• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

Trauma

Residential School for Teen Girls: Common Myths About Trauma & PTSD

Residential School for Teen Girls: Common Myths About Trauma & PTSD 150 150 se_admin

In our residential school for teen girls, we often help girls work through traumatic experiences and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). We’re also very familiar with the stigma and misunderstandings attached to issues like PTSD. Unless you’ve hidden from the news lately, you’ve probably heard something about Lady Gaga admitting to the world that she struggles with PTSD. This was a huge moment for mental health awareness, but as one reads articles about it, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the comments claiming there’s no way someone like Lady Gaga could have PTSD–which is very, very wrong.

We’d like to clear up some common myths associated with trauma and PTSD in the hopes of spreading awareness about mental health issues and how they work.

Busting myths about trauma & PTSD

 

  • Only Soldiers Can Have PTSD. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about PTSD. Yes, soldiers are often the ones that suffer from PTSD, but many, many other people struggle with it that have never set foot in a warzone. In Lady Gaga’s case, she experienced a very traumatic event when she was a teenager and it’s haunted her ever since through PTSD. With the right care–such as from a residential school for teen girls–individuals can move forward with their PTSD.
  • Flashbacks Are Like They Are in Movies. In movies, flashbacks are usually depicted as these dramatic, intense, crazy experiences–but they aren’t always that way. A flashback doesn’t always make someone feel as if they’re back in that moment, it can be as if they’ve just drifted or separated from the current moment–it can cause a person to have a physical response, such as sweating or an increased heart rate, though.
  • Trauma Is Just the Fear After an Event. This is also a common myth. Many think that being in shock after a traumatic event is “trauma” or “PTSD” but it’s not even close. PTSD is categorized into 4 categories: avoidance behavior, mood change, hyperarousal, and intrusive memories or thoughts. These behaviors have to last a month or more to be considered PTSD–which is significantly different than the aftershock of an event.
  • Trauma Will Disappear with Time. This is probably the most dangerous misconception around. As a residential school for teen girls, we are very familiar with this thought process. Many people believe that if they just wait long enough, things will fix themselves–but that doesn’t always happen and it can lead to even worse issues down the line if you’re not treated properly.

Solstice East is a residential school for teen girls

Solstice East is a residential school for teen girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, PTSD, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. In our residential school for teen girls, we strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.

For more information about how residential school for teen girls at Solstice East can help your daughter, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

 

Overwhelming Bad News: The Effect of Social Media on Youth

Overwhelming Bad News: The Effect of Social Media on Youth 150 150 se_admin

We’re being bombarded by disturbing news: the attacks in France, Orlando, San Bernardino, Brussels, and so many more. If you think you–the parent–are the only one reading about these events, you’re probably wrong. If your teen has any form of social media, they’ve probably heard about these awful events, too. CNN recently published an article discussing the harmful effect of social media on youth because of the relentless circulation of negative news.

The effect of social media on youth due to negative news

It’s difficult to avoid the effect of social media on youth nowadays. Basically every child over the age of 14 has access to some type of social media, whether it’s through a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other technology. Now, with this flow of bad news on all social media, vicarious trauma is becoming a very possible effect of social media on youth. Experts disagree on the levels of severity caused by violent news, but it’s still possible and dangerous.

Vicarious trauma a real possibility

CNN interviewed Dr. Pam Ramsden, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bradford in the UK, who has had immense experience with the effects of negative news. She says, though not a specific diagnosis, vicarious trauma can escalate to issues like post-traumatic stress. It may sound ridiculous at first, but you can probably bring to mind a piece of footage or a picture from the media that’s stuck in your head. It’s just that amplified.

The individuals that really struggle with this often engage in obsessive consumption, like re-watching a traumatic piece of video. This may cause extreme fear, making an individual act much differently. So how do you combat this type of trauma and anxiety as an effect of social media on youth? You limit it.

One of the only ways to help quell this anxiety and trauma surrounding bad news through social media is to limit yourself. I know, you’re thinking, “How do I get my teen to limit themselves?” Well, first sit them down and explain it to them, especially if they have been vocally expressing their fears due to recent negative events on the news. Next, there are ways you can shut off your teen’s phone after a certain time. Maybe no screens after 8PM would be a good rule. The important thing to do is to communicate with your teen and figure out the best schedule for the whole family.

Solstice East can help

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

For more information about how Solstice East handles issues related to the effect of social media on youth, please call 828-484-9946.

Residential Treatment for Trauma: Dreams Connected to Trauma

Residential Treatment for Trauma: Dreams Connected to Trauma 150 150 se_admin

In residential treatment for trauma, the girls that come through our doors have different stories, backgrounds, and experiences. No individual is the same. For many, they’ve been struggling with their trauma for quite some time now because their parents either didn’t notice the signs right off the bat or hoped it was just a phase. One indicator of possible trauma that often gets overlooked is frequent night terrors or nightmares. Night terrors and nightmares usually get written off as normal–because they’re usually are just that: normal. But sometimes they’re a sign of a much deeper issue.

What are night terrors vs nightmares?

“Oh, she must have watched a scary movie.”

“They’re just dreams, they don’t mean anything.”

“She’ll grow out of it.”

While the above statements can all be true when referring to bad dreams, they can also be incredibly wrong when dealing with night terrors and nightmares. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the difference between nightmares and night terrors?”

Nightmares aren’t rare for youth and it’s not usually a sign of anything being wrong. They happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and children usually remember at least part of the scary dream they experienced. To help with nightmares, doctors suggest just being there for comfort when your child wakes. Night terrors are slightly different.

Night terrors don’t happen during REM sleep, which means individuals usually don’t remember the dream. They usually begin a couple of hours into sleep and only last up to 15 minutes–during which a child may seem extremely panicked, wide awake, or even do things like scream, thrash, or sleep walk. After they come down from the episode, most return to normal sleep.

Most of the time, children who experience nightmares and night terrors don’t have serious mental health issues lying beneath the surface–but sometimes they do. When the dreams persist and get to the point of disrupting waking life, that’s when it’s time to consider something may be wrong.

What nightmares or night terrors can mean

In residential treatment for trauma, we sometimes see that trauma manifests itself through dreams–nightmares or night terrors. Being woken by bad dreams multiple times a night or even a week can disrupt a student’s life during the day, making it difficult to focus or stay awake.

Though nightmares and night terrors can be a symptom of trauma, it probably won’t be the only symptom of trauma. Bad dreams can arise when a student is extremely stressed out or even dealing with an anxiety disorder. Other symptoms that may indicate that your child may need residential treatment for trauma include:

  • Intense emotions like anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt
  • Extreme reactions to minor issues
  • Replaying or repetitively thinking about the trauma
  • Sleeping patterns disturbed
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Spending large amounts of time alone
  • Increased need for independence
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, friends, school, etc.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or depression
  • Issues with focusing, problem-solving, and short-term memory

If you believe your child may be struggling with trauma or other mental health issues, it’s critical to seek out a professional as soon as possible.

Our residential treatment for trauma can help your daughter

Solstice East offers residential treatment for trauma and other issues–specifically for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls are often grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. In our residential treatment for trauma, we strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.

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

Deep Wounds: The Long Lasting Effects of Childhood Bullying

Deep Wounds: The Long Lasting Effects of Childhood Bullying 150 150 se_admin

Most of us have been bullied once or twice in our lives. Maybe for some, they were the ones doing the bullying. As a child it may have seemed like harmless fun, but according to a recent article by Science Daily, new research has found that the effects of childhood bullying have the equivalent negative psychological effects on girls as severe physical or sexual abuse.

The Research

A study which involved 480 college freshman through seniors, indicated that the detrimental effects of childhood bullying may linger for years. Due to this it can cause negative affect’s on youth’s mental health will into early adulthood.

Participants in the study were surveyed about their exposure to a variety of traumatic experiences—including childhood bullying, cyberbullying and crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and domestic and community violence—from birth through age 17. Students also reported on their psychological functioning and symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The students who experienced childhood bullying reported higher levels of mental health problems than their peers.

The Results

Females in particular struggles with the effects of childhood bullying, and reported significantly greater levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD than their male peers. Dorthy Espelage, an Educational psychologist and conductor of the study states:

“The prevalence of psychological distress in children who have been bullied is well-documented, and this research suggests that college students’ psychological distress ay be connected in part to their perceptions of past childhood bullying victimization experiences.”

Practitioners, in collaboration with school officials, need to make more of an effort to develop and put in place programs that decrease the negative effects of childhood bullying. Creating clubs or programs that could teach children suffering from trauma how to feel confident, safe, and empowered could help eliminate later mental health issues from the effects of childhood bullying.

If your child is experiencing negative effects of childhood bullying, there are programs available 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 can help, please call 828-484-9946!

Children and Trauma: The Importance of Feelings

Children and Trauma: The Importance of Feelings 150 150 se_admin

Children and trauma can be a difficult mix to deal with in a family. Traumatic experiences affect every child differently, making it hard to have a “handbook” or set of “tips” to help with such a complicated thing. In a recent PsychCentral article, the importance of validating feelings for children who have experienced trauma is highlighted.

Children and trauma

Children and trauma is a unique issue. Adolescents are still learning what is “normal” and what is not. Oftentimes, adolescents aren’t sure if the abuse or trauma they’re experiencing is “normal” or not. They’re not sure if other kids are experiencing the same thing. Trauma is complicated. It’s not simple like the other aspects of a child or teen’s life–homework, school drama, and all that good stuff that comes with adolescence.

At this age, youths haven’t experienced enough to understand their situations fully. Children and trauma are complicated. It’s not uncommon for someone experiencing trauma to try and “act normal.” So how do you help a child that’s experienced trauma? You validate their feelings. If it made them feel bad, it was most likely bad. If they felt humiliated or violated, they were probably right to feel those feelings. 

It can be hard for an adolescent to trust their instinctive feelings when those feelings are looked down upon by society. The stigma against seeking help for mental struggles–like trauma–keeps those experiencing these struggles from reaching out. It leads to many of them ignoring the feelings, which makes it even worse.

Dr. Karyn Hall, Ph.D. says, “Validating yourself is like glue for fragmented parts of your identity. Validating yourself will help you accept and better understand yourself, which leads to a stronger identity and better skills at managing intense emotions.”

As parents, we can help these children. And trauma doesn’t have to rule their lives. Make sure that your child knows they can come to you to talk without judgement. Make sure they know they can turn to you with any feelings they find confusing or conflicting.

If you believe your daughter is struggling with trauma or other mental health issues, it’s imperative to seek out guidance from a professional.

We can help your daughter

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems. In our residential treatment for teens, we strive to help our girls develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness. We understand children and trauma, we can help.

For more information about how Solstice East helps teens struggling with trauma, please contact us at  828-484-9946.

From Generation to Generation: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Teenagers

From Generation to Generation: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Teenagers 150 150 se_admin

According to a recent article by Psych Central, a recent study has found that post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers may be transmitted to children of holocaust survivors. New research has found that both Holocaust survivors and their offspring show similar genetic changes at the same site, a stress-related gene that has been linked to post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers.

It has not been unknown that the children of traumatized people are at increased risk for post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers, as well as mood and anxiety disorders. This new research suggests that paternal trauma is a relevant contributor to offspring biology.

The Research

One of the most intensively studied groups to be studied in regards to post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers caused by parent trauma, is the group of children of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. From this work, researchers have been growing evidence and their data by evaluating other studies that have been done.

The researchers examined blood samples of 32 Holocaust survivors and 22 of their adult children for methylation of intron 7, a specific region within the FKBP5 gene. The researchers also studied Jewish parent-offspring pairs as a control group.

The analysis revealed that both Holocaust survivors and their offspring show genetic changes at the same site of FKBP5 intron 7, but in the opposite direction: Holocaust survivors had 10 percent higher methylation than the control parents, while the Holocaust offspring had 7.7 percent lower methylation than the control offspring.

The Meaning of this Research

Researchers state:

“The observation that the changes in parent and child are in opposing directions suggests that children of traumatized parents are not simply born with a PTSD-like biology [post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers]. They may inherit traits that promote resilience as well as vulnerability.”

This research highlights the need for parents to be more aware of their children’s mental health if they, as parents, have suffered a traumatic experience in their lifetime. If you or your child are dealing with post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teenagers, there are programs available 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 can help your teen, please call 828-484-9946.

Prince Harry’s Teen Struggles: Not Opening Up About Mother’s Death

Prince Harry’s Teen Struggles: Not Opening Up About Mother’s Death 150 150 se_admin

We’ve all gone through teen struggles. Teens are infamous for keeping their feelings bottled up, letting them build up and build up until–much like a volcano–they come bursting out. In a recent article by The Guardian, Prince Harry spoke about his regrets surrounding not opening up about his mother’s–Princess Diana–death earlier. She died in a car crash when he was 12 years old, but only 3 years ago did he actually begin to speak about it.

Any of us can have mental health issues

“The key message here today is that everyone can suffer from mental health. Whether you are a member of the royal family, whether you are a soldier, whether you are a sports star, whether you are a team sport, individual sport, whether you are a white van driver, whether you’re a mother, father, a child, it doesn’t really matter.” –Prince Harry

After leaving the army, Prince Harry decided to take on the stigma of mental health issues and shatter it. He founded the Invictus Games, which is for men and women injured in service. His thoughts were that these men and women are often ignored, not just their physical struggles, but their mental struggles as well. By creating the Invictus Games, it gave those wounded a chance to be celebrated by society and put out in the open for all to see.

Prince Harry’s new campaign for mental health awareness is Heads Together–which he, Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge run together. The point of Heads Together is not only to create a greater awareness among the public, but also to inspire those with adult and teen struggles in mental health to come forward for treatment. Without mental health, there is no physical health, and the Royal Family is trying to educate everyone about that simple fact.

Finding treatment for teen struggles

You’re not alone in this. It may feel like the world is against you and your child’s mental health issues, but there are options for your family. If you truly believe your teen struggles with mental health issues, it’s extremely important to seek out a professional for guidance on what steps to take next.

Solstice East can help

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

For more information about how Solstice East treats teen struggles, please call 828-484-9946.

Violent Newstream Could Cause Symptoms of PTSD in Teens

Violent Newstream Could Cause Symptoms of PTSD in Teens 150 150 se_admin

For many of us–parents and teens–when we log onto Facebook, Twitter, or even check the news, it seems like it’s on a constant cycle of negativity. Parents may think it’s only their newsfeeds that look like this, but it’s everyone’s. Another mass shooting, another bombing in Europe, another terrorist plot foiled–what is this constant stream of violence doing to us? The New York Times recently published an article discussing this issue and how it may be manifesting as symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults.

Violent news could lead to symptoms of PTSD in teens

According to the article, the amount of violence and the immediacy of it can lead to symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults. Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychologist, says, “With the frequency of shooting and terror attacks there is a sense of anxiety that’s building in people, a sense of vulnerability and powerlessness.” Even if the facts are that you’re not really in any danger, the frequency and the amount of violence we see on social media and on the news increases anxiety and fear.

Tips for fighting the effects of violent news

It’s normal–especially for an adult–to want to be tuned into what’s happening in the world. According to studies and professionals, though, issues (symptoms of PTSD in teens, for example) can arise with too much exposure too often. The article provided some advice for controlling and managing the fear and anxiety that comes with a constant stream of violence.

Limit your exposure time.

You don’t need to be plugged into the outside world at all times. We know bad things happen everyday, but if you’re exposed to them constantly, it can be a damper on your attitude and even lead to issues like symptoms of PTSD in teens and adults (anxiety, paranoia, etc.). Decide on a time to check in with the world, whether that’s during your lunch or before bed–just limit the time.

Think of facts over fear.

This can be very difficult, especially for a parent. Thinking about all the school shootings while putting your child on the bus to school, for example, can create a large amount of fear. In these moments, try to consider the actual statistics. A plane or a school or a train all have very high chances of being completely safe. Thinking about this can help you destress.

Check in with your kids.

If something negative is happening all over the news–the Paris Attack, for example–your child can be affected by it, too, especially if you’re discussing it frequently around them. Ask them what they think about the recent events and if they’re feeling okay about it. Symptoms of PTSD in teens can pop up when they’re being exposed to this violence so often.

Go through life normally.

The goal of these domestic and international terrorist attacks is to put fear into the daily lives of citizens. But going out of your way to avoid fun or common places, like church or mass transit, just freaks your children out and creates unnecessary anxiety.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD in teens, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls develop healthy habits for teens and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.

For more information about how Solstice East treats PTSD in teens, please call 828-484-9946.

Coping with Grief: Understanding Grieving Styles 

Coping with Grief: Understanding Grieving Styles  150 150 se_admin

Coping with grief  is a difficult task. Many of us have different methods for coping with grief. A recent article by Psychology Today discussed how boys and girls handle grief differently. In the book Grief Beyond Gender: Understandings the Ways Men and Women Mourn, Dr. Terry Martin discusses the two patterns of grieving.

Styles of Grief

The first style of coping with grief is an intuitive pattern where individuals experience and express grief in an effective way. In this pattern, grieving individuals find strategies that are focused toward the expression of affect. The second pattern of coping with grief, is one that is labeled instrumental. Here, grief is experienced physically, such as in a restlessness or thought. Here the strategies individuals use tend to be, cognitive and active as well.

Some individuals may show a mix of patterns that draw from both intuitive and instrumental reactions and responses in the ways that individuals experience, express, and adapt to coping with grief. Other individuals may show inconsistencies between the ways that grief is experienced and expressed. These inconsistent patterns are labeled as dissonant.

As society we believe that there is a clear relation between gender and coping with grief, but this has been shown to not necessarily be true. The instrumental pattern of dissonant, is typical in the way many men grieve, due to contemporary patterns of male socialization. Women also may exhibit an instrumental style. And many women and men represent grievers who demonstrate more intuitive patterns. Clearly, patterns are influenced by gender but not determined by it.

Tips on Coping with Grief

If you find yourself have difficulty coping with grief, here are some tips on how to deal with grief in a healthy and productive way.

  • Listen. Don’t ignore your emotions–if you need to cry, that’s fine; if you need to sob, that’s fine; if you need to talk to someone, that’s fine. The important thing is to listen to what your body and feelings are trying to tell you.
  • Breathe. Deep breaths help trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you calm yourself down when things get tough.
  • Be Aware. When dealing with teen grief, don’t just float through the days; take a moment to be mindful of what’s happening currently to you and others around you.
  • Cry. There’s a huge stigma against crying, but it’s your body’s way of coping and instead of avoiding it when you feel it coming, let it out.
  • Enjoy. Try to notice the small things that improve your day, like the taste of coffee or hitting 3 green lights in a row.
  • Don’t Be Hard on Yourself. Don’t think about other’s expectations of you, just your own. Be realistic and stop thinking about what you should do for other people–focus on you.

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!

Passed Through Generations: Recent Research On Inherited Family Trauma

Passed Through Generations: Recent Research On Inherited Family Trauma 150 150 se_admin

The saying goes – time heals all wounds. However, when it comes to trauma within the family, this may not be true. More and more research is coming out which shows that inherited family trauma can be extremely emotionally damaging to family members long after the emotional trauma has occurred.

Children and grandchildren can experience the effects of trauma experienced by their mothers and grandmothers. These effects can come in the form of depression, self harming behaviors, and other mental health struggles. 

How do people inherit family trauma?

A 2014 study which explored why people can feel the effects of past family trauma uncovered a piece of the puzzle about the physiological processes which underlie inherited family trauma.

Researchers in this study identified a key component surrounding inherited family trauma – short RNA molecules. Our DNA contains a large number of short RNA molecules which are known as microRNAs. They help regulate how many copies of specific proteins are made within DNA.

Short RNA molecules affected by family trauma

In the 2014 study, researchers studied mice who experienced some sort of trauma earlier in their lives. They then compared these mice to other mice who had never experienced traumatic conditions.

The mice who had experienced traumatic conditions prior to the experiment started behaving strangely. Many of the mice began losing their natural aversion to bright lights and open spaces. Others began behaving in a depressive way. These behaviors were transferred from generation to generation through sperm, even though the offspring had never experienced the traumatic event themselves.

Through their observations, they found that stress related to traumatic events changed the amount of microRNA found in the sperm, brain, and blood of the mice.  They found larger amounts of certain microRNA in the traumatized mice and a lower amount in the corresponding tissues of the control mice.

Within the offspring of the mice who had experienced trauma, insulin and blood sugar levels were much lower than the offspring of the control mice. This finding was very important to the researchers because it showed that traumatic experiences can affect metabolism and behaviors in the long term. Those changes were also shown to be hereditary. Researchers found that these physiological changes could also be found  in the third generation of mice, at times.

So what does this mean for inherited family trauma in humans?

Researchers are currently studying what the effects of short RNAs in inherited family trauma within humans. Because of their findings within mice, they are hoping that this knowledge can be used to eventually develop a blood test for humans in order to prevent future mental health struggles.

Is your daughter struggling with trauma?

Solstice East, a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-17, can help your daughter struggling with trauma get the help she needs.

For more information about Solstice East, please call (855) 672-7058 today!