Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Emotions
It’s normal to not “feel like yourself” every so often. But, when these feelings last longer than a couple of days and interfere with your life, it is a sign that something isn’t right and that you should get help. Sometimes, when teens display unusual or undesirable behavior, it is attributed to “being a teenager”. However, it is important to be able to differentiate between a bad mood, and something serious.
Occasional anxiety is normal and expected. For example, you may feel anxious when you are about to take an exam or make an important decision. For people who suffer from anxiety disorders, the anxiety gets to a point to where it interferes with their everyday activities, and becomes worse over time. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: excessive worry or fear, feeling restless or fidgety, sleeping issues, and difficulty concentrating. Panic attacks can also occur and symptoms include: elevated heart rate, shaking, shortness of breath and feeling that something bad is going to happen.
It’s okay to feel sad or overwhelmed at times. Being a teenager, your hormones can cause changes in mood that last a few days or so. However, depression is more than just a case of “the blues”. It is having constant feelings of sadness, hopelessness and emptiness on most days for at least two weeks. For teens, symptoms of depression can be different than in adults. In addition to being sad, it is common for teens to display anger, eat and/or sleep too much or too little, lose interest in their usual activities, avoid social situations, engage in drug and alcohol use, and do poorly in school.
- We all have stress. But, constant stress can often result in anxiety and depression. Common effects of long-term stress include:
- Drug and alcohol use
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Eating too much or not enough
- Emotional Health
- Emotional health is being in control of your feelings by having the ability to properly express them. Emotional health can affect physical health as well. Keeping negative emotions inside is not healthy; neither is releasing them in an unhealthy way. This can lead to health issues such as depression and high blood pressure.
Tips for Relieving Stress, Anxiety and Mild Depressive Symptoms:
- Talk to someone you trust about whatever problems you may have
- Spend time with friends and family
- Be more active
- Try a new hobby
- Get more sleep
- Keep a journal
- Listen to music
- Practice deep breathing and meditation
For more information:
American Psychological Association: Teens and Stress
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Teens and Young Adults
National Institute of Mental Health: Teen Depression