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teen mindfulness program

Breathe In, Breathe Out: How Mindfulness Helps Teens who Struggle with Depression and Anxiety

Breathe In, Breathe Out: How Mindfulness Helps Teens who Struggle with Depression and Anxiety 640 426 se_admin

Teen suicide. Substance abuse. Bullying and fights. Although seemingly unrelated, these all too frequent epidemics are plaguing today’s schools; and, frequently, they seem to spring from a single common source. Teenagers are finding it tough to cope these days; the challenging, sometimes stifling demands of peer pressure and academic performance placing undue stress on their sensitive psyche.

In order to combat these issues—and, for that matter, the feelings of anger, frustration, and sometimes out and out the hopelessness that accompany them—many school districts are offering mindfulness sessions in school.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of slowing down and paying attention to yourself and your surroundings in the moment. For many teenagers, their day consists of running from school to after school clubs to homework to family obligations. Their days are tightly packed, and even in their down time, they are rarely focusing on one task at a time. For example, during homework time, many teens can also be found chatting with friends via social media or watching videos. For previous generations, a ride in the car or a walk around the neighborhood forced them to look out the window or take in their surroundings. Today, teens can be watching movies, listening to music, or posting on social media during those same activities. Being mindful and slowing down is no longer a built in part of their day. Instead, teens need to learn how to actively engage in mindfulness practices and set aside the time to do them. 

Mindfulness involves the teaching of techniques like breathing and meditation to help people calm themselves and control their emotions.

Here is how you and your teen’s teacher can put mindfulness to work for them:

  • Guide the teen in the commission of deliberate deep breathing exercises. The phrase “Stop and take a good deep breath,” never has been more applicable. The simple act of stopping, falling silent, and taking a good, deep breath can do much to center and calm a frenetic teen; especially if they happen to be in the throes of an anxiety attack, when the simple process of breathing becomes strained and difficult.
  • Learn more about yoga and meditation. These sacred, time-honored arts have been utilized for centuries to bring peace, balance and happiness to people of all ages. Through instructional classes, books and videos, you can learn the principles and practices of yoga and meditation; passing this information on to your troubled teen. Teachers can lead meditative sessions in the classroom, and physical education teachers might integrate yoga into daily fitness regimens. Parents can morph a good yoga or meditation session into an enjoyable family activity.
  • Encourage self-reflection. Train your teen to reflect on and contemplate their problems and stressors; also to discuss these issues with parents and teachers, so that you can work together to find healthy and workable solutions.
  • Teach and encourage your teen to express themselves. When teens are empowered to release their tensions and frustrations in constructive and highly creative manners, then they no doubt will feel calmer, more centered, and more in control of their emotions. If they can sing a song instead of scream, draw a picture instead of take a drug, write instead of cut, etc., then they will develop a positive and intensely constructive outlet for their emotions.

Form a mindfulness team with your teen. When you meditate, breathe or draw/write/sing with the troubled teen, then you will bring the divine circle of mindfulness to its completion—to the benefit of both of you.

Mindfulness for Better Mental Health

A 2021 study found that mindfulness courses, like many other mental health practices, can reduce anxiety, depression and stress and increase mental wellbeing within most non-clinical settings. Many people who practice mindfulness report feeling calmer and more balanced in their emotions, but how does mindfulness actually help improve mental health?

One way that mindfulness can help is that it reduces rumination. Rumination is the process of continually thinking about the same thoughts. Often, teens who experience anxiety feel stuck in a rumination loop, where they are fixed on negative or “what if” thoughts. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. In one study, researchers asked 20 novice meditators to participate in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination. 

Another benefit of mindfulness is stress reduction. Researchers believe the benefits of mindfulness are related to its ability to dial down the body’s response to stress. When we are chronically stressed, our response system becomes taxed and burnt out. Mindfulness can teach practitioners to regulate their body’s response to stress. Psychological scientists have found that mindfulness influences two different stress pathways in the brain, changing brain structures and activity in regions associated with attention and emotion regulation. Scientists are also beginning to understand which elements of mindfulness are responsible for its beneficial effects.

There is also promising research that mindfulness can help alleviate depression. Studies have suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is just as effective as medication in preventing depression relapse among adults with a history of recurrent depression, and in reducing depressive symptoms among those with active depression. Practicing mindfulness can also help teens cultivate a sense of self-compassion. Oftentimes, teens experiencing depression may feel like they are failing or that there is something wrong with them because they feel that they can’t engage in the world or be successful the way they believe their peers are. These depressive thoughts can worsen their symptoms, but mindfulness encourages teens to be kinder to themselves. Self-compassion helps teens practice self-kindness, recognize their common humanity with others instead of feeling isolated and ashamed. It encourages teens to not fixate on their perceived faults. Mindfulness can also help teens manage their inner critic and lessen its impact, which may help alleviate some of their depressive symptoms. 

Reacting Vs. Responding

Also related to stress and anxiety, mindfulness teaches students to respond versus react to a situation. Our reaction is often that first impulse. For example, if a teen has a negative stress response, like an emotional or physical outburst that is their reaction. This is why something that seems small to parents, like requesting your teen put their phone away for dinner, can elicit a huge or angry reaction. It could be that your teen is worried that they will be left out if they don’t respond right away to their friends. This worry triggers their stress response and subsequent outburst. They may not have the words in the moment to communicate their worries and instead scream about how they hate you and slam doors. Mindfulness teaches teens to acknowledge and identify their emotions as they come up. If they are practicing meditations, thoughts may come up like “this is boring” or “my back is uncomfortable”, and all those thoughts are acceptable. Mindfulness is not about judging their thoughts or emotions, it is about noticing them and then taking a step back before they respond. 

Teens who practice mindfulness are training their brains to respond instead of reacting in a stressful situation. When they are asked to put away their phone, thoughts may arise like “That’s not fair!” Or “I’m going to be left out!”. But now teens realize that not only are those feelings valid, but they also have the power to choose how they respond to those feelings. By practicing deep breathing, they may take a breath, calm themselves, and then be able to better communicate to you. What started as “I hate you!” can then turn into, “I’m worried I’ll be left out because my friends are making weekend plans right now. Could I have five more minutes to wrap this up?”. They are learning how to acknowledge and communicate their feelings through slowing down and paying attention. 

Solstice East Can Help

At Solstice East, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop her own self-regulation skills. We provide our team with opportunities to implement regulation skills in real-life settings to increase their ability to provide attunement, safety and predictability while in-relationship with your daughter.

We believe that a holistic approach is an effective way to help young women truly heal from trauma.  Instead of focusing on one specific “problem” area or issue, we treat the entire person (mind, body and spirit). It is our belief that cutting-edge and evidence-based therapeutic approaches such as EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and gender-specific addictions treatment are essential to your daughter’s healing process.

The Solstice mission is to support adolescents, and their families, in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journeys. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, trusting relationships with their families, peers, teachers, and staff. For more information please call (855) 672-7058.

what it's like to have high-functioning anxiety

High-Functioning Anxiety in Teens: Warning Signs

High-Functioning Anxiety in Teens: Warning Signs 2560 1700 se_admin

It’s normal for all teens to experience anxiety from time to time when they have substantial events approaching such as a big test, an important soccer game, or a first date. Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to big stressors, but for some teens, anxiety is not just present for big moments, but for all the moments in between as well. For teens who are struggling with high-functioning anxiety, it can negatively impact friendships and family relationships, participation in extracurricular activities, and schoolwork.

Impacts of high-functioning anxiety on teens

Teen anxiety is becoming increasingly common with 25% of 13-18-year-olds experiencing an anxiety disorder.  High functioning anxiety has evolved into a catchall term for people who live with anxiety but are able to function reasonably well in different areas of life. Teens with high functioning anxiety experience a myriad of impacts both mental and physical.

Teens with high-functioning anxiety get really caught up in their own heads and experience excessive fears and worries. Trying to mitigate these worries can lead them to feel restless, hyper-vigilant, and constantly nervous. Teens can also develop a sense of perfectionism to try and keep the anxiety at bay. Socially, anxiety can cause teens to either appear dependent or withdrawn depending on what their fears are.

High-functioning anxiety can also manifest in physical symptoms. Many anxious teens experience muscle tension, stomachaches, headaches, and fatigue. It’s also common for their bodies to flush, blot, sweat, and startle at any anxious trigger.

Warning signs your daughter may be experiencing high-functioning anxiety

With most teens experiencing some form of anxiety occasionally, how can you tell if your daughter is just processing typical teen stress or if they are living with high-functioning anxiety? The following are some warning signs you can look for:

1. Physical changes: Notice if your daughter is complaining of frequent pain that is not normal for her. This could be in the form of headaches, gastrointestinal problems, unexplained aches or pains, or even her saying she doesn’t feel well without any obvious cause.

2. Emotional changes: Be on the lookout for severe emotional alterations such as extreme irritability or unexplained outbursts. Also, notice if she has developed any new or extreme fears that she is constantly worrying about.

3. Social changes: If your daughter used to be a social butterfly, a warning sign of anxiety could be her avoiding social interactions, extracurricular activities, or spending increased time alone.

4. Sleep changes: If your daughter is experiencing significant anxiety, it can change her sleeping patterns, making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. She can also experience an increase in nightmares and feel like she is still tired after a full night’s sleep.

5. Academic changes: Rather than seeing a decline in grades, anxiety can actually cause a significant jump in grades because your daughter is working so hard at being perfect. However, anxiety can also cause feelings of being overwhelmed by school and difficulty concentrating while studying and doing homework.

If working through constant anxiety becomes too much for your daughter and family to handle, programs like Solstice East can help.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that specializes in treating teens with anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and unhealthy behaviors. We support a therapeutic culture where acceptance, change, and growth is recognized and embraced. This approach allows our students to heal and gain the skills and tools necessary to lead a happy, healthy life.

For more information about how Solstice East can help please call 828-484-9946.

Depression Treatment Centers North Carolina

Depression Treatment Centers for Teens in North Carolina

Depression Treatment Centers for Teens in North Carolina 2560 1707 Admin_SE

Are you seeking a depression treatment centers in North Carolina and you have a teen who struggles with sadness, anxiety, or the inability to perform their daily routines? If so, you may want to seek professional assistance and advice. There is an abundance of available resources and trained mental health professionals who can help you understand and equip you to best help your child’s mental health.

How Depression Manifests

Depression is more common than one might think. It affects people of all ages and of all socioeconomic conditions. Depression can manifest in various ways. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America list the following broad presentations of depression:

  • Depression occurs more often in women than in men.
  • Men who feel depressed often show their depression through tiredness, anger, or irritability.
  • Women often show depression through expressions of sadness, guilt, and worthlessness.
  • Teenagers might express depression by acting out at school or by exhibiting eating disorders. They might even get caught up into habits of substance abuse. Teenage depression may also manifest through the more subtle behaviors of irritability and sulking.
  • Young children might show anxiety when separated from parents or refusing to attend school.

The following are specific classifications of depression worth knowing:

  1. Major Depressive Disorder is most common and most often diagnosed. It can last for a short duration or become chronic.
  2. Persistent Depressive Disorder is a milder version of depression that is chronic.
  3. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is described by The Mayo Clinic as intermittent symptoms which usually go away with the start of menstruation. This form of depression can also cause tiredness, modified sleep habits, changes in eating, bloating, and breast tenderness. Note that these symptoms are at a severe level.
  4. Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood typically happens after a major stressful event, but usually resolves in less than six months.
  5. Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs seasonally and resolves with changing seasons.
Depression Treatment Centers NC

Depression Treatment Centers NC

How Anxiety is Different Than Depression

Anxiety can be described as having a heightened nervous reaction to a situation. Teenagers tend to manifest this in different ways. Anxiety can manifest itself in a number of ways. Some such expressions of anxiety include:

  • Nervousness
  • Fear or dread
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shanking
  • Panic Attacks

Choosing a Therapeutic Program for Intervention: Depression Treatment Centers vs. In-Home Care

Mental health professionals can be an invaluable resource. Alongside professional interventions your family might consider the option of involving a treatment center or in-home care. Here are the general differences between the two as well as additional points to consider:

  1. Location
    1. Treatment centers are built with the foundation of healing as their fundamental purpose. Part of the value derived from these purposeful environments is the typical everyday life stressors are removed and the teen is free to heal. Clear focus allows teens space to focus on themselves and recovery.
    2. Homes can provide an element of family support where medical staff visit but this option is not widely available and lacks the useful comradery of peer progress.
  2. Services
    1. Another advantage of using Treatment Centers is that they can have all needed services readily available. This can include certified counselors, staff, therapists, and coaches.
    2. Therapeutic time allocation of home services are limited to the specific meetings when a counselor or mental health professional is specifically scheduled to interact with your teen. All other time at home is divided between parents, siblings, visiting friends, and lifestyle habits your teen has grown accustomed to.
  3. Peer Support
    1. Treatment programs vary depending on the facility, but some can include regular interaction with other similarly challenged teens who can share in each other’s growth journey. Peers who likewise suffer from depression and anxiety and who are handed tools to overcome can prove invaluable to your teens lifelong healing. Most treatment programs have small class sizes which might lend to ideal interactions with educational staff, opportunities for recreational and sports activities on campus, and various therapeutic methods tailored to your individual teenager.
    2. Home services are highly parent coordinated and dependent. As heavily invested as parents are, taking time off of work or juggling the extracurricular programs of siblings in order to immerse your struggling teenager with a therapeutic schedule may not be realistic for many. Additionally, at home teen programs might not have certified therapeutic staff and a consistent outcome track record.

Depression and Anxiety Recovery Takes Time

A recovery of healing takes time. Your teenager can recover with help from qualified professionals. The added benefit of working through dedicated depression treatment facilities is their ability to provide your teen with invaluable skills uniquely derived from a new environment where these skills can be fostered. Ultimately, the choice between obtaining help at home or utilizing a specialized facility is a personal choice dependent on your individual teenager’s needs.

The Right Treatment Center for Teen Girls

If your family decides that a particular depression treatment center is most fitting for facilitating your teenager’s road to healing, then it may not matter as much where that facility is located given your desired outcome and ability to hop on a short plane ride.

In North Carolina, Solstice East is known as the leading treatment center for teenage girls with anxiety and depression. Our serene campus is located near Asheville, NC, where the campus is surrounded by the beauties of nature and the outdoors. Our treatment center provides your daughter the time, program, services, and the mutual support of peer growth to work through this difficult time in life.

Our licensed staff are trained to guide your teen through the difficulties of anxiety or depression. We focus on your teen’s specific needs required to heal and then thrive in life.

There are many ways to help teenagers with mental health challenges. Understanding your options can be empowering.  You might find that a treatment center could benefit your teenager. If so, please know that Solstice East in North Carolina specializes in improving the lives of depressed and anxious teenagers. We are confident in our ability to contribute toward your teenager’s journey toward healing so that they can lead a more happy and healthy life.

Depression Treatment Centers

Depression Treatment Centers

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Understand the Facts: Depression. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression

Summit Medical Group. (n.d.). ADJUSTMENT DISORDER WITH DEPRESSED MOOD. Retrieved from https://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/library/adult_health/bha_adjustment_disorder_with_depressed_mood/

Thielen, J. (2018, November 29). What’s the difference between premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)? How is PMDD treated?. In Premenstral Dysphoric Disorder: Different from PMS?. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/expert-answers/pmdd/faq-20058315?

anxiety and PTSD in teen girls

Anxiety and PTSD in Teen Girls: What Parents Need to Know

Anxiety and PTSD in Teen Girls: What Parents Need to Know 4608 3456 se_admin

Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are two things that can impact everyone. Teen girls may struggle with one or both of these types of disorders. The symptoms they exhibit may vary based off of the individual and the situations surrounding them. Pop singer, Ariana Grande, recently shared an image of her brain scan. Grande suffers from PTSD. Her scan was put next to a brain scan without PTSD to put things into perspective for viewers. Research proves that PTSD can alter the brain. The photos highlight the increased brain activity that occurs in the brain of one who has PTSD.

Identifying Anxiety and PTSD

Anxiety and PTSD in teen girls can have separate and similar effects. As a parent, it is important to recognize when your teen is struggling so that you can get them the help that they need. Common PTSD symptoms in teens include:

  •  Avoiding situations that make them recall the traumatic event
  • Experiencing nightmares or flashbacks about the trauma
  • Playing in a way that repeats or recalls the trauma
  • Acting impulsively or aggressively
  • Feeling nervous or anxious frequently
  • Experiencing emotional numbness
  • Having trouble focusing at school

Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress. However, there is a point where anxiety can translate into a more severe disorder. Anxiety can reveal itself through emotional, social, and physical changes. Here are some indicators to look for in your teen that can be a warning sign:

  • Avoiding social interactions with usual friends
  • Avoiding extracurricular activities
  • Isolating from peer group
  • Spending increased time alone
  • Frequent headaches, including migraines
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Complaints of not feeling well with no obvious medical cause
  • Changes in eating habits.

The Next Steps

After learning what anxiety and PTSD looks like in teen girls, it is important to make accommodations to help your teen address their struggles. Here are some quick tips on ways to get your teen the help they need:

  1. Educate yourself on what PTSD and anxiety looks like in teens.
  2. Look up resources in your area that may be helpful to your teen.
  3. Confront your teen from a nurturing and caring perspective.
  4. Ask them what you can do to support them.
  5. Emphasize that they are not alone and that there are professionals that can help them learn healthy ways to manage their symptoms

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (855) 672-7058.


Are the Teenage Years for Fun or Anxiety? Five Contributing Factors of Anxiety

Are the Teenage Years for Fun or Anxiety? Five Contributing Factors of Anxiety 334 501 se_admin

Anxiety is the top mental health issue among American youths. It is no surprise when considering the societal standards that are pressed upon today’s youth. Teens spend more time one achievement and thinking about adulthood and less time being typical teenagers. Society has set the stage for this issue. What is different about the teenage life now vs. in the past?

Here are five factors that contribute to the increase in anxiety among the modern-day teenager:

  1. Social media influence is higher than ever

Today’s youth seem to be putting their worth in the hands of social media. The number of likes, followers, and comments are used as one determines their value and place in the social sphere. Social media can also be linked to struggles with body image. Teens compare themselves and their bodies to celebrities, models, and even photoshopped images of people.

  1. Pressures to decide careers before one even graduates high school

The pressure for one to know what they want to begins at a young age. They are constantly pushed to decide on a career and job before they even graduate high school. The school system and parents both play a role in this. While the concept of having career tracks in high school seems like a good idea, it also enforces the idea that kids should already know what they want to do with the rest of their lives at a young age. Parents also hold high expectations for their kids. Success seems to sit at the forefront. Parents pushing the highest paying job or the most prestigious college is a common trend in today’s time.

  1. We live in an environment that anticipates catastrophe

Whereas the environment was once confident in itself, it now anticipates the worst. The increase in school shootings, mass shootings, and war over borders can add to anxiety in teens. These types of tragedies can consume one’s thoughts making them always feel on edge, unsafe, or unsure about the hope they have in the world.

  1. Parental pressure to be the best

Competitiveness is a hot commodity. Parents compete with other parents as teens compete with their peers. There is an overwhelming pressure in the air to simply “be the best”. This looks different in each household, but the core is all the same. Artificial praise can also contribute to the problem. Telling your teen, “you’re the fastest runner out there” doesn’t exactly boost their confidence. Instead, it instills a new pressure in teens to uphold this standard.

  1. The focus is more on achievement rather than enjoyment

The pressure to get ahead in life and check an accomplishment off the list is higher than ever. Teens have become more focused on completing tasks and meeting standards rather than enjoying activities and making memories. The voices telling them to “be better”, “try harder”, and “do more” are directly linked to their anxiety.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14-18 who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. This program uses a relationship-based approach that emphasizes high levels of family intervention, emotional safety, and the creation of healthy boundaries. Students learn and develop the skills they need to lead healthy lives. Education, diet, exercise, personal responsibility, and social integration are all elements of the curriculum. Solstice East enforces a positive change in the lives of young women and gives them hope for a brighter and healthier future. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (855) 672-7058

anxiety and PTSD in teen girls

Avoiding Anxiety in Teens

Avoiding Anxiety in Teens 4608 3456 se_admin

With anxiety being one of the most common mental health issues found in the general population, avoiding anxiety in teens can be challenging. While medication, therapy, and the support of loved ones can help, anxiety in teens is often something that will follow them throughout life. As a result, worry and irrational fear are a constant part of their lives. A recent article by Bustle discusses 3 situations that should be avoided when dealing with anxiety in teens.

It’s extremely important that individuals suffering from anxiety in teens not avoid every situation that gives them anxiety—doing so can actually make anxiety in teens worse, and cause them to miss out on important opportunities. However, it’s important that teens not push themselves to a breaking point.

Anxiety in Teens: 3 Situations That Should Be Avoided

  1. Toxic Environments. Teens spend 40 hours a week at school, so it’s incredibly difficult when the environment is toxic. Bullying or social issues among peers can especially cause anxiety in teens. Many teens who suffer from this report having symptoms including sleep problems, trouble concentrating, and anxiety. If teens are experiencing a toxic environment, they should discuss with their teachers or advisors about switching seats in class or avoiding people that are causing them distress.
  2. Triggering Living Situations. When anxiety in teens is present, teens often have to face fears on a daily basis. Triggers like public speaking, driving, or meeting new people are things that individuals with anxiety need to push themselves to do, otherwise they let the disorder win. Living with anxiety in teens is often incredibly exhausting, because normal activities that are east for most teens require significantly more effort from those with anxiety. Ensuring that the home environment is a safe space is essential. Of course, no living situation is perfect, but eliminating potential anxiety triggers in the home can help reduce anxiety on a daily basis.
  3. Spending Too Much Time Alone. While there’s a lot of value in alone time, it’s important to be maintain social relationships. Anxiety in teens can cause individuals to feel the need to hide from the world. This is often due to an excess in negative thoughts. When people with anxiety are left alone with these negative thoughts, it ca be harder for them to control them and maintain a healthy life. When symptoms of anxiety are high, teens should consider spending more time with loved ones or peers, instead of hiding out.

If your teen is struggling with anxiety, there are programs that can help.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East handles social media addiction, please call 828-484-9946!

Managing PTSD with Solstice East

Help for Anxiety: What to Do When It’s More Than Regular Stress

Help for Anxiety: What to Do When It’s More Than Regular Stress 2560 1700 se_admin

Seeing that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the US, you probably know someone that is or could be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, whether you know it or not. A lot of people never seek out help for anxiety because they aren’t sure how to or if they even should.

Research has shown that greater than 1 in 4 teens will deal with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Despite this, many teens fly under the radar, never getting treated for their disorder.

Studies show that around 80 percent of children with a diagnosable anxiety disorder will never receive treatment–that’s an insanely high amount. As parents, it’s our job to know how to deal with challenges that arise for our children.

How to support your child with anxiety

If your daughter has recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, this is probably a confusing and difficult time for your family. As an adult, you’re familiar with controlling and dealing with regular stress, but anxiety is much different.

Even if your daughter is in therapy, there’s still much you can do as a parent to provide help for anxiety.

Withhold Judgement.

Anxiety often causes an individual to self-criticize to a destructive amount–you don’t need to add to that destruction. Instead, try to combat it with support and love. For example, let’s say your daughter has a very difficult time talking on the phone.

While that may seem like something trivial to you, to her it’s a big deal. Instead of making a comment about how easy phone calls are, instead recognize her fear. Make sure she knows that you understand that she’s afraid and be sure to praise her for what she is good at.

Encourage Journaling.

If she has a therapist, this may already be a reality, but if it’s not you should suggest it. Writing down our thoughts and feelings helps us work through them. Acknowledging thoughts or situations that make her anxious helps her get to the root of why that is and how to deal with it productively.

It’s good to remember that journaling isn’t the right fit for everyone, though, so if it seems to not being doing anything, it’s important not to force it.

Make Your Support Known.

You may think this is obvious and doesn’t need to be said, but you’d be surprised by the amount of teens that are afraid to speak to their parents about their struggles. Make sure she knows that you’re always there to talk if she needs help.

Just by letting her know this, you’re not only opening up a dialogue, but you’re confirming a pillar of support for her.

If you truly believe your daughter is struggling with a mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional. There is help for anxiety disorders available, you just have to seek it out.

Solstice East offers help for anxiety in teen girls

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. We offer our students help for anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about help for anxiety in teen girls at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

creating a schedule for kids

Understanding Back to School Anxiety & Helping Your Daughter Manage It

Understanding Back to School Anxiety & Helping Your Daughter Manage It 2560 1709 se_admin

Every teenager knows that going back to school after summer is inevitable–but that doesn’t make it any easier or less stressful. For some students, back to school anxiety is a serious issue.

Maybe it’s because they’re going to a new school, maybe they’re afraid they won’t be placed in classes with people they know, maybe they’re scared to look for someone to sit with at lunch–whatever the reason, back to school anxiety is real and it can cause genuine transition problems.

Why teens get back to school anxiety

For most students, going back to school isn’t desirable, but it’s certainly not something that creates serious anxiety–for others, the thought of summer ending brings on constant worries of whether their teachers will be good, if they’ll be able to make good grades, or if they’ll make friends.

This is more than a little stress, this is serious anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in adolescents–around 1 in 4 teens will struggle with an anxiety disorder at some point in their adolescence.

While 25 percent of teens certainly aren’t plagued specifically by back to school anxiety, school plays a huge role in teens’ lives, making it more common than one would think. For many, incidents that happen at school or related to school form underlying mental health struggles. It’s a place where adolescents grow emotionally, intellectually, and socially.

This back to school anxiety can even progress into anxiety-based school refusal. School is a place of learning and education–but it’s also a place that harbors a large amount of responsibility. And the education system isn’t always the best at identifying when a student is struggling mentally.

Helping your daughter transition from summer

First off, getting enough sleep and the right nutrients is essential for mental health in general, but especially for those struggling with mental health issues because a lack of either can agitate those problems.

Most importantly, parents need to be supportive and nonjudgmental about these fears. Saying things like, “Why are you worrying so much? It’s just school,” doesn’t help your daughter calm down. If anything, it makes her feel as if her worries are unjustified and crazy, that what she’s feeling is wrong.

You need to make sure that your daughter knows that you’re available if she’s struggling or needs to talk. If it becomes clear that your daughter may be battling an anxiety disorder, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.  

Solstice East is here to help your daughter

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, back to school anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about how we can help with back to school anxiety at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

trauma in teens

Symptoms of Stress in Teens Can Worsen PTSD and Trauma

Symptoms of Stress in Teens Can Worsen PTSD and Trauma 2560 1707 se_admin

Identifying danger is a critical component of our minds. It helps us recognize threats, assess dangerous situations, and essentially stay alive–but it can turn on you. It’s becoming clear that symptoms of stress in teens can agitate traumatic memories, making an individual evaluate a harmless situation as a harmful one.

This is called fear generalization and it’s a central part of anxiety disorders and PTSD. A new study shed more light on how this phenomenon comes about and how we can better treat it.

When past experiences taint current reality

This study brings us one step closer to understanding issues related to trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, researchers discovered that stress levels and the length of time since the incident can bolster the tendency towards fear generalization.

Further understanding how our minds have the ability to identify and respond to harmless stimuli as harmful stimuli is critical to understanding how disorders like PTSD function. It allows us to develop better therapies and treatment plans for those struggling with these types of mental illnesses and disorders.

In the study, the researchers delved into why PTSD seems to worsen when stress levels rise. It seems that in moments of heightened cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”), participants’ ability to tell between harmful and harmless stimuli was blurred.

There were two groups in the study. Each were played two tones; on one of the tones, they would get shocked. One of the two groups had heightened cortisol levels, the other did not. When played a range of tones immediately after the shock, both groups were able to discern between the harmful tone and the harmless tone.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

About a day later, they did the same test–playing a range of tones for the two groups. The group that had their cortisol levels raised had many more issues discerning between the harmful and harmless tones than the group that hadn’t.

This sheds some light on why symptoms of stress in teens have the ability to disturb their PTSD or traumatic memories. There’s still much more we don’t understand about the link between stress and memory, but this study has brought us one step closer to providing better treatments.    

Solstice East treats symptoms of stress in teens

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about how we treat symptoms of stress in teens at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

eating disorders in teen girls

Treatment for Anxiety: 4 Tips for Curbing Anxiety and Stress

Treatment for Anxiety: 4 Tips for Curbing Anxiety and Stress 2560 1707 se_admin

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Research shows that over 25 percent of teens, ages 13 to 18, will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Despite this incredibly high chance of dealing with anxiety, very few actually end up receiving treatment for anxiety.

Studies have actually confirmed that up to 80 percent of children with diagnosable anxiety disorders never get treated for it. That’s an appalling number and it should scare parents to their very core. Dealing with anxiety is a normal part of life, but an anxiety disorder can cause an adolescent to experience high amounts of nervousness, fear, and even begin to avoid certain place and activities.

Ways to help combat anxiety and stress

When anxiety is ignored and no treatment is sought out, it has the capacity to disrupt daily life at school, at home, at work–nowhere is untouchable. It’s important to teach our children ways to cope with and manage anxiety when it becomes too much to handle.


  1. In moments of stress, breathe deeply. Those who suffer from anxiety often struggle to keep calm during stressful situations. Hands get clammy, knees get weak, and it’s suddenly hard to breathe. When you feel yourself starting to panic, it’s important to breathe deeply. Inhale through your nose while holding one nostril, keep that breath in for around 8 seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat for about a minute.
  2. Remember to be in the moment. Mindfulness practice has become increasingly popular, but it’s more than just a trend. Research has shown that mindfulness has the ability to decrease anxiety and depression, making it a powerful tool in treatment for anxiety in daily life.
  3. Don’t isolate, reach out to others. This can seem extremely hard for many, especially with the infamous stigma attached to mental health issues–but it’s critical to handling stress. Without the support of others in these times of struggle, it’s difficult to move forward or find any sense of resolution. While curving in on yourself may seem like an easy way to deal, bottling up these issues will just cause them to grow.
  4. Spend some time in nature. I’m not saying go on a 3-week hike through the Appalachian mountains (unless you’re into that)–studies show that spending around 10-minutes a day around nature (hiking, taking a stroll through a park, etc.) can lower anxiety and depression a significant amount.

Anxiety is a serious issue that requires serious help. If you believe your daughter may need treatment for anxiety or other mental health issues, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.

Solstice East offers treatment for anxiety in teen girls

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. We understand the specific needs of girls, which is why our program is centered solely on them. Our students often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

We have a strong emphasis on family therapy, nutrition, physical fitness. We also offer a supportive staff, cutting-edge academics, addiction therapy, equine therapy, and psychiatric services. At Solstice, we help set the stage for the infusion of light into the previously darkened lives of the families we serve.

For more information about treatment for anxiety at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.