Stress in Children and Adolescents
What is Stress in Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescents can experience stress as a natural reaction to the challenges and changes of life. Childhood and adolescence, in particular, are times full of many challenges and changes both physiologically and psychosocially.
Not all stress is negative. Stress can help motivate and serve to assist children and adolescents with building resilience. However, if stress is left unaddressed, it can become prolonged and have negative effects. Stress can lead to many different physical and mental health issues such as a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression.
What Are the Types of Stress?
There are several types of stress including life event stress, chronic stress, and traumatic stress. Life event stress stems from a specific life event. This stress is typically situational and lasts for a shorter duration. Chronic stress is stress that lasts for more than several weeks. Traumatic stress is stress resulting from traumatic events. Traumatic events are events in life that are significant, intense, extreme, and unexpected such as an accident, loss of a loved one, abuse, or violence.
What Are the Causes of Stress?
Children and adolescents may feel stress when there are stakes to things that they feel are important. Stress can occur for children and adolescents when they must protect themselves against, adjust to, or get ready for something. Stress is typically thought of as caused by bad things. However, good things like holidays, graduations, new activities, and change for the better can also cause stress.
Home can also be a cause of stress for children and adolescents, whether there be a divorce, new home, or birth of a sibling. School can be a source of stress for children and adolescents as well. Many children suffer from performance anxiety as well as fitting in with their peers.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress?
The symptoms of stress include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, behavior changes, irritability, anxiety, depression, and abandoning activities and responsibilities. Physical issues are also symptoms of stress like being sick more often and having headaches and stomachaches.
How is Stress Diagnosed?
Paying close attention to children and adolescents is important. Talking with children and adolescents, being aware of any changes in behavior, and observing possible symptoms of stress are also vital. Behavioral and emotional signs displayed by children and adolescents provide vital information regarding the issues and challenges they are facing and assist in the diagnosis of stress. When stress impacts a child’s quality of life and everyday functioning, they can often benefit from speaking with a mental health clinician. At The Midtown Practice, we have several skillful providers who can help your child identify negative thoughts and emotions, and learn strategies and techniques to manage their mood and response to challenging situations.
How is Stress Treated?
Therapy is an option that many children and adolescents and their families find helpful. Specific byproducts of stress like anxiety and depression can be diagnosed and treated separately. At The Midtown Practice, we are a devoted and committed group of professionals who can assist children and adolescents in identifying their stress and developing techniques to navigate the stress to feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed and calm.