Tag Archive: anxiety

  1. The Benefits of Not Worrying About Your Child’s Anxiety

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    The Benefits of Not Worrying About Your Child’s Anxiety

    Parents sometimes claim that worrying about their child is in their job description. Even as a child gets older, they continue to worry, sometimes excessively. When parents verbalize their worries about their teen’s anxiety or otherwise make their concerns known, it can increase the child’s anxiety levels as well. Learning to manage your own anxiety without fueling your child’s fears can help the entire family function better.

    The Ripple Effects of Anxiety in the Family

    Anxiety tends to feed anxiety. Studies have shown that when parents, especially the mother, have an anxiety disorder, children are far more likely to develop an anxiety disorder as well. It is not only the biological impact, however. Children can sense a parent’s anxiety levels. When a parent is anxious, the child becomes more anxious as well. A child’s anxiety can then raise the anxiety levels of the parents, and so on. The ripple effects of anxiety in the family can create a never-ending environment of anxiety.

    The best way to stop this ripple effect is for the parent to manage their own anxiety, whether it is simply worrying about your child or an actual anxiety disorder that escalates based on your child’s anxiety. When you learn to control your fears and manage your anxiety disorder, you stop that ripple effect and create a buffer for your child’s anxiety that helps to minimize their own levels as well.

    Learning the Difference Between Concern and Fear

    Parents are biologically wired to be concerned about their children’s welfare, including both emotional and physical health. Watching your teen for signs of distress or illness is a natural part of parenting. However, allowing your concerns to turn to fears and potentially supersede all other thoughts, or perhaps even impact rational thoughts and behaviors, is when parental concern becomes anxiety.

    Chances are good that if your child has an anxiety disorder, you as a parent may have an anxiety disorder as well, as both genetics and environment play a part in the development of child anxiety. However, as the parent, with a fully developed brain, it is your responsibility to learn to manage your anxiety.

    Managing Your Anxiety for Your Child’s Benefit

    Learning to manage your own anxiety or anxiety disorder has multiple benefits for your child. Immediately, it changes the home environment from one of stress and anxiety to one of peace and tranquility, thus helping your teen to feel safer and more comfortable. You, as a parent, are also more available to help your child manage their own symptoms.

    As a parent, you also set an example of mental wellness when you make the effort to manage your own anxiety. Normalizing the use of therapy, as well as wellness techniques like meditation, yoga, exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep hygiene, sets the expectation for your teen on how to live well and prioritize mental wellness in their own lives. Giving them this gift of living by example can be priceless to their long-term well-being.

    Why Learning to Manage Your Anxiety Helps You

    Managing your own anxiety helps you to live your life without fear, to live in the moment, and live a more fulfilling life. You will be more effective not only as a parent but also in your personal, work, and social life.

    Learning to manage your own anxiety also gives you a new skill set that can be applied daily throughout your life. You can use those skills to help resolve conflicts in relationships, solve problems that arise, and manage crisis situations that may affect you. You become a better person when your anxiety is managed well, and more specifically, a better functioning parent.

    Why Families Function Better When Parents Aren’t Anxious

    Families can function better when parents are not anxious because the element of fear is removed from day-to-day living. This frees up not only the parent to function better but also the entire family. Imagine if you, as a parent, were literally walking on eggshells when you were manifesting anxiety. Your entire family would also be walking on eggshells with you because you are the driving force in the family dynamic.

    Now imagine removing all the eggshells and how much better your family would function. Sure, you still have a teen that may be functioning by walking on eggshells, but the rest of the family can help them remove those eggshells because they are all on a steady, calm, solid surface. That is the difference when parents are not anxious. Families can navigate more successfully through the storms of life when they themselves are at peace.

    When parents do not worry about their child’s anxiety, the benefits extend to the child, to the parents, and to the entire family. Learning the difference between parental concern and fear will help you to avoid fears and learn to manage your own anxiety. The benefits of managing your anxiety will help you function better, as well as the entire family. Sustain Recovery understands the importance that parents and the family play in the mental wellness of teens. Our extended residential program in Irvine, California, is designed to help teens gradually transition back into the family after treatment for addiction and mental health diagnoses. As a parent, your commitment to your own mental wellness can be instrumental in your child’s recovery. Contact Sustain today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is right for you and your family.

  2. Helping Your Teen Manage Their Anxiety Effectively

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    Helping Your Teen Manage Their Anxiety Effectively

    Anxiety among adolescents is more common than ever before. Helping your teen manage their anxiety effectively can be like walking a tightrope. Finding the line between being truly supportive and leaving your teen feeling neglected or contributing to their anxiety levels can be very difficult. Parents can be supportive without contributing further to their child’s anxiety by finding ways to help their teens manage their anxiety in tangible, healthy ways.

    Balancing Emotional Independence and Support

    Finding balance in parenting is always a challenge. The desire to allow children adequate space and opportunities to develop independence while still offering appropriate physical and emotional support becomes increasingly complicated when your teen has an anxiety disorder.

    On the one hand, the nearer they are to adulthood, the more emotional independence they need. On the other hand, anxiety also carries risks such as depression and suicide that parents need to be able to responsibly monitor, as the adolescent brain does not develop fully until the age of 25. Finding healthy, tangible ways to offer support can help parents find this balance.

    Offering Access to Therapy

    One of the most obvious ways parents can support their teens with anxiety is to offer access to therapy. Providing medical coverage, covering out-of-pocket costs, and providing transportation to therapist appointments is a very real, tangible way to support your teen.

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. Providing access to a licensed therapist that offers CBT is one of the best ways to help your adolescent with anxiety. Involving your teen in choosing a therapist and scheduling appointments increases their independence while offering the physical support of finances and transportation is an appropriate parental intervention.

    Creating a Tradition of Family Walks

    Exercise, such as being outdoors and walking, is another helpful tool in managing anxiety. However, many teens struggle to find the motivation to go walking on their own. Parents can offer support by creating a tradition of going for walks together as a family. Whether the walks are in the morning, before or after dinner, or even just on the weekends, they are a physically and emotionally healthy tradition to create for the entire family.

    Walking as a family not only helps support your teen’s management of their anxiety but also gives families the opportunity to talk and bond. In addition to the emotional and physical benefits for all family members, memories are created, and the time spent together as a family is an investment that pays dividends now and in the future.

    Supporting Your Teen With Mind and Body Wellness

    Using mind and body wellness techniques as a family can help your teen manage their anxiety more effectively. According to a 2018 survey published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the use of meditation and yoga by both children and adults has increased significantly in recent years. The increase in popularity is not just a fad; both children and adults find meditation and yoga to be helpful in stress reduction and improved quality of life.

    In 2020, the NIH published an article entitled Yoga for Health: What Science Says. The article cites recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics for the use of yoga by children and adolescents and lists research supporting positive benefits. The article references various studies that indicate that children and teens who practice yoga indicate reduced anxiety. Additionally, the article lists many benefits of yoga for adults, a few of which include:

    • Stress management
    • Balance
    • Positive mental health
    • Health habits
    • Weight control
    • Smoking cessation
    • Pain management
    • Managing chronic health conditions
    • Lessening anxiety and depression
    • Sleep improvement

    Introducing meditation or yoga as family activities can offer your family many benefits to emotional and physical well-being while specifically offering support for your teen with anxiety. By doing these activities as a family, you are not singling your teen or their anxiety out as a problem but rather offering positive health solutions for the entire family.

    Being Your Child’s Calm in the Storm

    Another important role parents can have in the lives of their teens with anxiety is simply to be their child’s calm in the storms of their life. Parents can just be there, be available to their teen, and be a calm and consistent presence for them. There is no particular need to say or do anything specific other than to be consistent in your expectations and be a quiet but constant presence for your child. For children who live with constant anxiety, having parents who balance them with peace, calm, and consistency can be a tremendous shelter for them in the personal storms of their lives.

    Helping your teen manage their anxiety can feel like you are constantly walking on a tightrope, but parents can be the calm in the storm for their child. Offering tangible, healthy solutions for teens, such as access to therapy, creating family activities to do together such as walking, or mind and body wellness activities like meditation and yoga can give teens the support they need while still offering emotional independence. At Sustain Recovery, we believe in fostering emotional independence for teens through treatment for addiction and mental health diagnoses. Our facility, located in Irvine, California, offers extended residential treatment for adolescents, which helps them to successfully transition back home. We help teens to access support in their community to increase their opportunities for long-term recovery. Call us at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our treatment program is right for you and your family.

  3. One-Third of Adolescents Experience Anxiety

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    Raising teenagers gives parents a lot of reasons to worry. They concern themselves with ensuring their children have a good education, access to healthcare, and a safe place to call home. Parents prioritize keeping their kids away from drugs and alcohol, and seek help if they develop an issue with substances.

    One thing a lot of parents don’t have on their list of things to worry about is this: Does my child deal with anxiety?

    The National Institute of Mental Health reports some alarming statistics about anxiety among young people. These facts include:

    • Approximately one-third of adolescents have some type of anxiety disorder
    • Of those individuals, eight percent experience a severe impairment
    • The number of female adolescents who have an anxiety disorder is 38.0%
    • Male adolescents experience anxiety disorders at a rate of 26.1%

    Signs That Your Child May Suffer From Anxiety

    Symptoms of a child suffering from an anxiety disorder vary. Common signs include:

    • Constantly worrying about both general and specific things
    • Having panic attacks
    • Feeling fidgety
    • Constant negative feelings and irritability
    • A drop in grades
    • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
    • Loss of interest in school activities and hobbies
    • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
    • Heart palpitations
    • Often feeling cold or sweaty
    • Tingling in hands or feet
    • Chronic complaints of headaches, nausea, and digestion problems
    • Use of drugs or alcohol

    What Causes Anxiety in Children and Teenagers?

    Adolescents who struggle with an anxiety disorder may have one or more reasons for developing one. These are some of the common contributing causes:

    • Adapting to the Pandemic: Children and teenagers do not have a lot of life experience to fall back on. When the world became consumed by the coronavirus, everything familiar to adolescents became altered. Learning new skills like social distancing, attending school from home via a computer, and losing in-person friendships caused much stress.
    • Re-entry agoraphobia” has entered the lexicon, as many people are finding it difficult to return to their old lives. Some adolescents experience anxiety related to returning to school and going places in public.
    • Fear of public violence: Children today have spent their entire lives being taught to prepare for violent acts in public. Schools practice regular drills about how to react to a school shooter. News reports about mass gun shootings cause many children to fear going to everyday places, such as the grocery store or mall.
    • Social media: Websites like Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook can foster a sense of anxiety in people of all ages. Adolescents, in particular, can live or die by how many likes or views their posts get. They unfairly compare their lives to those of others.
    • Academic pressure: The focus on standardized testing in school can cause many kids to obsess about their grades. Children just beginning elementary school often feel the pressure to compete with each other, whether for daily grades or to get into good college years later.
    • Unstable home environments: Children living in homes with high-stress levels may internalize the stress. Situations like parents who have an unhappy marriage, violence in the home, or economic instability can cause a rise in anxiety levels.

    How to Help Your Adolescent with Anxiety

    Start a conversation with your child about anxiety. Let them know that people of all ages sometimes struggle with it, and it’s nothing to feel shame about. Ask them about specific situations and if these make them feel anxious. Suggest things like school, friendships, family situations, social lives, the pandemic, and worrying about the future.

    Discuss how social media can often present a false image of a person’s life. A friend or classmate may often post about fun activities or enjoying romantic attention. These posts do not paint a full picture of their lives. Many people are dishonest on social media out of their own insecurities. Likes and follows do not equal worthiness.

    Ask yourself what sort of expectations you set for your child and how these may impact them. There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to succeed in life. Just make sure to help them set reasonable goals and give them time off to relax and enjoy their youth. While some families want their kids to become doctors or corporate executives, parents need to allow individuality and personal interests to emerge.

    Getting a Professional Evaluation for Anxiety

    If you suspect your child or teenager may be overwhelmed by anxiety, make an appointment for an evaluation. Doctors and licensed counselors offer anxiety screenings to help both the parents and child understand what’s going on.

    Many prescription medications can help young people minimize their anxiety symptoms. Speaking with a therapist and exploring professional treatment programs also offer help managing anxiety disorders. Often, just knowing there is a name for what a child is experiencing and proper help can help reduce some of their anxiety.

    About one-third of adolescents experience anxiety in their lives. Reasons for their anxiety can include living during the pandemic, a fear of violence, academic pressure, unstable home environments, and the competitive nature of social media. Parents can help their children by having ongoing discussions about their anxiety levels and how to manage them. A professional medical evaluation, therapy, and medication can offer positive results. Sustain Recovery understands the pressures that adolescents are under today and offers programs that address anxiety disorders and other mental health issues. We also treat addiction to drugs and alcohol in our long-term treatment programs. We offer continuing education, so your child stays up-to-date with their academics. If your child had sought treatment before but did not flourish, we can help. We also keep in touch after program completion to help ensure continued success. Call Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052 to help your child start to heal.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

Megan
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