Childhood and teenage exposure to stress substantially increases the likelihood of psychiatric disorders that will arise later in life.

Your teenage years should be one of your life’s best times. But the truth is that it is common to experience severe depression in teens. Up to 30% of teenagers have at least one episode of it, and 50 to 75% of teenagers with anxiety, impulse control, and hyperactivity disorders develop it during teenage years. For example, approximately 70% of those in the juvenile justice system have a mental health disorder. Adolescence is a stressful time for many children.

Stress in adolescents has been related to solitary confinement, violence, risky behavior, and abuse of drugs. Teenage warnings of stress overload might include headaches or frequent illness, withdrawal from friends and activities, changes in sleep and eating, anger, irritability, and hopelessness. Suicide, the third leading cause of death in young adults, is the greatest risk in stress overload and mental illness in young adults.

Parental pressure leads to stress and anxiety. This often causes parents to think they need to monitor their child’s progress; preferably by intruding into their social life and peering over their shoulder while they study. Such high expectations and pressure may also cause the child to suffer stress and depression.

Peer pressure also causes stress. Teenagers try to behave due to pressure coming from their peers. This kind of stress is triggered by issues like the need for approval, acceptance and the need to have a sense of belonging.

Study can also create stress in teens. Most teenagers are anxious to fulfill educational expectations, to satisfy teachers and parents, and to keep up with their classmates. Poor skills in managing time and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work can also lead to academic pressure.

In today’s social media landscape, teenagers face severe pressure and anxiety when it comes to their social media presence and keeping up with the latest digital trends.

The good news is that the changes that make it vulnerable to stress in the adolescent brain can also make it resistant to stress. Due to the constant creation of new pathways by the adolescent brain, it can learn healthy ways to cope with stress. Here are some tips:

First parental pressure needs to stop. Use of social media would be less in teens.

Don’t ignore symptoms of depression or anxiety. Talk with someone. Learn stress reduction techniques. These can include deep breathing; progressive muscle relaxation; and creative activities like music, writing, and art. Exercise regularly, don’t skip meals, and get enough sleep, attempt all great healthy lifestyle habits. Avoid high-caffeine drinks, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Set realistic goals and break down tasks into manageable bites. Avoid pressure from high expectations. Avoid people, places, and things that cause stress. Surround yourself with supportive friends and healthy activities.

Stress can trigger severe depression in teenagers and can cause psychological illness in vulnerable young adults. The teenage brain is more sensitive to stress hormones and may be damaged by adult stress. On the other hand, due to the rapid development of the teenage brain, good habits to deal with stress can also last into later life. Learn to say no to stress.

MISBAH IMTIAZ,

Islamabad.