Stress is relative. Sure, your teen may not have the responsibilities of a normal adult. However, the issues they deal with can be extremely stressful. In fact, the schedules of most teenagers are more packed than some adults! Between sports, after school clubs, coursework, and social related pressures it’s no wonder that so many teenagers struggle during this time period. Without proper support, stressed out teens may be at risk for more severe mental health concerns that could have a severe impact on their overall health and relationships. Because of this, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs your teen may be under high levels of stress before it becomes a problem. Here are 5 common signs your teen may be too stressed out.
1. Trouble Sleeping
Some teens may sleep too much, while other teens struggle falling or staying asleep. Pay attention to the amount and quality of sleep your teen gets. Prolonged and consistent sleep patterns of either too much sleep, or too little can be indicators of elevated levels of stress. A teen who always wants to go back to bed after school or one who tries to sleep all day on the weekends may be trying to escape her stress. While a teen who can’t sleep at night may be really struggling with certain stressors that are preventing them from finding healthy rest.
2. Frequent Headaches and/or Stomachaches
Chronic low level stress is scientifically tied to physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. If your teen is coming home everyday with a headache or gets stomach aches the night before school it may be a sign that they are overly stressed.
3. Isolating Behavior
Stress is likely to change your teen’s social habits. If your teen begins to isolate themselves it can be a sign they are struggling. Spending more time alone in their room or displaying a lack of interest in talking to friends could mean your teen is having difficulties.
4. Struggling In School
Sometimes stress-related problems are caused by school-related issues. At other times, academic problems result because a teen is stressed out. If your teen’s grades have declined, or if your teen’s attendance in poor, consider whether the change may be stress-related.
5. Increased Irritability
Although teens can be moody by nature, a stressed-out teen is likely to more irritable than usual. A teen who becomes irritable over small inconveniences frequently may be feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges.
When To Consult A Professional?
Many teens naturally struggle with conveying emotions. That’s why there is probably something deeper going on if your teen is exhibiting irritable or over the top behavior. It could be that they are under severe levels of stress, but may not feel comfortable talking about what’s going on.
If you suspect that your teen is struggling with stress, talk to them about it. Ask them how they’re feeling and share some stress management techniques with them. If your teen’s stress seems to be interfering with school, family, household responsibilities, or friends, it may be time to seek professional help. Symptoms lasting more than two weeks could be a sign that your teen may have an underlying mental health problem, like depression or anxiety. Talk to your teen’s pediatrician if you have concerns about stress. It’s important to rule out any physical health issues and to discuss treatment options. A physician may refer your child to counseling, which can be very effective in helping your teen learn to manage their stress.