Too Young to be Stressed Out? Ingalls Behavioral Health Focuses on Adolescents Too

 

(September, 2016)

“Oh to be young and carefree….”

To adults, childhood can seem like an idyllic time, free of stress and responsibilities.

But ask any child or teen, and they’re likely to paint an entirely different picture. Life to them consists of hours of nightly homework; endless worry about grades; daily sports practice; band rehearsals; and weekends chewed up with sports tournaments and more homework!

Not surprisingly, as their stress levels grow, children are at risk for a host of problems – from anxiety and depression to physical ailments, says Felicia Houston, M.A., LCPC, licensed clinical professional counselor at Ingalls Behavioral Health Services.

In fact, research by the American Psychological Association shows one in three teens say stress drove them to sadness or depression – and the single biggest source was school.

What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control reports that a majority of teens get at least two hours less sleep each night than what’s recommended (8 – 10 hours), making them more susceptible to illness, drowsiness, weight gain and an inability to concentrate when they need to most.

Not surprisingly, a growing body of medical evidence suggests that long-term childhood stress is linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety and poor physical health in adulthood too.   

“That’s why as parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles, it’s important for us to be able to recognize when the children in our lives are stressed or depressed,” she explains.

The following symptoms may indicate your child or teen is depressed, particularly when symptoms last for more than two weeks:

  • Poor performance in school
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Lack of enthusiasm or motivation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Restlessness and agitation

 

“Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening,” Felicia adds. 

Fortunately, Ingalls Behavioral Health Services offers a treatment program designed specifically for adolescents, including an after-school group therapy program that teaches life skills, anger management, coping skills, self-esteem building, stress management and social skills training.

For adolescents that need a more structured, therapeutic environment, Ingalls offers an Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization program for children 12 and older. The inpatient program helps adolescents identify counterproductive behaviors, current stressors, ongoing issues, strengths and supports. Individual, group and family therapy are provided along with medication management.

Ingalls Behavioral Health offers no-cost, confidential assessment and referrals for adolescents and adults, with a trained mental health professional available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information or immediate assistance, please call 708.915.6411.