• Residential Treatment Center for Young Women 14-17

anxiety and depression

Therapy for Trauma in Teens: Sleep Is Critical for Processing

Therapy for Trauma in Teens: Sleep Is Critical for Processing 150 150 se_admin

Sleep—it’s the fuel for our brains. In our society, many people view sleep as a waste of time or something that’s a tedious task, but that’s incredibly incorrect. During sleep, we’re able to process intense emotions, figure out issues, review new information, and give our brains time to reboot. Recently, a study highlighted the possible importance of sleep for working through traumatic experiences. As a program that offers therapy for trauma in teens, we understand the critical role sleep plays in helping a teen work through challenges.

Teens and Trauma

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: two-thirds of children have reported experiencing a traumatic event before the age of sixteen. This could include: psychological or physical abuse, community or school violence, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, natural disasters, a sudden loss of a loved one, military family-related stressors such as deployment or injury, neglect, and serious accidents or life-threatening illnesses. Traumatic stress may present differently in children than adults, and can even vary from young children to older children. Middle and high school students experiencing traumatic stress may exhibit signs such as: 

  • Feel depressed or alone
  • Develop eating disorders or self-harming behaviors
  • Begin abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Become involved in risky sexual behavior

Teens who are experiencing symptoms from traumatic stress may also face additional challenges because they are in a unique stage of development. As their brains continue to grow and their prefrontal cortex develops, they may not yet have the ability to process their trauma in a healthy way. This is why creating healthy habits around things like eating, exercise, and sleep are an important part of helping their brain continue to develop during the teen years. 

The Power of Sleep

Research has shown that, in general, sleep helps us make sense of emotions. Sleep plays a key role in encoding information based on experiences from the day, making sleep critical for preserving memories. And emotional memories are unique because of the way they activate the amygdala, the brain’s emotional core. We already know that with a lack of sleep, humans tend to struggle to do the simplest of tasks and can even become a risk to ourselves. Those hours spent with our eyes closed aren’t just used for rest, they’re used to refresh our entire bodies–and they could actually be essential for processing trauma as well.

In a new study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich and the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, researchers looked into whether catching some shuteye within the first 24 hours after a traumatic experience helped or not. To do this, they showed individuals a very traumatic video and sought to see whether sleep impacted the influence of the video or not. The first author of the study, Birgit Kleim, explained their results:

“Our results reveal that people who slept after the film had fewer and less distressing recurring emotional memories than those who were awake. This supports the assumption that sleep may have a protective effect in the aftermath of traumatic experiences.”

The researchers believe this is because sleep can help separate the fear associated with the experience from the memory, making it easier to process. They also think sleep provides context and understanding on a level we don’t fully understand yet. Now, one night of rest after a traumatic experience isn’t going to make it go away, but it seems like it’s definitely an early prevention technique that needs to be looked into.

A 2018 study with children 8-11 found that children who slept after being shown negative pictures showed a smaller emotional response in late positive potential (LPP). LPP fires up when the brain is processing emotion, and often large spikes occur when those emotions are negative. This research suggests that sleep helps with both crystallizing emotional information – and with controlling how it makes us feel. And this effect works quickly.

Nap or a Full Night’s Sleep?

Rapid eye movement is usually the sleep we fall into during a full night’s rest sleep. REM is associated with emotional memories, and more REM sleep makes people better at assessing others’ emotional intentions and recalling emotional stories. One theory relates to the absence of the stress hormone noradrenaline during REM sleep. Temporarily relieved of this hormone, the brain may use the time to process memories without the stress. 

Slow-wave sleep (SWS) is the first phase of sleep that consolidates memories and is especially good for processing neutral memories. Naps mostly consist of non-REM sleep. A 2018 paper appears to be the first to show that naps, and not just overnight sleep, contribute to emotional memory processing in children. Without a nap, children showed a bias toward emotional faces. With a nap, they responded similarly to neutral stimuli as they did to emotional stimuli. While older adults will benefit more from REM sleep, younger adults and children may benefit from both REM and SWS. 

Residential Treatment for Trauma

Dealing with trauma can be challenging and even isolating for teens. They may feel that their parents do not understand their struggles and that their friends could never relate or will think they’re “weird” or “damaged” if they talk to them about the trauma symptoms they’re experiencing. Because of this, many teens with trauma find themselves withdrawing from support systems instead of reaching out for help. This is where a residential treatment center that specializes in trauma can be incredibly beneficial for teens. As a program that offers therapy for trauma in teens, we strive to promote healthy living in our students. This includes a good 8 hours of sleep a night because we understand the importance of rest for the brain and the therapeutic process.

At Solstice East, the term “trauma” is frequently used to describe a broad spectrum of personal challenges. As one of the top trauma treatment centers, cutting-edge neurological research has helped us to better understand the impact of trauma on a developing brain and has driven a greater understanding of the most effective methods that can be implemented in its treatment. 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.

Cutting-edge neuroscientific research has identified regulation as the key element found in healthy, healing relationships. When regulated, our neurological functions can be centralized in the pre-frontal cortex– the part of the brain involved in rational decision-making.  When dysregulated, our neurological functions are more likely found in the limbic system, the midbrain, or even all the way back in the brain stem.

When stuck in these less rational parts of the brain we tend to display poor emotional boundaries, higher levels of emotional reactivity, and are unable to attune to our own needs—let alone the needs of others. Moments of relational interaction that lack attunement are much more likely to cause damage in a relationship. We work on this through our relationship therapy tactics. Our programming is designed around a relationship-based approach to healing from trauma. While students are attending Solstice East they will build relationships with peers and staff members.We have found that these relationships are essential to helping your daughter heal from her trauma and build a strong and empowered identity.

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 on 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.

Solstice East offers therapy for trauma in teens

Success in working with young women requires specific and unique areas of emphasis and sensitivity to how they respond to various approaches to change. As one of the best residential treatment centers, we have created a culture and approach specifically developed to fit the distinctive needs of teenage girls. Whether it is our specifically designed equine approach and addictions programs, or the clinical specialization and collaboration of our therapists, Solstice East is uniquely qualified to address the complex needs of girls in need of healing and growth.

Solstice East is an all-girls residential treatment center that offers therapy for trauma in teens, 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 therapy for trauma in teens, we strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.

For more information about how our therapy for trauma in teens at Solstice East can help your daughter, please contact us at 828-484-9946.

ptsd in children and teens

PTSD In Teenagers: How You Can Help Your Daughter

PTSD In Teenagers: How You Can Help Your Daughter 640 426 se_admin

Childhood trauma can have a profound impact on adolescent’s development, resulting in negative effects on physical growth, psychological development, mental health, and in severe cases, it can be the catalyst for developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Experiencing childhood trauma has become more widespread with many research studies claiming that over 50% of teens have been exposed to trauma at some point in their lives.

A 2013 research study of 6,483 teens found that 61% of teens had been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event in their lifetime, including interpersonal violence such as rape, physical abuse, or domestic violence, injuries, natural disasters, or the death of a close family member. Of these teens, 19% had experienced 3 or more of these traumatic events, and nearly 5% had experienced PTSD under the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Another study indicates that that as many as 16% of adolescents exposed to trauma may develop PTSD.

Research has shown that PTSD can increase vulnerability to psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, as well as several physical problems such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and cancer, and cognitive problems such as brain development and emotional attachment. Because of the potential damages of PTSD, it’s essential to understand the causes of PTSD, recognize its symptoms and impacts, and get your teen treatment as soon as possible to aid in her recovery.

Causes of PTSD in teens

Post-traumatic stress disorder is defined as a condition brought on by exposure to a traumatic event. As discussed, the majority of children will experience some type of traumatic event in their lifetime, but children with PTSD don’t bounce back from this trauma. Instead, they develop harmful behavioral patterns that can be debilitative without treatment.

There are many risk factors associated with the likelihood of developing PTSD as a teenager. Research indicates that the two groups of adolescents that are most likely to have been exposed to trauma in their lifetime are those who did not have both biological parents in the home and those who had pre-existing mental and behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.

In a study that found 4.5% of teens had experienced PTSD in their lifetimes, there were many risk factors. One of the greatest risk factors was being a female; females had a 7.3 percent lifetime prevalence of PTSD compared to only 2.2 percent of males. Another risk factor included interpersonal violence as PTSD was found in 39% of teens who had been raped and 25% of teens who had been physically abused by a caregiver. Lastly, those who had underlying mood disorders such as anxiety and depression were also more likely to be at risk for developing PTSD.

Beyond risk factors, there are many known causes for developing PTSD in children and adolescents. The causes can be broken up into two categories: interpersonal traumas and non-interpersonal traumas. Interpersonal trauma includes events such as violent assaults, rape, physical or sexual abuse, school or neighborhood shootings, and military combat.

A 2020 study indicates the link between interpersonal traumas and PTSD can be explained by social information processing theory. Those who have experienced violent trauma are predisposed to hostile attribution bias which increases the perception of threats and causes heightened stress reactivity. Simply put, those who experience violence are more likely to perceive violence in all settings which can cause them to relive their traumas and be fearful of various environments.

The other type of trauma that can result in PTSD is non-interpersonal trauma and this includes events such as car accidents, natural disasters, being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and going through the death of a loved one. A 2019 study conducted on the impacts of a 2008 earthquake found that up to 10% of children exposed to the earthquake had developed PTSD, and that their PTSD symptoms were heightened around the anniversary of the earthquake each year.

Even though PTSD can develop through various types of trauma, there are some similar symptoms you can look for if you’re concerned your daughter is struggling with post traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms and impacts of PTSD on teens

For teens struggling with PTSD, they often feel like they are unable to escape the impact of the trauma they have experienced. Constant reminders of the trauma they went through can make it extremely challenging to go through day-to-day life, especially if they are unable to express what they are feeling to trusted adults. Here are some common symptoms to look for in teens experiencing PTSD:

  • Avoidance of situations – Teens with PTSD will often avoid situations, environments, and people that could cause them to remember the trauma they’ve experienced. They may also avoid talking about what happened so they don’t have to be reminded of it.
  • Reliving the trauma – Those experiencing PTSD will often have intense nightmares, flashbacks, or disturbing mental images about the trauma. Wanting to avoid the nightmares can also lead to a disruption in their sleeping patterns or cause insomnia
  • Anxiety – People with PTSD can experience extreme anxiety or nervousness. This can take the form of being easily startled, on edge, jumpy, irritable, or tense. This can be brought on by high levels of stress and cortisol in the body.
  • Developmental Regression – Some children who experience PTSD may regress to earlier, more childlike behaviors. This can include wetting the bed, becoming overly clingy to parents, developing separation anxiety, or even forgetting how to speak.
  • Emotional numbness – Teens struggling with past trauma, often feel numb and detached from the people and events in their lives. This detachment can also cause teens to view the world more negatively and hinder their ability to trust anyone. Research indicates this is because the brain overproduces some hormones that numb the senses during stress.
  • Acting impulsively – Teens with PTSD are likely to display self-destructive behavior and guilt. This could be in the form of substance use and abuse, engaging in sexual behavior, or engaging in situations that could put themselves and others in harm’s way.

In addition to the symptoms teens may display, there are many physical, mental, social and emotional impacts that adolescents with PTSD can experience. Due to the hypervigilance, change in sleeping patterns, and increased stress that individuals with PTSD experience, they can also experience negative physical health impacts. Common effects include back pain, migraines, stomachaches, muscle tension, and other body aches. A 2015 study found that childhood trauma can even cause long term changes in their body’s immune functioning which can cause potentially life threatening conditions such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

PTSD in adolescents can also have extremely adverse impacts socially and emotionally. A 2017 study found that those who had experienced PTSD and trauma were likely to misidentify sad and angry faces as fearful. Understanding and recognizing facial expressions is crucial for social functioning and communicating emotions, so this impairment can hurt an individual’s ability to connect with others and can be indicative of low empathy and impaired affective bonding.

Sometimes PTSD can occur in a particularly severe form called Complex PTSD. This type of PTSD is most commonly found in those who have experienced repeated sexual abuse in childhood. A study on Complex PTSD found that in combination with reliving the trauma, these individuals undergo massive personality changes that cause them to struggle with relationships and prohibit them from trusting, developing intimacy, and cultivating a positive sense of self worth.

For children and teens struggling with PTSD, early and consistent intervention can make a world of difference in their healing journey.

How you can help support your daughter through her PTSD

There are many options for treatment if your daughter is experiencing PTSD, and certain types of talk therapy, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, have been proven to significantly reduce the symptoms of PTSD. There are also many steps you can take at home to help your daughter along her recovery journey. Try these strategies to help your teen with PTSD:

Research the causes and effects of PTSD – It can help to gather as much information as possible about PTSD to determine the root of the cause in your daughter. The more information you have, the more able you will be to provide her with the best course of treatment.

Learn to recognize PTSD episodes – One of the scariest impacts of PTSD on teens is reliving a flashback of the event, in which they feel like they are experiencing the trauma all over again. Knowing what to look for during these episodes can help you understand what is going on, what to expect, and what you can do to help in the moment.

Let them know they are not alone – As many as 16% of girls will experience some sort of PTSD in their lives and it can be helpful to know others have experienced this to help reduce alienation from others. Seeking out a PTSD support group can provide an opportunity to connect with others who have experienced similar situations.

Learn triggers – Many PTSD episodes are triggered by events, images, and sounds that remind teens of the original trauma they experienced. By knowing these triggers, you can help your teens avoid the kinds of situations that might cause a PTSD episode.

If your teen is struggling with childhood trauma and PTSD, a residential program like Solstice East, can provide her the holistic and restorative therapy she needs to heal.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that specializes in treating trauma. We utilize cutting edge neurological research to help us better understand the impact of trauma on the developing brain and to implement the most effective methods for its treatment. 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. We believe that evidence based therapeutic techniques such as EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and gender specific treatment are essential to your daughter’s healing process.For more information about how Solstice East can help, please call 828-484-9946.

coping skills for grief and loss

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Grief and Loss

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Grief and Loss 2560 1707 se_admin

Grief and loss are a part of every person’s life. At some point, we will lose a pet, or a friend, or a loved one. And while it is natural and normal, that does not make it any easier when it happens. 

Grief is especially challenging for young people. They are experiencing loss for the first time, and with no previous experience of dealing with it, they may not know what to do. The sadness can feel overwhelming and they fall into unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Common Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms 

While each person deals with grief differently, there are some common coping mechanisms that present themselves during loss. Unhealthy coping mechanisms may include: 

  • Denial- refusing to acknowledge their loss or grief.
  • Risk-taking behavior- this could include acting without thought of consequences and acting out through unhealthy relationships.
  • Substance abuse- turning to alcohol or drugs to numb their feelings.
  • Over or under eating- using food as a tool to numb or distract.
  • Obsessing/Controlling- since they could not control their loss, they may seek to control what they can. 

There can be many factors, including low self-esteem, or a history of untreated anxiety and depression that can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. There may be a sense of emptiness or lack of safety that makes their loss feel intolerable and this inability to tolerate the emotions leads to those unhealthy behaviors. 

Healthier Tools

There is no “right” way to deal with loss. Part of dealing with grief is understanding that it affects different people in different ways. Young people dealing with grief need to understand that the feelings they’re experiencing are okay and that there is no such thing as normal when it comes to loss. It might take one person a few weeks to start to feel lighter, while others require much more time. It is important to give themselves some patience and grace as they move through their stages of grief. Acknowledging their pain and seeking out help can aid them to begin to deal with their loss. There may be good days and hard days, but it is all a part of processing their emotions. Grief counseling can also be an effective tool for working through their pain. An experienced therapist can help them work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to their grieving.

Solstice East Can Help

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.

The process of internal growth and change is facilitated by a succession of interventions aimed at helping our girls become young women of character. The process of developing and clarifying a positive value system, and learning to allow these values to drive their choices and behavior is a powerful process of growth. It is this process that drives internal growth, and once solidified, remains constant and growing long after graduation and into adulthood. For more information please call (828) 414-2980.

Depression Treatment Centers Massachusetts

The Impacts of Virtual Learning on Teens

The Impacts of Virtual Learning on Teens 2560 1710 se_admin

Teens have much to feel worried about during this pandemic. Will their families stay safe? Will their friends get sick? They worry they are falling behind. They worry about what that means for their future, and how that might affect college or the workforce after their graduate. That compounded with the stress of trying to complete virtual learning without the proper support can cause students to feel overwhelmed and defeated. There is also the simple fact that, for some teens, school is not a priority. It was OK when they have friends and free periods to look forward to during the day, but now that everything is carried out on the screen where they can stay on mute or have their camera off, it may just feel easier to not engage. 

The Impact of Virtual Learning

A poll of 849 teenagers by Common Sense Media found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven’t attended a single online or virtual class. This startling number can be attributed to a variety of things such as, a lack of technology resources at home, parents who have to work and are unable to monitor school attendance, schools without the proper resources to effectively run online learning, or students who are struggling with learning or mental health issues without the proper support. 

Teachers across the country are having to learn new ways to teach a classroom of squares on a screen. There is less motivation for students to focus on a lesson where they are surrounded by the distractions of home. It becomes more difficult for teachers to teach to the individual, because even though each teen’s learning style is unique, not having students in-person places a lot of boundaries on the lesson. Research done in past disasters suggests that it is teenagers who are the most at risk when school is interrupted. Many are forced to work to earn money or have to stay home and take care of younger siblings. They are more likely to drop out and less likely to go on to college.

In-Person Learning in Residential Treatment

Learning in a classroom with peers helps give teens a sense of belonging and community. If they are feeling confused about a topic, it’s easy to look around the room and see if their friends are struggling too. They are able to be engaged physically in the room around them with classroom materials and hands-on projects. For many teens, kinetic learning is an important part of information retention. This is difficult to duplicate in an online setting. But even knowing the benefits of in-person learning, we do not want to put our teens in a dangerous situation due to this pandemic. This is where a residential treatment center can be a helpful solution. 

Students who attend a residential treatment center are naturally in a bubble. All the other students who are attending class also live on campus. There is not the worry that your teen will be exposed to another student who has gone home and interacted with a parent or sibling who may have been exposed to the virus. It is a safer environment where the program can control the possibility of exposure, while also offering academics that will help your teen reach their goals. 

At Solstice East, we have curated our academic program to be fully integrated with our premier therapeutic clinical program. Our experience has shown us that teens who succeed academically will be more likely to apply motivation to other areas of their lives as well. Students who experience an increase in self-confidence and self-efficacy from academics also display positive progress in their clinical work and in mending family relationships. Our teachers and therapists work hand-in-hand to ensure each student reaches their therapeutic goals while achieving academic success.

Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East supports a therapeutic culture where acceptance, change, and growth is recognized and embraced. Our approach employs the guidance of The Hero’s Journey and its themes, providing a foundation for our students to advance victoriously and grow closer to internal harmony. Solstice East students embark on a therapeutic journey that teaches inner growth and understanding and fosters positive relationships. Our groundbreaking approach allows our students to heal while compiling skills and practices to best serve them throughout their life journey. For more information please call (828) 469-0905.

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 and Anxiety: Physical Activity Can Help

Depression and Anxiety: Physical Activity Can Help 150 150 se_admin

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.

Call Solstice East today, at 828-484-9946, for more information on how we can help your daughter!