Distress, defined as nonproductive and/or damaging stress, is often associated with adulthood yet surveys are showing that teenagers in the US are suffering as much, if not more from this condition, than their parents are. In its 2010 report, Stress in America, the American Psychological Association notes that nearly one third of children have reported experiencing the physical symptoms caused by stress and anxiety. Additionally, teens have reported higher levels of distress than adults.
Teen Life: No Longer the Golden Era
Many of us look back on our teens as one of the happiest times of our, yet many modern teens find that there are many reasons why they cannot enjoy this golden time to the full. Top reasons for distress include too much school work or poor relationships with parents, romantic interests, friends, and/or siblings.
Seeking Outlets for Stress
Teens are increasingly turning to drugs and other illicit and/or unhealthy substances to calm their malaise and stress is thought to be a major contributing factor. Statistics indicate that some 23.9 million Americans aged 12 and above have reported using illicit drugs. According to one survey, 39 per cent of high school seniors reported drinking alcohol, almost 23 per cent said they used marijuana and 16 per cent admitted to smoking cigarettes. Prescription drugs are another major source of worry; Drugabuse.gov notes that most Americans do not appreciate the extent of the problem; in 2010, for instance, some 8.76 people in the US abused prescription drugs. In 2013, 15 per cent of high school senior admitted to taking prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. Stimulants like coffee are another worry; many savvy marketing companies have realized that teens rely on coffee to stay awake, and have proceeded to plan sophisticated campaigns accordingly.
Natural Ways to De-Stress Your Teen
Parents seeking to help their adolescent children battle stress successfully should focus on natural relaxants, to avoid dependency on alcohol and drugs. One of the best natural highs can be obtained from exercise, which significantly lowers cortisol levels and also works on a teen’s confidence in a positive way. Sleep is another vital ally; the National Sleep Foundation reports that most teens are falling seriously short of the recommended 9.25 hours of sleep; most manage just 7.4 hours on school nights and 8.1 hours on non-school nights. Finally, sound nutrition is vital; children should avoid stimulants like caffeine, refined sugar and alcohol which contribute not only to greater distress levels, but also to another worrisome epidemic: that of obesity.