Melodramtics or Suicidal Thoughts?

Adolescence, as a developmental stage, tends to be more dramatic and emotional than other stages of development.  Much of this increase in drama is due to the physiological and hormonal changes they are experiencing.  But, how do we know when a teens emotions are reaching dangerous levels?  Any teen that has experienced intense levels of anxiety, depression or other self-destructive behaviors is at an increased risk for suicidal thoughts.

What is Suicidal Ideation/thoughts?

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It’s a preoccupation with ending one’s life and/or

death.

How do we recognize when a teen in our life is in danger of hurting themselves and is experiencing suicidal thoughts?

  • Sudden switch from being very sad to very calm
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Risk Taking – having a “death wish”
  • Lose of interest
  • Comments about hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness
  • Tying up loose ends – returning borrowed items, cleaning out room, giving things away
  • Talking about suicide – “I wish I wasn’t here”, “better if I died”
  • Visiting or calling those they care about, saying good-byes

So what do we do if we suspect a teen is struggling with suicidal thoughts?

Don’t be afraid to ask them directly, you will not put the idea in their head, it’s already there.

  • Do you want to kill yourself?
  • Do you have a plan?
  • Do you have the ability to carry out plan?

If yes to any of these questions then seek immediate help, call 911 or transport them to a hospital – you might be surprised at how easily they will go with you.  Help is available don’t be afraid to seek it out.

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Clumsy Accident or Self-Harm?

As we continue our series discussion on recognizing teen warning signs we are going to touch on two very scary and difficult areas, self-harm and suicide.  These are two teen epidemics that are getting a lot of media attention.  I want to pull the curtain back from all of the media hype and give you some straight forward information.  This post is a focus on self-harm, suicide will be the focus on the following post.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is deliberate injury that a person inflicts on themselves. 

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Fickle Eater or Eating Disorder?

The previous two posts outline the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.  This post will explore the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

There are two types of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.  These are disorders that are considered symptoms of depression and anxiety, they are ways in which teens cope and ways in which they exert control over their life.

Anorexia as defined by the Mayo Clinic is:

“Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that’s far below normal for their age and height. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively.” Continue reading

Anxiety or Normal Teen Angst?

Being a teenager is probably one of the most stressful andAnxiety can be paralizing anxious times in a person’s life.  There is pressure from all sides, friends, family, and school all while  teens are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe.  So, how do we know if the teens in our life are just going through normal teen angst or if they are developing significant issues with anxiety?

What is the definition of Anxiety? It is fear based and usually focuses on what could/will happen (i.e. PTSD – fear of what could happen based on past trauma experience, arachnophobia – its not actually fear of the spider, but what the spider could or will do.)

Here are some warning signs for anxiety you need to look:

  • Lost interest – fear of not being accepted being an outcast…avoiding situations
  • Change in sleep and food habits
  • Day dreams and doesn’t want to do things
  • Experience a sudden drop in grades
  • Feeling guilty
  • Extreme anger or sadness/over reaction
  • Constantly afraid
  • Multiple headaches and stomach aches
  • Forgets and doesn’t want to study
  • Isolation
  • Sweating excessively or needing to go to the restroom often
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Nightmares

If you have a teen in your life, or if you yourself are struggling with anxiety you don’t have to do it alone.  Help is available, call today for a free 20 minute consultation.

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Depression or Just Being a Teen?

We’re kicking off a new series where we identify the warning signs of more serious mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, that may be occurring in a teen in your life.  While some “growing pains” are to be expected as teenagers grapple with the challenges of growing up, dramatic, long-lasting changes in personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem.

Depression – Constant state of worry over the past, feeling stuck or living in the past.

If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager,” Teen Warning Signsconsider how long the symptoms have been present, how severe they are, and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self.

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Hopelessness and pessimism (frequent episodes of crying)
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping (teenagers normal sleep habits)
  • Irritability, restlessness, anger, hostility
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies (lack of enthusiasm)
  • Overeating or complete lack of appetite
  • Persistently sad, anxious, or empty feelings
  • Thoughts of death or suicide attempts
  • Physical ailments that do not ease with treatment (headaches, sore muscles, etc.)
  • Isolation, withdrawal from family and friends
  • Poor hygiene

If you’ve noticed the above symptoms in your teen over the last few months there may be a more serious issue going on.  Please know you are not alone and help is available.  Contact us today, we would love to help you and your teen through the difficult journey of adolescents.

Come back next week when we will take a look at anxiety.

Overcoming the Bully

As a kid, I was the “fat kid” who was teased quite a bit about her weight.  When people think about bullying, this is the type of thing that they often think of. However, bullying is an issue that is rampant across our society, and it is not always as clear-cut as the name calling that I experienced. Unfortunately, bullying is an issue that most of us have to deal with in some capacity, at some point in our lives.  Whether it is a bully on the playground, in the workplace, or corporate bullies such as the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch who recently stated that he only wanted “popular” and “pretty” people wearing his clothes, being insulted or belittled is hurtful, and if not addressed, can be deeply harmful.

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