• Residential Treatment Center for Teens 14-17

mental health

Therapy for Trauma in Teens: Sleep Could Be Critical for Processing

Therapy for Trauma in Teens: Sleep Could Be 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.

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships and Creating Healthy Ones

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships and Creating Healthy Ones 150 150 se_admin

Creating new relationships is an important part of development in adolescence. This is a time when teens are beginning to form their own interests and identities outside of their family unit. It can be exciting, but it also comes with a new set of challenges. As teens begin to create new relationships, both with friends and romantic, they also run the risk of relationships changing or even ending. For teens who have not experienced a relationship that ends, it can feel confusing or overwhelming to figure out what comes next. When a friendship or relationship with a significant other turns bad, it can be devastating to many teens.

Identifying Unhealthy Relationships

Most adults remember their first crust or their first school dance. There is a spark of excitement around new relationships, especially during our formative years. And because everything is new and thrilling, it can be easy for teens to get swept up in a relationship. Some teen girls may find themselves forgoing their friendships to spend all their time in their new relationship. They may begin to eschew hobbies or interests they previously enjoyed, instead of trying to mold their interests to fit those of their romantic interest. 

A relationship becomes unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling, or abusive behavior. Some teens who have grown up in an environment where fighting or abuse was common may believe that this behavior is normal. Teens in unhealthy relationships may make excuses or misinterpret bad behavior. If a boyfriend or girlfriend is acting jealous or possessive, they may think “Oh, that just means they really like me.”. It is important for teens to understand the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and ask themselves the following questions:

Does my boyfriend/girlfriend:

  • get angry when I don’t drop everything for him or her?
  • criticize the way I look or dress, and say I’ll never be able to find anyone else who would date me?
  • keep me from seeing friends or from talking to other guys or girls?
  • want me to quit an activity, even though I love it?
  • ever raise a hand when angry, like he or she is about to hit me?
  • try to force me to go further sexually than I want to?

Encouraging Healthy Relationships

Understanding the traits of an unhealthy relationship is helpful, but it is equally as important to understand how to create a healthy relationship as well. Here are some qualities to think about for a healthy relationship:

  • Mutual respect. Respect is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Does your partner respect your boundaries? Do they listen when you say “no” or you tell them that you are uncomfortable? Respect goes both ways and means that each person understands and values the other person’s boundaries.
  • Trust. Jealousy is a natural emotion, especially for young adults who are experiencing a relationship for the first time. But it is important to pay attention to how you or your partner react when those feelings of jealousy arise. Can they recognize that emotion without being controlled by it? Do they trust that you are committed to their relationship? Without trust, you cannot have a healthy relationship.
  • Honesty. Without honesty, there can be no trust in a relationship. Can you and your partner talk openly about your concerns or needs? Do they follow through when they tell you they’ll meet you for dinner or text you later? If your partner is consistently being honest with you, it can allow you to feel more confident in the relationship. 
  • Support. It may be easy to celebrate together when good things happen, but is your partner still there for you when things go wrong? In a healthy relationship, your partner will be there for you to lean for support no matter what is happening. Sometimes, there is a fear that big disappointments or setbacks will be too much for others to handle. You may worry that your problems will make it too hard for them to love you. But a supportive partner will always be there for you, no matter what. 
  • Fairness/equality. Just like friendships in elementary school, relationships are about taking turns as well. Does one person always choose the activity or do you take turns doing something you’ll each enjoy? If a relationship turns into a power struggle with one person fighting to get their way all the time, the relationship quickly becomes unbalanced. 
  • Separate identities. In a new relationship, it is common for two people to want to spend every free moment together, and the time they aren’t physically together is spent texting or calling. Being able to make compromises is important in a relationship, but it should mean that you feel like you are losing yourself. You and your partner should both have other people, hobbies, and interests in your lives. Neither person should feel like they have to pretend to like something they don’t or be someone who they are not. Both people should feel comfortable developing new interests and friendships while they are in a relationship. 
  • Good communication. In any relationship, good communication is key. Can you talk to your partner about your fears or concerns? Do they listen when you talk to them about things that are important to you? Do you feel comfortable talking to them even when the topic is challenging? Does your partner give you the time and space you need to communicate your feelings?

Moving Past Old Relationships

Some relationships may end because they are unhealthy. Some other relationships end simply because they have run their course. People grow and change, and it is just a natural part of life that many relationships will end. But even understanding that it is normal and natural, it can sometimes be challenging to move past an old relationship. 

For some, losing a significant other because of a break-up can feel very painful. To go from seeing them and talking to them every day to having no contact may feel inconceivable. It may be hard to imagine your life without them. Because of that emotional pain, it is easy to see why fast-forwarding through those hard feelings may sound appealing. You may try to distract yourself by keeping busy with other things and people, ignoring those painful emotions. But the reality is that the end of a relationship usually requires a grieving period, where you can take some time to process what has happened. Rather than trying to suppress your feelings, allowing yourself to feel them is integral to the healing process. Know that you can always reach out to family and friends for emotional support as you go through the process. 

After a relationship ends can be the perfect time to reconnect with yourself. If you were in an unhealthy relationship, take some time for yourself before attempting to jump into a new relationship. Perhaps you found that you were losing your identity in your previous relationship, choosing to go along with what the other person wanted instead of thinking about your own needs. Taking a break can help you assess what those needs are. Reconnect with your own interests and passions. This could be engaging in activities you previously enjoyed such as cooking or hiking. This could also be joining a group where you will be surrounded by people who enjoy the same interests as you do. It can feel validating to be around like-minded people who appreciate your talents and passions. 

It can be easy to replay a relationship over and over again, remembering where things went wrong or wishing you had done something differently, but blaming yourself only brings about negative emotions and delays the healing process. Instead, try to see the relationship as a learning experience. Every relationship, if we let it, can teach us something about ourselves and give us greater clarity about what we need to be happy. Know that a relationship isn’t a failure just because it ended. If you grew as a person and learned something to move your life forward, then it served a purpose and was truly a success.

Remember that just because a relationship failed, that does not mean that every relationship will fail. Each relationship teaches us a little bit more about ourselves and what we are looking for in a partner. By practicing those traits of a healthy relationship and looking for a partner who also has those qualities, you can work to build more healthy relationships in the future. 

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.

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

women and youth supporting each other

How to Build Up Other Girls Instead of Feeling Competitive

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Teenage girls have a reputation for being competitive. So much so that the terms “Queen Bee” and “mean girls” have worked their way into common vernacular. This sense of competition may stem from a variety of reasons such as issues with confidence, a feeling of scarcity around opportunities, or learned behaviors. And while this competition is often seen as a given for women, the truth is that there are ways that we can change our perspective and learn to build other girls up. 

Women Supporting Women

Pursue Your Passions: Being engaged in activities you are passionate about can help you feel more confident and connected. By exploring your interests, you begin to build a stronger self of self. And that strong self of self can help guide your moral compass when you encounter those negative competitive behaviors, whether in yourself or in others. 

Practice Empathy: Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a crucial part of understanding how our behaviors can directly affect someone else. Negative competitive behaviors often present themselves as being malicious or underhanded. When those feelings arise, you may find yourself wishing for your own success, perhaps at the cost of someone else’s. It’s important to remember that there are opportunities for everyone and that when you act on those competitive feelings, it can have a real and negative impact on others. 

Use Social Media for Good: Social media is often thought of as a negative thing where young women are flooded with messages and imaging about how they could look/act/be better. And while that can be the case, there are ways to use social media for good. You can follow accounts on social media that you find inspirational where women are lifting each other up. You can also use your own social media for good. Leave positive comments on a friend’s post describing her recent success. “Like” a co-worker’s selfie where she was feeling confident. 

Work Together: If you find yourself struggling with competitive behaviors, try putting yourself in situations where you will have to work collaboratively with other women. Perhaps it’s a sports team or joining a local group of volunteers. Notice how that when you’re working together, one person’s success means that every person is succeeding. The more you practice lifting other women up, the more it will just become a part of your automatic response. 

Solstice East Can Help

Solstice East students are highly intelligent and highly sensitive. Our teens are creative and capable, but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. They often experience the world differently through misperceptions and are impacted by issues of anxiety, depression, identity, attachment, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues. For more information please call (828) 471-0221.

kids and horses

How Can Horse Therapy Improve Relationship Skills In Children

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For children struggling with a variety of mental health issues, from trauma to depression to addiction, research has shown that equine programs can provide substantial benefits. From horseback riding to caring for horses through equine-assisted therapy, interacting with horses can help improve overall mental health and relationships with others.

How working with horses can help girls improve other relationships in their lives

While interactions with horses have been found to help a myriad of people, they are particularly effective in helping children with special challenges such as emotional and behavioral issues. Many children with these issues have trouble trusting the adults in their lives, and those with a history of abuse can often appear aggressive or hostile toward others. For these children, a combination of cognitive therapy and working with horses has demonstrated positive results.

Working with horses can teach children about behavior regulation and leadership. As horses are prey animals, they will look for a leader to help them feel safe. Horses thrive on nonverbal communication and if they feel threatened or unsafe, they will retreat from the perceived threat. Because horses can recognize emotion, children will be able to see the immediate effect of responding positively to the horse. In this way, a horse acts as a mirror to your child’s behavior which can serve as a teachable moment for how their behavior affects others.

Another skill working with horses can teach children is intentional attention towards others and away from self. When children have to groom, feed, and take care of horses, they aren’t thinking about themselves. This shift in attention away from themselves allows them to be able to more deeply care about and for other people in an environment that is removed from the pressures of daily life.

Working with horses can also help children develop emotionally in a variety of different ways from helping them feel more secure in themselves to overcoming adverse effects of trauma. Children can gain confidence in themselves as they learn to ride a horse and be assertive in their directions and decisions. They can gain trust by learning to cooperate with and develop a bond with their animal, which can lead to trust in other relationships. This bond can also help struggling children develop empathy and affection in a low-risk environment.

If your daughter is struggling behaviorally, emotionally, or socially, she could benefit from a program with a strong equine component.

Solstice East can help

Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that specializes in treating teens who are highly intelligent and sensitive but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. Our campus offers on-site equine therapy, an accredited academic schedule, plus world-class therapeutic programming to treat a wide range of trauma and disorders.

In equine therapy, our students learn about communication and relationships, providing a powerful mirror for students to reflect on their moods as well as verbal and nonverbal communication. For more information about how Solstice East can help, please call 828-484-9946.

the harmful effects of social media on teens

What Teens Post On Social Media: Talking to Your Teen

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In a world where teenagers have grown up socializing on social media, it’s important to teach them how to be good digital citizens when interacting online. This can be a complicated job because you need to balance respecting their privacy with maintaining awareness of what they are doing online.

How to talk to your teen about what they post on social media

Starting a conversation with your teen about appropriate posting on social media can feel overwhelming, particularly if you aren’t familiar with all of the technologies that they are using. Even if you aren’t a technological guru, you have plentiful life experience that can help guide your kids through life’s tricky situations. Start with a conversation about why social media is important to them and why they use it. This conversation can get to the heart of your child’s motivations and get them thinking about why they post the things they do.

After you’ve established a baseline conversation about social media use, it’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines without being too controlling. This conversation should be more about building trust and empowering your teen to make their own smart decisions rather than a lay-down-the-law lecture. In this ongoing conversation, address topics like privacy settings, what personal information is appropriate to share online, how much screen time they are allowed, and how you can never really delete things from the internet.

Another strategy for encouraging teens to make smart social media decisions is to lead by example. Your teen might follow you on social media accounts, and they will take notice of how you interact with others online. This includes being careful of what content you share, what articles you retweet, and what you comment on other people’s content. If your teen sees you engaging in fights in Facebook comments or sharing hurtful content, they are not likely to listen to your suggestions when it comes to appropriate social media presence.

As it’s becoming increasingly common for teens to have secret accounts such as a finsta (fake Instagram), you should engage in a discussion about these accounts and why kids are trying to hide certain content. Instead of demanding to see theirs or requiring them to delete it, ask your teen why she is trying to hide certain content and would she be comfortable if this content fell into the wrong hands. It’s possible that a fake account your teen has is completely harmless, but you won’t know that until you engage in an open discussion about it.

It’s important to continue having these non-judgemental conversations with your child surrounding social media. If you only try to police them, they will resist, but it feels more like an interaction and exchanging of ideas, they are more likely to open up to you. Keeping the line of communication open will help foster a trusting relationship and make future conversations easier as well.

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. Our clients receive a unique combination of therapeutic techniques stemming from traditional and holistic mental health treatments.

We strive to equip our students with the ability to believe in themselves by providing the tools, support, and motivation necessary to instill these beliefs for life. For more information about how Solstice East can help please call 828-484-9946.

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.

self care for kids

Making Time for Healthy Habits As A Young Girl

Making Time for Healthy Habits As A Young Girl 2560 1707 se_admin

A typical day for young girls may look something like this: wake up, shower and get ready for school, grab a quick bite of breakfast, ride the school bus, classes, after school activities, homework, dinner, homework, spending time on technology, bed. Their days are filled from morning until night with activities and responsibilities. This amount of commitment can lead to stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. 

For example, teens who are pressed for time may opt to grab a pre-packaged snack that they can eat on the go during lunchtime instead of stopping for a healthy meal. Girls who have after school activities such as athletics or clubs may end up starting their homework after dinner and working late into the night, therefore losing sleep and developing unhealthy sleep habits. It may start as little things here and there, but when left unaddressed these habits can lead to negative consequences for their physical and mental health. 

Knowing that many young girls lead busy lives, how can we encourage them to take time for themselves and create some healthy habits?

There are three key areas for adolescent girls’ health: 

Physical: Adolescents who are feeling overwhelmed may not make time for exercise and healthy eating. Finding ways to make these aspects of their health fun and engaging can help them to feel some ownership around their physical health. This could mean going for a family walk, encouraging active activities with their friend group, or taking cooking lessons. It may also be helpful for young girls to schedule healthy habits into their day. For example, making sure they set aside a full hour at lunch to sit down and eat a healthy meal. When the time is already scheduled, they won’t need to worry that they are missing something else when they stop and refuel.

Mental: Teaching girls healthy coping skills can be beneficial when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This could include practices like meditation and mindfulness. This could also look like providing a safe space for your daughter to communicate her needs and concerns. When she can talk about her struggles, you can better help her address those issues. Have your daughter track how she feels when she practices her healthy coping skills and compares it to times when she does not. When she is able to identify an improvement in her mental health, she may be more motivated to make time for those practices. 

Emotional: Emotions are high during the adolescent years. Social dynamics are constantly changing, and things like social media can leave girls feeling isolated or depressed. Teaching your daughter to cultivate her friend group and her social media feeds can help her feel more emotionally healthy. Talk with her about what makes a good friend and how to remove herself from unhealthy relationships. Encourage her to block or delete social media accounts that make her feel bad about herself and help her implement time frames around social media use. With the time she is no longer spending on social media, she can instead engage in healthy physical and mental habits. 

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. 

At Solstice East, your teen will be supported by a passionate team of therapeutic experts who have extensive training and experience working with trauma, loss, anxiety, addiction, and unhealthy behaviors. We are a proven leader in successfully treating adolescent students struggling with a variety of challenges. For more information please call (828) 469-0905.

Avoiding Anxiety in Teens

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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!

The Need for a Teenage Depression Test

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A recent article by Richmond discusses a girl’s story of battling depression and the need for a teenage depression test. For Cameron Gallagher, who lived with depression, the pain of her struggle was almost unbearable. It was extremely difficult on her family and friends watching her battling depression and not knowing what to do. Cameron died suddenly at age 16 from an undiscovered heart condition after running a half-marathon, her difficulties provided the inspiration to help other teens seek help and get a teenage depression test.

A Quest Towards Change

Cameron’s family decided to turn this quest into a 5K race, a foundation, and a program to build awareness and support for individuals needing a teenage depression test and those battling other mental health issues. Research by the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey has shown, that nearly 30 percent of high school students said they had felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks within the past year. The students also stated that during these times they had difficulties staying active in certain usual activities they participated in. The study found that percentages were similar at each grade level.

Among female students, the percentage reporting symptoms of depression was nearly 40 percent overall. Grace Gallagher, Cameron’s mother states:

“Love means doing the hard stuff. Sometimes it’s taking you to a doctor’s appointment that you don’t want to go to. There were some nights that were really, really hard—a lot of tear and not just from Cameron.”

The Importance of Seeking Help

Cameron’s story is an impactful message to all families about the importance of seeking a teenage depression test and therapy. At such a young age, it can seem impossible to understand what you’re going through. With the stigma on mental health, it is essential that teens feel supported and capable of speaking up about their mental health struggles.

Don’t wait, let Cameron’s story be the inspiration to seek the help you need. If you or your child are in need of a teenage depression test, 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!

 

Depression Around the World: The History of Depression in Japan

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Mental illness is extremely common around the world, but many countries haven’t recognized certain illnesses like depression until recently. Depression in Japan was not widely recognized until the late 1990s. It wasn’t until an advertising campaign for anti-depressants was released that called depression “cold of the soul” that the recognition of depression finally boomed. A recent article by BBC News discusses the views of depression around the world, and Japan’s process of accepting depression as a mental illness.

Understanding how the World Views Depression and Mental Illness

Up until the late 1990s, depression in Japan was something rarely heard of outside psychiatric circles. Some claimed this was due to people in Japan simply not suffering from depression. They believe people found ways to accommodate depressive feelings while somehow being able to carry on with daily life.

A more likely reason is Japan’s medical tradition, in which depression has been regarded as primarily physical rather than a combination of physical and psychological. Depression in Japan was hardly diagnosed, and treatments for symptoms of depression in Japan were often to use rest or exercise.

When the boom of anti-depressants hit the rest of the world, Japan wasn’t on the same page. It wasn’t until a marketing campaign commissioned by a Japanese drugs firm helped turn things around. Word was spread about depression in Japan, defining it as a cold of the soul. They stated it could happen to anyone, and medication was the way to treat it.

The number of people diagnosed with a mood disorder in Japan doubled in just four years. The new illness was not just acceptable now—it was even slightly fashionable. After a few years of a general understanding of depression in Japan had taken place, an outcry for change occurred from many individuals who felt depressed from being overworked by their employers.

Many families fought in court to show that depression could be caused by a person’s circumstances, including overwork—stating it was not purely about genetic inheritance. They also argued that Japans idea that suicide was straightforwardly intentional, were inadequate. At this time, mental illness had gone from a hush-hush family matter to the focus of a worker’s movement.

Since then, Japan has brought in workplace stress checks, a questionnaire covering causes and symptoms of stress which is later assessed by doctors and nurses, and medical care for those who need it. These measures are mandatory for any company with more than 50 staff, and smaller businesses are encouraged to do the same.

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!