Has your 14 to 18-year-old teen daughter experienced changes in appetite, stress level, sleep, overall mood, level of energy or academic performance? Does she seem more withdrawn and worried than normal, or to have lost interest in things and activities she once enjoyed? If so, your daughter might be experiencing depression and anxiety. It’s time to learn more.
Depression and anxiety 101
Depression is a common mood disorder characterized by consistent ongoing feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Often when an individual struggles with depression they also experience anxiety. Anxiety disorder is a nervous system disorder that causes extreme feelings of worry and nervousness to the point of affecting daily function.
The cause, the cure
Though the causes of depression and anxiety are unknown, factors such as trauma or family history can contribute to their development. There are many ways to treat these conditions such as: medication, therapy (clinical, outdoor adventure, equine, etc.), lifestyle changes and more. Among lifestyle changes is physical activity, one of the most effective, helpful and cheapest ways to boost mood.
Let’s get physical: exercise benefits body and mind
Though moving around might be that last thing a person with anxiety and depression wants to do, physical activity has been scientifically proven to relieve symptoms, boost mood, relieve stress and prevent relapse. When you exercise, your body releases “feel-good” chemicals, known as endorphins, that trigger a positive feeling in your body and increase ability to sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity also reduces immune system chemicals that worsen depression. Exercise improves all systems of the body and overall health, and feeling good physically alone can positively benefit mood.
Steps to take (literally!)
30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 times a week can significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. This doesn’t mean you have to go buy a gym membership! You can increase your physical activity up to 30 minutes in simple ways, such as walking your dog, parking further away, taking the stairs, doing jumping jacks during commercial breaks or doing lunges while talking on the phone.
The Solstice Difference
At Solstice East, physical activity is integrated into our unique residential treatment setting. Girls, ages 14 to 18, struggling with depression and anxiety receive treatment, as well as access to multiple types of therapy in an environment conducive for healing.