine is released.

Mass research has found that excessive cell phone usage, specifically social media, can heavily impact the brain. In fact, cell phone use can cause similar chemical responses within the brain that are caused by drug addiction. Dopamine is a natural chemical found within the brain that is associated with positive reinforcement and pleasure. When a teenager receives positive comments, new likes, or new followers online, a burst of dopamine is received in their brain. Similarly to a drug’s high, as the use of social media increases, the more engagement a user will crave.

As this reward cycle starts to solidify in place, the time that is spent using social media platforms will increase. Teenage cell phone addiction is defined as a behavioral disorder, meaning that the obsessive use of a cell phone is affecting the functioning of their day-to-day life.

But as we have discussed, cell phone addiction goes much further than simply using cell phones as a talking device. Teen smartphone addiction includes compulsive and repetitive use of a cell phone for other activities, and although these behaviors are normal from time to time, they become dangerous when they turn into an obsessive compulsion.

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Their Cell Phone

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Their Cell Phone

Similar to other behavioral addictions, there are certain telltale signs of teen cell phone addiction. By having an awareness of these red flags, you can attempt to catch the problem before it develops into a serious technology addiction.

  • They are experiencing mental health problems such as symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Constantly on his or her phone and unable to be without it, even if for a short period of time
  • Neglecting activities they once enjoyed
  • Academic performance has declined
  • They are impatient, irritable, or angry
  • Teens become obsessed with documenting everything they are doing, such as selfies and pictures
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty sleeping despite feeling tired a lot of the time, as the time before bedtime is spent on their cell phone
  • They are unable to keep track of time when using their cell phone
  • They opt to stay in their bedrooms on their cell phones rather than spend time outside with friends
  • Teen has trouble cutting back on his or her cell phone use
  • They lie about how much time they are spending on their cell phone

On top of these signs, they may also think they hear their phone buzz when in fact, it doesn’t. These are called phantom vibrations and they often occur throughout school or times when your teen is unable to access their mobile phone. Time without the phone can even lead to a withdrawal that is similar to a drug withdrawal. Symptoms can include headaches, sweating, shaking, or nausea.

If you believe teenage cell phone addiction is affecting someone you love, it is important to know that you are not alone and help is available. Teen smartphone addiction is extremely common, in fact around 50% of teenagers believe that they have a cell phone addiction and although more than a third of teenagers try to reduce the amount of time that they spend on their cell phones, the majority of them are unable to do so.

Social Media Use

Social Media Use

The generations that have grown up with social media platforms and regular cell phone use are at risk of developing emotional and social challenges that have not been encountered before. While teenagers once worried about rumors being spread amongst peers or gossip circulating in their schools, many now live in fear of public shaming online.

Users can now have hundreds of followers on different platforms and sharing online is as simple as pressing a single button. Research has found that 62% of teenagers use some form of social media every day while only one-third of teens say that they actually enjoy their use of social media ‘a lot’.

How Social Media Affects Mental Health

Research has found that a teen’s use of social media is closely related to an increase in low levels of life satisfaction and teen depression. Although the effects of social media can be worrying for everyone, the impact on teens is even more concerning.

The brain of a teenager is still developing in functions such as emotional regulation, self-control, impulse control, decision-making, and cognitive controlling, this combined with the constant flow of new content can overwhelm a teenager’s ability to manage and process the input.

One study that looked at 13-year-olds and their social media use found that participants who reported to have checked their social media from 50 to 100 times every day were found to be 37% more distressed compared to individuals who checked their social media a few times a day. Some of the ways in which social media can contribute to teen anxiety and depression may include:

  • Enduring public criticism
  • Comparing themselves to beauty standards that are shown on social media
  • Jealousy or envy over the lives of people online
  • Obsessive over whether they have enough likes, comments, or shares
  • Having the fear of missing out on certain events

Effects of Phone Addiction

Effects of Phone Addiction

Teen cell phone addiction can have many negative effects on a teenager’s day-to-day life. Cell phone addiction has been linked to a decrease in participating in extracurricular activities as well as a decline in school grades, 61% of kids found that the use of their smartphone negatively impacted their schoolwork. Below are the possible risks of a cell phone addiction and the consequences that may harm teenagers well being and safety.

Mental Health

As we have discussed, the teenage brain is still developing and is therefore more vulnerable to certain things that could possibly lead to mental health issues. Studies have found that teenagers who spend large amounts of time on social media apps are at risk of suffering from higher levels of mental health issues. For example, anxiety levels can increase when a teenager’s phone is not readily available.

A recent study that surveyed over 300 university students aimed to investigate whether high engagement with mobile phones affected the user’s well-being. They found that individuals who described themselves as displaying addictive-like behaviors towards their phones scored higher on anxiety and depression scales.

Physical Health

Excessive screen time can also affect a teenager’s physical health. The blue light that is radiated from a phone can pose risks of developing eye problems. Phone addiction can also lead to negative health consequences, including:

  • Blurred vision or eye strain from staring at a small screen
  • Chronic strain on the neck from constantly looking down at a phone
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines

Sleeping Behaviors

When a teen is going to bed, the location of their phone can be an indicator of potential smartphone addiction. 62% of teenagers say that they use their cell phones after their bedtime and 66% say that their phones negatively impact their sleep.

Cybersecurity

Phone and internet addiction are linked to certain cybersecurity behaviors. Cybersecurity basically means the protection of your personal information, things that could happen include online scams or identity theft. It is always important to educate your teen about cybersecurity.

Cybercriminals are all over the internet and at times it can be difficult to judge whether someone on an online forum is to be trusted or not. Additionally, teenagers are at risk of cyberbullying. Other users are able to comfortably hide behind a screen and send harmful comments or information to others.

Road Safety

We are all aware of the dangers of driving while talking or texting on the phone. Unfortunately, teenage cell phone addiction increases the likelihood of these dangers happening. When teen drivers are using a phone, they are unable to direct all of their attention to the road. 34% of teenagers reported that they had texted while driving and 52% said that they had spoken on the phone while driving. Similar to other addictions, cell phone addiction can lead to poor decision-making and recklessness, this combined with driving can result in risky outcomes.

Tips on How to Help Avoid Teen Cell Phone Addiction

Tips on How to Help Avoid Teen Cell Phone Addiction

Parents are able to limit their teenager’s cell phone use in a variety of ways. It’s important to set structure, limitations, and boundaries to avoid teen cell phone addiction. Some cell phone rules and intervention measures that a parent may consider include:

  • Set time limits for your teen’s cell phone use
  • No phones at bedtime or in bed
  • Try and introduce mobile-free days, as a family, it can work by leaving all cell phones at home while enjoying an activity together
  • No cell phones at the dinner table
  • Set up screen-free periods throughout the day
  • Teach your teenager about the dangers of social media and the consequences of spending too much on their mobile devices
  • Limit access to social media – it is possible to set time restrictions on certain apps
  • Turn off notifications so their screens are not constantly flashing

As a parent, you understand your child more than anyway and you are aware of what preventive measures are appropriate to use. Although anyone with a mobile phone is at risk of developing a mobile phone addiction, teenagers are at a heightened risk, especially without parental supervision.

Treatment at Clearfork

Clearfork academy is a residential treatment center for teenagers. We provide substance abuse disorder treatment and help for teens who are experiencing mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety. Our outdoor adventure program serves adolescent girls and boys from the ages of 13 – 17. We provide a structured and supportive environment for youth who may be struggling with their mental, physical and social bonds of mental health and chemical dependency.

Our program was designed for today’s teenagers and each module that they encounter reflects both our core values and therapeutic approaches that have been proven to be effective. We offer a medical detox which is essential for a healing process to begin. Individualized treatment plans are created to ensure a quick recovery and an easy transition to our residential programs.

Our residential treatment helps teenagers recover from drug or alcohol addiction in a safe and comfortable space on a scenic Texas Ranch. We also offer intensive outpatient treatment which is perfect for those teenagers who may be in the early stages of their substance abuse or addiction and need ongoing guidance and support to help avoid any long-term issues.

If you want to find out more about how we at Clearfork Academy can help you or a loved one, then contact us today. Remember, we are here to help you.

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Personality Disorders in Teens

Personality Disorders in Teens

A personality disorder is a general term given for a number of mental health conditions that affect a person’s character, social abilities, and emotional reactions. These conditions commonly, though not exclusively, develop in adolescence.

There are several personality disorders that typically fit into one of three clusters. Although they all have distinct features they generally share unhealthy patterns of behavior and disordered cognition. Somebody living with a personality disorder may have their social, personal, school, or college life impacted by their condition.

If left untreated, personality disorders can go on to cause significant distress and difficulties throughout their teen and adult life. Due to the fact that teenagers are still developing physically and mentally, these conditions are often called emerging personality disorders. This reflects the fact that a formal diagnosis may be delayed, even though certain symptoms are present.

Recognizing a Personality Disorder

Although each condition has key defining personality traits, there are some agreed characteristics that help in the diagnosis process. These include:

  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Disordered thought patterns
  • Loss of impulse or, conversely, extremely restrictive behavior
  • Difficulties in making and maintaining relationships

Personality Disorder Clusters

Personality Disorder Clusters

The three personality disorder clusters are usually referred to as clusters A, B, and C. Below we will go into some of the symptoms associated with each condition.

Cluster A Personality Disorders

There are three conditions within this group, they share some symptoms and can lead people to behave in ways that might seem strange or confusing to others.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

A young person with paranoid personality disorder is likely to experience significant distrust and suspicion of others. They may believe that others are trying to hurt or trick them. People with paranoid personality disorder are likely to feel attacked easily and don’t trust those around them, leading to difficulties in relationships.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Somebody living with schizoid personality disorder is likely to be uninterested in making connections with others, preferring to be alone. They may feel that relationships add complexities to their life that they don’t want. Other people may interpret somebody with schizoid personality disorder as cold or numb.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Somebody living with schizotypal personality disorder may struggle to form relationships and will find socializing challenging. People with this schizotypal personality disorder may experience significant social anxiety and stunted emotions. Their behavior may seem odd or eccentric to others.

Cluster B Personality Disorders

There are four conditions within this group, they have distinct symptoms but they all at times may lead to highly emotional and unpredictable behavior.

Antisocial Personality Disorder 

This condition is not diagnosed in young people under the age of 18, although some people display indicators of antisocial personality disorder as children and teens, and then go on to receive a diagnosis as an adult. It is thought that children with conduct disorder have a higher chance of developing this condition later on as adults.

People living with antisocial personality disorder are likely to show a lack of consideration for other people. This could be characterized by dishonesty, stealing, aggression, or violence.

Those with antisocial personality disorder may find it difficult to show care or understanding toward others. Furthermore, they may lack consideration for consequences, thus resulting in serious, sometimes legal, trouble.

Common symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include:

  • Being unable to learn the consequences of their behavior
  • Impulsiveness
  • Taking part in behavior that damages themselves, those around them, or their environment
  • Dishonesty and lying
  • Difficulty attaching emotionally to others
  • Aggression or violence

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is also sometimes referred to as emotionally unstable personality disorder. This is a condition that results in the person experiencing very extreme, fluctuating emotions. For somebody with borderline personality disorder, it can be very difficult to calm down once an emotion is triggered.

It can be very difficult for those with borderline personality disorder to have stable relationships due to their unpredictable mood and behavior. They may experience severe depression and suicidal ideation. Some people with this condition will experience episodes of intense distress, and other times of relative calm, where their symptoms abate. Others will experience continuous symptoms of the condition.

Common symptoms include:

  • Severely fluctuating and unregulated emotions
  • A deep fear of abandonment
  • Complex, or unhealthy relationship patterns
  • Impulsive or risky behavior
  • A lack of sense of self
  • Self-harm or suicidal ideation
  • Anger or aggression
  • Numbness

Histrionic Personality Disorder  

Histrionic Personality Disorder is considered a condition within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, although some people describe it as a branch of narcissistic personality disorder.

Young people with histrionic personality disorder are likely to display some of the symptoms below. In order to have a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder, they must have five of the following, and they must persist for at least one year:

  • A strong desire to be the focus of attention
  • Seek reassurance or approval from others
  • Inappropriate behavior including that of a sexual nature
  • Fluctuating moods and emotions
  • Preoccupation with physical appearance
  • Prone to being led or manipulated by others
  • May behave in a dramatic way, even about simple matters
  • Is likely to misunderstand relationships

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Young adults with narcissistic personality disorder are living with an extreme version of narcissism. This condition is more common in young people than in adults, affecting more males than females overall. Typically, narcissistic personality disorder begins in adolescence, but it can go on to impact people throughout their adulthood.

Somebody with this condition is likely to have overblown beliefs about themselves, they may believe that they are capable of things that others are not. Narcissists usually look for validation and admiration from others around them and strive to be in control at all times. They may be overly concerned with achievement, success, and power.

Furthermore, narcissistic teens may find it difficult to empathize with others, behaving in ways that serve themselves but not others. They may struggle to keep relationships due to their lack of care and compassion for others.

Underneath these symptoms, people living with narcissistic personality disorder are likely to have deep feelings of insecurity and fear.

Cluster C Personality Disorders

Cluster C Personality Disorders

There are three mental health conditions within this group, and all three involve anxious and fearful behavior although they have different manifestations.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Young adults with this condition are likely to be extremely sensitive to criticism and may be very shy and withdrawn. This tends to lead to isolation and loneliness.

These symptoms usually begin in early childhood, and sometimes dissipate as the child grows. In other circumstances, the shyness, anxiety, and fear of rejection remain through their teens and adulthood. This can make it complicated to distinguish between shyness and a fully developed avoidant personality disorder. For this reason, it is not common to diagnose children with the condition.

Dependent Personality Disorder 

This condition sees young people behave in a particularly clingy and needy way, finding it difficult to consider being alone or looking after themselves.

Young adults with dependent personality disorder typically need others to reassure and encourage them, even for tasks that may seem like everyday events to others. They may be gripped by anxiety or fear at the thought of being alone or doing things by themselves.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is distinct from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which is an anxiety disorder, although they frequently get mistaken for one another. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is likely to display itself with the following symptoms:

  • Extremely neat, to a point that if they can’t maintain neatness of themselves or their space they get extremely anxious
  • Perfectionism over several areas of their life
  • Controlling over their own lives, and others
  • May put work before other people, including loved ones
  • Extremely restrictive and strict about rules and order

How Are Adolescent Personality Disorders Diagnosed?

Emerging personality disorder diagnoses can be complex given the symptoms overlap with some common behaviors of being a teen or early adulthood. Additionally, for a personality disorder diagnosis, symptoms must be clearly present for a period of time, interfering with the young person’s everyday life, and causing difficulty in normal functioning. This limits the chances of an early diagnosis which can in turn mean treatment is more complicated and drawn out.

Furthermore, some symptoms of teen personality disorders share symptoms of other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Involving the help of a trusted medical professional is crucial for this reason.

What Causes Personality Disorders in Teens?

What Causes Personality Disorders in Teens?

It’s still not known exactly why teen personality disorders develop, but research suggests that a number of factors including genetics, brain structure, environment, and trauma could all contribute.

  • Genetics: It is thought that individuals with a family history of personality disorders are at higher risk of developing one themselves.
  • Brain Structure and Function: Research suggests that individuals with some forms of emerging personality disorder may experience structural and functional changes in the brain, particularly in the impulse control and emotion regulation regions. It is still unknown whether these are causal factors for the condition developing or if indeed the changes are a result of the disorder.
  • Environment and Childhood: It’s common for people with personality disorders – especially borderline personality disorder – to have a history of trauma, which could include sexual, physical, or verbal abuse, neglect, abandonment, grief, or family mental health issues.
  • Sensitivity: People who are particularly sensitive to stimuli such as noise, light, and touch are thought to be more at risk of developing a personality disorder. High reactivity in children can result in withdrawn and nervous personalities which could lead to mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, or dependent personality disorder.

It’s important to say that not everybody who experiences the above will go on to develop an emerging personality disorder. On the other hand, some people will develop personality disorders without the above experiences. Mental illness is a widely researched area of health, but there is still a lot we don’t understand about why conditions develop. The good news is, with better and smarter science we know more about these illnesses every day and that means treatment has never been better.

It’s crucial to work with a team of specialists in the case of a personality disorder, given the complexities involved. There is a range of traditional and alternative therapies which can be effective, but receiving care from an unlicensed practitioner can be dangerous and put your child at risk.

Some people will respond well to the first treatment they try, while others will need to persevere with several attempts. The important thing is sticking to your treatment plan and remaining good communication with your doctor and support system.

Treatment for Young People with Personality Disorders

Treatment for Young People with Personality Disorders

Usually, specialists will advise young people to start with talk therapy in the treatment of emerging personality disorders. How this develops will depend on the treatment center chosen, some people may choose to recover in an inpatient center, while others will choose outpatient. Discussing these options with your family doctor will ensure you go for the most suitable option for your child’s needs.

Treatment is likely to take some time, with some symptoms easing more quickly than others. Certain therapies and medications may decrease the high emotions, depression, and anxiety of these disorders, whereas deep-seated fears and worries will take longer to dissipate.

It’s common for people with personality disorders to live with co-occurring disorders, such as eating disorders, PTSD, depression, borderline personality disorder (BPD), or anxiety. It’s important that this is taken into consideration in the treatment planning process. Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also be involved.

Help for Teens and Young Adults

Receiving a personality disorder diagnosis can sometimes be a little scary, for the young person and their family and loved ones. But the good news is, there are many ways to support each other through this time. With good communication, compassion, and patience you can learn to adapt to the needs of one another. It’s crucial for the wellbeing of your child, and yourself, that you involve mental health professionals to guide you through the early days of a diagnosis.

A trained medic who has experience in personality disorders will be able to help you and your family understand the condition, learn healthy coping strategies, and identify trigger points. They will be able to offer your young person a safe environment where they can talk about their experiences, share their concerns, and make plans for the future.

Seeking Support

If you are concerned that your child is displaying symptoms of an emerging personality disorder, get in touch with your family doctor. A proper diagnosis is the important first step in your child’s process as without this they are unable to access the support and treatment they need.

There could be additional underlying conditions, either mental or physical, which are contributing to your child’s distress. Seeking support through your local doctor or psychiatric clinic can help you to clarify symptoms and concerns.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment approaches that can be used in the case of an emerging personality disorder. Most people respond well to a combination of therapies, but every person is different and it’s important to consider their unique circumstances and needs before formulating a plan.

Most young people will need to attend a treatment center, this could be inpatient or outpatient care depending on their situation. Facilities and therapeutic options vary from center to center, but there are some common treatments and changes which can improve symptoms of personality disorders.

Some of these include the following:

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): This therapy is concerned with focussing on the present moment and any emotions that are currently being felt. Through DBT therapy people learn to control difficult emotions that surface, decrease self-sabotaging behavior, manage stress, and improve communication. DBT both works to accept the current situation, and work on improvements for the future. This form of therapy was specifically designed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is used commonly for conditions in all three clusters. DBT is often found to be the most effective form of treatment for personality disorders.

Mentalization-based therapy (MBT): This is a form of talk therapy that helps people living with mental illnesses to develop a better awareness of what others around them might be thinking and feeling. In turn, this can improve their communication and relationships, both of which are crucial for good mental health.

Transference-focused therapy (TFP): This treatment focuses on helping people to better identify and understand the root causes of their mental health condition. Clients will work with their therapist to use this knowledge and apply it to their experiences.

Family Therapy: Family therapy can be extremely beneficial for young people living with a personality disorder. These conditions can impact everyone around the person who has been diagnosed and engaging in treatment together can help to heal broken communication pathways. Gaining a better understanding of how and what everyone is feeling can enable you to find strategies to manage together.

Medications: Sometimes medication is used in the treatment of personality disorders, although it cannot cure these conditions, it can ease other symptoms associated such as anxiety or depression.

Healthy lifestyle changes: Ensuring that your child gets adequate fresh air and exercise, quality sleep, a healthy and varied diet, and uses good stress management techniques can aid them in their recovery significantly.

Encourage Everyday Activities

Restoring links with friends and family can be extremely beneficial for the treatment of these conditions. This can support the recovery process and re-establish a sense of normality for your teen. Encouraging your child or teen to engage in activities they once enjoyed can be a good way of establishing structure in their day. This can start with walks in the park, making time to read, and progress onto meeting friends or going to the cinema for example.

Clearfork Academy

At Clearfork Academy, our team specializes in adolescent psychiatry and are experts in youth mental health. We understand the need for age-appropriate treatment and we take this into consideration at every step of the journey. We tailor our programs to the specific needs of you and your child, ensuring the safety, comfort, and health of everyone involved.

Our therapy offerings include family and individual therapy, as well as alternative options such as adventure and music therapy. We believe all young people deserve to live out their youth, mental illness shouldn’t get in the way.

If you would like to hear more about our admissions process, our facilities, or treatment services, get in touch with us today.

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Symptoms of Suicidal Teenagers: Suicide Signs in Teens

Symptoms of Suicidal Teenagers: Suicide Signs in Teens

Young people go through a lot of changes during their teen years. Emotionally, socially and hormonally things can feel extremely turbulent and for some, things can seem unmanageable. Peer pressure, social media, and a desire to fit in can all put a serious amount of strain on kids as they navigate their youth.

Additionally, adolescence is a common time for mental health problems to develop. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are likely to first occur in teenagers.

Whether a teenager has a diagnosed mental health condition or not, they could still be at risk of developing suicidal thoughts and ideation.

For anyone going through a mental health crisis, it can be extremely scary, lonely, and isolating. Witnessing this as a parent, friend or teacher can incur all of these feelings too. It can be complex to differentiate between low mood or hormonal changes, and something more serious such as depression or suicidal behavior.

Here we look at some warning signs of teen suicide. If you are concerned about a young person in your life, get in touch with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Some people may feel as though they don’t want to interfere or they are unsure how to help, but seeking expert advice can save a life.

What Causes Young People to Attempt Suicide?

Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have found that in the United States suicide is the second leading cause of death in children aged 10 – 14 and the third leading cause of death in teenagers aged 15-19. On a global scale, suicide is the fourth highest cause of death in adolescents aged 15-19. These are devastating statistics, suicide affects not only the family but the friends, school peers, teachers, and community around the young person.

Going through the adjustments of adolescence can be challenging. Young people go through big changes within their bodies, minds, emotions, and their beliefs about the world. This can cause them to feel distressed, frightened, and alone. These can be confounded by some other big developments which we look at below.

Challenges of Adolescence

  • Family breakdown, divorce, or movement
  • Problems with friends
  • Difficulty at school
  • Death of a loved one or friend
  • Worrying global events
  • Pressure to conform
  • Worries about image or appearance

The combination of these experiences can feel so overwhelming for some young people, they feel that suicide is the only option. We look at some of these risk factors in a little more detail below:

Pre-existing Mental Illness

Studies suggest that overall, around 90% of people who die by suicide have experienced at least one mental health disorder.

Living with any untreated disorder is likely to decrease the overall well-being of a young person. The following mental health conditions are found to be linked:

Social Pressure and Challenges

Many young people experience bullying, peer pressure, and loneliness due to being left out of groups and cliques. Unfortunately, sometimes the repercussions of this can lead to teen suicide. In many cases, young people don’t feel able to talk to anyone about what they are going through which can further isolate them.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suggests that young people who experience bullying and those who bully are at the highest risk of having suicidal feelings and behaviors.

Studies have found that individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual individuals – around 20% of the community surveyed had attempted suicide. With the risk increasing in transgender communities — 43% of transgender people have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

Stressful Life Events

There are a number of family or life events that could increase the suicide risk of a young person. These risk factors include things such as:

  • Substance misuse in the family
  • The death of a loved one
  • Prejudice or racism, from individuals or institutional
  • Family problems such as arguing, relationship breakdown, or divorce
  • Academic pressure
  • Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Losing friends or relationships

Family Factors

Although a lot more research is needed on the topic, there is often a correlation between a family history of mental disorders in close relations – such as depression and substance abuse — and suicide attempts in young people. It is still not known exactly how these factors influence each other, it is thought to be a combination of genetics, behavior modeling, environment, and communication. It is important to note it is certainly not always the case that young people with a family history of suicide and mental illness will result in further cases.

Warning Signs That Your Teen May Be Suicidal

Being aware of the warning signs of suicide in young people can help you to seek help from a medical professional. Suicide is nobody’s fault, trying to navigate this experience alone can be extremely difficult and can lead to your own mental health deterioration. Reach out for help if any of the following symptoms resonate with you.

Some of these warning signs are symptoms of depressive disorders. If your young person experiences depression, try to notice if any of their symptoms develop or change.

  • Very low mood
  • Change in sleeping habits – sleeping a lot or very little
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Becoming isolated from friends and family
  • Substance use
  • Risk-taking
  • Becoming obsessed with, talking about, death and dying
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical health issues such as headaches
  • Loss of interest or effort at school
  • Difficulties paying attention
  • Feeling or remarking that they want to die

Some young people may show other warning signs of suicidal intent which are not common symptoms of depressive disorders. These include:

  • Speaking about death, dying, or killing themselves
  • Making comments about the future such as ‘I won’t be here then’
  • Giving away or getting rid of personal possessions
  • Suddenly becoming happy after a period of deep depression
  • Writing suicide notes, emails, or social media posts
  • Having suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation

In younger children, symptoms may be slightly different. You could expect to see symptoms such as:

  • Frequent and uncontrollable tantrums
  • Physical pain such as stomach or headache
  • Feeling very fearful or worried
  • Having bad dreams
  • Having problems at school

Being aware of the signs of potential suicide risk is important, but remember that it takes trained medical professionals to manage this situation and it’s critical you involve them.

If any of these symptoms of suicidal behavior sound familiar, you are not alone. Help is available.

What Can I Do If My Teen Is Suicidal?

Talking about suicide can be difficult with anyone, let alone with children and teens. However, having open conversations with your friends and family members can help to decrease the stigma and assure youth they are not alone.

The way you approach the discussion can really impact the outcome. Trying to remain calm, non-judgmental, and compassionate can encourage them to talk more honestly. Essentially, the safer you feel, the more they will too.

Some people may feel they have to come up with solutions or answers for their child’s pain, in actual fact just listening and enabling them to feel heard as your child speaks is often the most important thing.

Try not to make any comparisons, between you, your child, their siblings, or their friends. It can be hard to comprehend how they are feeling but the best thing you can do is listen.

Reaching Out for Professional Help

Your child or teen may find it difficult to open up to you about how they feel, for fear that you may be scared, judgmental, or angry. This is why talking to a mental health professional who is removed from the situation can be so helpful.

Although a trained doctor will have a lot of care and empathy for your child, they won’t feel as emotionally involved as you which can help them formulate a practical plan with you and your child. This can be used when your child is thinking about suicide, attempting suicide, or is showing suicidal behavior. For every child, this emergency plan will be different so it’s important to involve them in the planning process.

It may be helpful to remind your child that professionals are trained to work through these kinds of difficult feelings with people. For some children and teens, this may remind them they are not alone in their emotions.

For some people, online therapy or community groups can be beneficial, both for you and your child. It’s crucial in this time that you look after your own well-being, attending therapy or a teen suicide support group for parents can give you the guidance and strength you need to keep going.

Treatment for Young People

Treatment varies depending on the circumstances of your child. They will likely take part in a mental health evaluation and a treatment plan will be formulated reflecting their age, physical and mental health history, and the severity of their condition.

If your child is in immediate danger it may be advised that they stay in a residential setting for some days to ensure your child’s safety. It’s possible that your child will receive some of the following components of care, depending on their needs:

  • An extended stay in hospital until suicidal behaviors have reduced
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Intensive outpatient care
  • Structured environments
  • Residential facilities
  • Partial hospital care
  • Outpatient therapy

Every child is different, and their treatment plan should reflect this. Although most adolescents would prefer to be at home, sometimes for safety reasons they will need to stay in a residential environment. If they do come home with you, the medical team will help you to create a safe space for your child.

Moving Forward from Suicide Attempts

Transitioning from residential care back to home life can be challenging, regardless of how long your child has spent there. It will take time for everybody to adjust and there are likely to be a lot of difficult emotions and feelings in the house.

One Day at a Time

Focus on the day in front of you instead of getting caught up in the past or the future, this is helpful for everyone.

Returning to Everyday Activities

When you are confident that your child has fully started their healing process and they are fully in recovery, you can begin to re-introduce everyday activities. This could include, sports, school, and socializing. It’s important to note that these should all happen at the pace of the child, rushing into things can be detrimental.

Maintaining Communication

Keeping good communication up with your child about their feelings, their experiences, what they do and don’t feel comfortable with and their progress is crucial to their recovery. It’s easy to miss certain indicators and trigger points during this time and the best way to understand them is to maintain a good dialogue.

Clearfork Academy

Teen suicide is a devastating experience that affects everyone around the young person. Suicide rates are increasing amongst children and teens, indicating we need to increase our conversations around this topic. If you, a friend, or a family member is affected by suicide, or you believe they are considering committing suicide, seek help today. You can contact the national suicide prevention lifeline on 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor.

Mental health for children and young adults needs a very specific approach. At Clearfork Academy, we specialize in youth services and adolescent psychiatry, taking a person-centered approach to well-being. We offer intensive outpatient and inpatient treatment for children and adolescents who are at risk of suicide, substance misuse, and other co-existing mental health issues.

We have a highly skilled cohort of staff who truly understand the complexities of youth mental illness. We are here for you and your family, and we have all of your best interests at heart. Get in contact with us at Clearfork Academy today to find out how we can help.

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Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

As a parent or educator, you may be wondering why teens use drugs. Are there core issues or influences behind a child’s substance use or addiction? Or are they simply experimenting?

What Are the Risks of Teen Drug Abuse?

Teen drug abuse is no less risky than when adults take drugs.

Teenage drug use can cause poor judgment in both social and interpersonal interactions. It can also expose them to a community where drug use is considered normal, exposing them to potential substance addiction. It may also cause them to engage in unsafe sexual activity, which may lead to sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies.

Teen drug use also complicates and increases the risks of mental health issues and disorders. Teenagers run the same risk of potential overdoses or causing physical or psychological damage to themselves and their loved ones through substance abuse, as adults do.

Substance use can in turn lead to drug dependence, and teenagers who use drugs run a higher risk of being involved with serious drug use later in their lives. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, new studies show that adolescents with multiple symptoms of substance use disorder do not easily transition out of symptomatic substance use in adulthood.

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

Why Do Teens Use Drugs?

Drug abuse among juveniles is commonly seen as an expression of another unspoken, unsatisfied issue. Alcohol is frequently associated with teenagers who wish to release anger, as it allows them to behave aggressively. Prescription medications may be abused simply to get high, while hallucinogens like mushrooms or LSD are often used by young people as a means of escaping to a more kind or idealistic world. Cigarettes are sometimes associated with provoking parents or rebelling and showing independence.

People often want to believe that teenage drug use is just a phase or a means of experimenting. But with drug use among 8th graders going up 61% between 2016 and 2020, there may be some underlying reasons.

To Fit In

Teenage years often come with low self-esteem, many insecurities, and a big fear of not being accepted. Making friends at school can be difficult for young people, and many teens may engage in drug abuse to fit in. If others are considered ‘cool’ and are doing it, kids may fear that they will not be accepted into a social circle if they aren’t using drugs too.

Alcohol and drugs also loosen inhibitions, making social interactions easier and alleviating any social anxiety. Drug use can make teens feel that they have something in common, and a fear of being left out can prompt them to engage in it.

To Do Better

Many parents overlook the possibility that school stress can lead to their teen’s drug use. In a very competitive society, there is immense pressure on kids for athletic and academic performance. Some young adults even turn to illegal prescription stimulants to enhance their school performance.

In and outside of school, young people may want to prove their worth to their peers and their loved ones. Competition to be outstanding comes with a lot of intensity, and sometimes costs teens their sobriety.

To Feel Good

Drugs affect the neurochemistry of the brain and produce pleasurable feelings. Many teens use drugs or alcohol simply to get high. They may be looking for a thrill or an intensified feeling that they may not find in other activities. This is usually where addiction starts, as drugs interact with our brain’s method of producing and experiencing pleasure.

To Feel Better

Feeling good is one thing, but it is vastly different from feeling better when considering teen drug use. Usually, kids who take drugs to ‘feel better’ are in fact trying to cope with something.

It may be that they want to numb or dull very real emotional or psychological pain. They may be battling with something much deeper than peer pressure or school pressure. Teenage years come with everyday drama, challenging family dynamics, and loads of hormones. Rough teenage years can take an emotional toll on children, and they may take drugs to cope.

Adolescents can also suffer from depression, stress-related disorders, and social anxiety. Mental health issues combined with low self-esteem, possible anxiety disorders, and loneliness are often associated with drug abuse as teens use them as self-medication.

To Deal With Change

Change is not easy for most, and for teens, this is no exception. Teens turn to drugs to deal with changing situations. These could include moving, undergoing puberty, changing schools, or dealing with their parent’s divorce. Any change in school, friends, mental health, or self-esteem could prompt a teen to use substances.

To Experiment

Kids are indeed naturally curious and they sometimes stay curious as teenagers. It is common for teens to wonder about the sensations associated with alcohol or other drugs. Adolescents are usually motivated to look for new experiences and ones that are risky, daring, or thrilling are especially tempting. Teen years are the typical time for exploring and learning more about themselves, and this usually involves testing boundaries.

Attention

Teenagers often feel that they are not good enough, or look for something that will make them stand out or make them special. One of these things may be drug abuse, or the feeling of not being good enough can drive them to substance abuse. Sometimes a teenager might act out so that they may receive their teacher’s or parent’s attention.

Childhood

Often things that happen in childhood influence a person’s behaviors or psychology when they grow up. A family history of substance abuse could expose a child to drugs at an early age, and they are more likely to develop a substance abuse issue themselves. Traumatic events such as experiencing a car accident, or low self-esteem stemming from emotional and physical abuse can cause teenagers to take drugs to cope.

Education

Most kids grow up believing that drug or alcohol use is normal. Television shows, movies, and music may advertise or speak about it. A prime example is how easily pills are accepted as a means to deal with emotions or minor ailments like headaches. Teens may not always understand the consequences of drug use either.

Inaccurate information about drugs and alcohol is one of the key contributors for kids taking drugs. Usually, some friends will claim to know about recreational drugs, and can easily reassure others about their safety or minimal risk.

Role Models

Teens see their parents and other adults smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, or sometimes trying other substances. They most often will imitate the habits of those that are supposed to be their role models. Parents may be permissive to drugs, smoking, or drinking, which places a teen at risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with drugs or alcohol.

What Can Help Prevent Teen Drug Use?

What Can Help Prevent Teen Drug Use

There is no surefire way to end addiction or ensure a teen never does drugs. However, there are effective drug prevention efforts that can reduce risk factors. It has to do with protective factors related to substance abuse.

The Parent or Caregiver Bond

A strong bond with a parent or caregiver can help decrease the risk factors of taking drugs. The first important step if a person suspects their child is struggling with substance abuse, is to not ignore it or its signs. To understand a teen’s drug use, a person has to understand the dynamics, feelings, or pressures behind it. To steer a teen away from harmful substances, a person may have to educate themselves on drugs and alcohol.

Parents or caregivers could talk to their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol regularly. As parents and caregivers are the most important role models in children’s lives, it is important to be aware of one’s behaviors. It may mean not taking drugs, drinking alcohol in moderation, and using prescription medication only as directed.

Taking care of a child’s mental health could include engaging in athletic or community activities, spending quality time together, or teaching them healthy coping skills for dealing with mental issues. Often, treatment centers can help with this. Treatment facilities can also help with any questions regarding a medical condition.

Know About Your Child

It is important to know your teen’s friends, and even better to meet their parents. Encouraging a child to invite their friends over could be a way to know them better, and to see if someone may be a bad influence.

Clear rules about drug use help, and being aware and talking about what a child hears, sees, or is exposed to can be vital.

Treatment Center

If your child’s drug use is worrying you, Clearfork is here to help. As a residential treatment center for teens, we understand how difficult drug and alcohol abuse can be for both teens and their parents.

That is why our treatment involves a family intensive week, while a licensed education program can keep your child’s academics on track. Medical detox, and residential and outpatient treatment options are available, and experienced nursing staff are on hand 24/7.

Clearfork understands that drug and alcohol use among teens may mean that they are struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues too. That is why our addiction treatment program includes behavioral health treatment for substance use, mental health, and any co-occurring disorders. Get in contact today to find out how Clearfork Academy can help your teen.

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How Does Social Media Affect Teens?

How Does Social Media Affect Teens?

Social media has rapidly become a ubiquitous part of our lives, allowing us to connect with anyone, anywhere, and at any time. By improving social connectivity across the globe, social media has had the effect of making the world a smaller place and allowing us to learn as much as we can about each other. It is clear that social media platforms have had many beneficial impacts on us all.

However, in light of a new generation of young people who are being raised with this relatively new technology, there are a lot of questions about the downsides of its use. In many ways, this is the normal outcome of the exploration of new and innovative technologies.

However, new research is bringing to light the very real issues that intense social media use can bring about, the negative effects of their use, and which social media platforms we should worry about when it comes to the mental health of young adults.

The Twin Faces of Social Media Sites

The Twin Faces of Social Media Sites

When it comes to social networking sites, information on their use and their detrimental effects can often be contradictory. Their positive effects are often touted, such as:

  • Allowing teens to create online identities
  • Allowing teens to communicate with their peers
  • Allowing teens to fully express themselves

The value of social media in broadening teen social connections cannot be dismissed out of hand. They also have an educational dimension considering that many teens find that social media platforms are the easiest way to access information about current events, as well as to learn valuable technical skills that can aid them in their future professional life.

It has almost become a necessity for young people to have social media accounts in order for them to connect and communicate with their peers with an estimated 45% of all young Americans saying that they they are active on social media. This figure does not include those who use social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger as a tool to talk with their friends, so we can safely assume that the real figure is even higher.

A Common Sense Media report estimates that the actual number of teens participating in social media is as high as 81%. A large part of this can be attributed to the huge peer pressure that teenagers are subjected to. When everyone around you is on social media, it is hard to escape it. This is even more true when it comes to being able to manage your social media use in a healthy manner.

However, all this time online has other consequences on the mental health of teens. These consequences are worth worrying about and should make parents consider limiting their children’s social media use so that they learn to develop a healthy relationship with it, regardless of the positive effects it can sometimes have. There has been extensive research concerning how social media affects teenagers negatively. Some of these impacts are:

  • Troubled sleep patterns
  • Distorted body image
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cyberbullying
  • Increased risk of anxiety disorders
  • Increased risk of depressive symptoms

The growing consensus that social media use can affect teenagers in a negative way has slowly become more outspoken, especially when recent research brings to light the fact that increasing rates of teenage depression are directly proportional to the amount of time they use social media.

It can also be claimed that the prevalence of social media accounts as a tool for teenagers to communicate with other people means that they lack ways to develop their own social skills in an effective and realistic manner. Social media accounts are not always accurate portrayals of people’s lives, and teens can struggle to develop socially if their primary mode of communication is not face-to-face.

However, the fact that social media has become an invaluable tool for people’s social networking (both personally and professionally) is also important to keep in mind and is the reason that advocating for a healthy relationship with social media is so critical.

How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health?

How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health?

As we have discussed, the prevalence of physical and psychological consequences as a result of excessive or uncontrolled social media use can vary regardless of its positive aspects. It has been found many times over that the negative effects that social media use can bring about are directly proportional to the amount of time spent online. Subsequently, as a result of all the peer pressure that social media burdens teenagers with, many teenagers might feel that they have no choice but to spend time online to avoid being ostracised by their peers and to avoid feeling left out.

The teenage years are a tumultuous time for everyone. The constant pressure to be active online and to present the very best digital version of yourself can have degrading effects on the mental health and security of teenagers in the United States. For this reason, teaching healthy social media use to teenagers should be an essential role for parents in order to guarantee the well-being of their children.

Research on Social Media

The damaging effects on teenagers’ sleep patterns as a result of excessive media use have been thoroughly researched. A particular study with 467 adolescent test subjects found that teenagers who are more active on social media, or who are more emotionally invested in it, are much more at risk of unhealthy sleep patterns (as well as overall decreased life satisfaction). If this excessive social media use extends to too much screen time during nighttime hours, then this effect is even more prevalent.

In many ways, the manner in that teenagers interact with each other has not become essentially different. The same rules apply in the digital sphere and the same interpersonal problems and dramas are still present, they have simply become digitally transposed. Just as bullying is an issue for many teens at school (and an unfortunate consequence of human behavior), cyberbullying has become a prevalent problem.

Essentially, it is a form of online harassment which can be used to discredit or humiliate other teens. It has also been found that the mental health harms caused by cyber bullying are more likely to affect teenage girls than boys.

Social Media and Anxiety

Issues concerning increased rates of anxiety disorders have been found to correlate with teens’ social media use. Studies have shown that there is some evidence that social media use can be responsible for higher rates of anxiety among teens and adolescents. Despite the fact that there are some questions to be raised about how valid these studies are, it is not something that should be dismissed out of hand.

This is especially important considering that anxiety disorders can lead teenagers to other problems, such as substance abuse disorders. Other systematic reviews have shown that social media usage and anxiety have a bidirectional relationship. Excessive use leads to higher rates of anxiety and teens with already present anxiety disorders, or issues concerning loneliness and social isolation, tend to use social media more often which exacerbates an already present problem.

Likewise, excessive social media use in teens can also lead to an increased prevalence of depressive symptoms among young adults and can be one explanatory factor for increased rates of depression among American teenagers.

However, it should be kept in mind that the prevalence of anxiety or depression-related mental health disorders cannot be explained simply by too much social media use. It is simply one contributory factor among many related to teens’ self-image and how they relate to their peers.

Social Media and Low Self Esteem

When it comes to self-image and self-esteem, one issue that should be addressed is social media’s relationship to body dysmorphia, which affects young people of all genders. Body dysmorphia is defined as an excessive or unrealistic worry about a person’s physical appearance, leading to stress and anxiety.

In many ways, it can be considered almost normal that if teens are constantly pushed images of beautiful people living the “ideal life” then they are forced to reflect on their own appearance, and start to view it as the reason for their lack of online success.

Research has shown that body dysmorphia is on the rise among teens and adolescents, with social media cited as one possible cause. Excessive social media use has been proven to be related to body dissatisfaction, which in turn leads to other sets of problems such as eating disorders. Despite affecting both boys and girls, girls are usually found to be more at risk of developing health disorders that can negatively affect their physical health. It is one more example of how the effects of the normal phenomenon of social comparison is exacerbated by social media use.

Social Media Platforms

Social Media Platforms

In terms of which social media platform is most likely to cause negative effects on teens’ mental health, there is limited research available. This is not unsurprising considering that many social media sites are still relatively new and there has not been enough time to effectively research the effects of their prolonged use.

Sites such as Facebook, which was the main social networking site for many years, have been the center of attention because of their longevity and because of how it has been proven to negatively impact youths. Studies have shown that prolonged use can create skewed perceptions about other people’s lives.

Additionally, statistical research has found that the high use of Facebook is a predictive factor in how people feel generally about themselves, with it having a negative impact on their own subjective idealizations of themselves. Essentially, rather than fulfilling a teenager’s need to connect with others on an emotional level, it can have the opposite effect.

Despite the large availability of research concerning Facebook, it is merely one part of the social media bubble, and parents should not necessarily focus on it as the sole culprit for their children’s self-esteem issue, especially as young people are progressively moving towards other platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

How Can You Limit Your Teenager’s Social Media Usage?

How Can You Limit Your Teenager’s Social Media Usage?

In many ways, social media interactions by teenagers are simply a reflection of their personal identity. Teenagers will always be teenagers, it is just that their behavior has been transposed into the digital sphere.

Parenting is difficult, but it is important to teach teenagers ways of maintaining a healthy relationship with social media so as ensure they do not fall into problems concerning their mental health. Setting proper limits is of utmost importance, while also recognizing that online time has become an essential part of maintaining a successful social identity, even if we disregard peer pressure.

Good parenting extends to digital personas. However, if your child is a heavy social media user it may be time to find some way to help them. It is normal that teenagers have difficulty self-regulating, which is why parental controls are so important. While it may be seen as invasive by teens, it is a good way to make sure they do not develop future body image issues or other related problems such as substance abuse disorders. Parents should focus on providing effective emotional support to their children and help them be more resilient to bullying through effective communication.

Simple actions such as reducing screen time at night can do wonders for teens, both in regard to their sleep patterns and as a method of reducing risks of anxiety or depressive disorders. Less social media at night is therefore highly recommended. In establishing healthy boundaries, they can learn to be more comfortable with themselves and others by limiting social media exposure.

How To Get Help for Your Teenage Children

How To Get Help for Your Teenage Children

If you are worried about your teen’s social media use and the impact it has had on their well-being, then sometimes therapy and treatment are the most effective option to deal with it in a healthy way.

This is also due to the fact that the negative outcomes of social media are simply one factor among many when it comes to mental health issues. Excessive use of networking sites, despite the positive behaviors they can encourage, goes hand in hand with many mental health and substance use disorders.

It can be difficult for parents to keep up to date with modern technology, especially when they are busy managing their own lives and taking care of their children’s needs. It is for this reason that Clearfork helps parents with teenagers who are at risk of these problems.

At Clearfork, teens can visit our facilities in order to get a better and more healthy outlook on everyday life. We offer a range of therapies aimed at supporting young people, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and music and art therapy.

Our outdoor therapies can help your teen reconnect with the beauty in life through activities such as yoga, wilderness exploration, and equine therapy.

Get in touch now to find out how we can help improve your teen’s mental health.

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Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

As an adolescent, you are going through a variety of changes, developing into who you are as a person both physically and mentally. During this period, behavioral disorders may present themselves more clearly and cause a variety of obstacles to overcome. However, adolescence is a common time frame for these disorders to become prevalent.

Behavioral Disorders

Behavioral disorders are considered patterns of disruptive behaviors that occur for at least six months. These disorders can have a variety of behaviors involved, such as lack of attention span, impulsive behaviors, hyperactivity, and unusual or defiant behavior. Common diagnoses of behavioral disorders in adolescents include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). These common diagnoses can cause adolescents trouble in school and work environments.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD causes adolescents or individuals with this diagnosis to struggle to retain focus and attention or hyper-focusing on various matters. While these behaviors often onset in children and adolescents, the behaviors can continue to worsen throughout life if not handled properly. The following behaviors are commonly seen in adolescents diagnosed with ADHD:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing items consistently
  • Fidgeting
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Impulsive decision-making
  • Struggle to resist temptations
  • Impatience

While ADHD is not curable, there are many healthy habits you can implement into your lifestyle to help manage these symptoms. Eating healthy, keeping healthy sleep habits, and scheduling your day can help make basic functioning run smoothly.

Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder in adolescents is often viewed as a consistent form of delinquent behavior. With an increased tendency to act out of impulsivity, aggression, and disobedience, the results of this disorder are more extreme. The following symptoms are common with this behavioral disorder.

  • Aggression
  • Destruction
  • Deceitfulness
  • Lying
  • Manipulation

One of the most important ways to work through conduct disorder is to learn skills to help regulate your emotions. Many symptoms arise from heightened anger and the inability to control impulses.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

ODD in adolescents is portrayed through a long period of disobedience and hostile behaviors. This can arise in young children but is often worse during adolescence. The following symptoms of ODD are important to be aware of and recognize if you find you are frequently experiencing these.

  • Increased irritation
  • Temper tantrums
  • Low self-esteem
  • Blaming others
  • Refusal to obey

Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents

Reviewing the three most common behavioral issues shown in adolescent males, you may notice that many of the symptoms of the three disorders are very similar. ADHD is typically the most differing of the three disorders discussed above. With ADHD, the main struggles adolescents find they are dealing with is their ability to retain attention on a subject and focus on success in educational settings. This can cause grades to fall and a lack of attention span. 

Creating a study schedule with planned breaks every so often can help reset the mind. If you allow your mind a chance to focus on something else and then come back to regain focus, it can be easier to engage with the material.

With ODD and Conduct Disorder, the behaviors shown have a higher potential for violence. Conduct Disorder typically involves a higher level of violence and misbehavior through the adolescent’s actions. ODD is often more behavioral through throwing tantrums and expressing heightened emotions, while conduct disorder involves physical acts of violence out of anger. 

Managing Behavioral Disorders

Learning to manage behavioral disorders as an adolescent can be challenging as you are working toward becoming an adult and taking upon more responsibilities. It is recommended to seek psychological help if dealing with a behavioral disorder to ensure you are making progress and learning appropriate coping mechanisms. 

This form of psychological treatment is focused on your well-being but will also include your parents. By working with the family unit, the goal is to set clear expectations of rules and boundaries, work to improve communication, and bring self-awareness. Discussing the issues that a behavioral disorder has brought on can help each family member express their concerns and work together to create a plan that everyone feels will lead them to success. 

Working on getting help and regulating your behavioral disorder as an adolescent can make the management of this disorder much easier in the future. If you push aside the consequences of your behaviors, they will likely catch up to you and cause more serious conflict in the future. Working to regulate these behaviors and emotions at a young age can help implement these habits more easily. Working to provide mental stability will help you set yourself up for future success.

Behavioral disorders are common concerns during the age of adolescence. Understanding the various forms of behavioral disorders and how to manage them can help teens avoid getting drawn into the negative symptoms brought upon by these disorders. At Clearfork Academy, we understand that behavioral disorders such as ADHD, ODD, and conduct disorder are common among teens. These disorders can cause a variety of struggles, but our programs can help. We provide teens with the appropriate therapy and treatment to help them manage their behavioral disorders. With us, teens will learn to cope with behavioral disorders and get back on track by gaining the skills needed to manage their disorders. If your teen currently needs help, don’t wait; act today. To learn more about the common types of behavioral disorders in adolescents and how to manage them, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (888) 966-8604.