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effects of trauma in teens

Putting the Pieces Back Together: Helping Your Child through the Effects of Trauma in Teens

Putting the Pieces Back Together: Helping Your Child through the Effects of Trauma in Teens 2560 1709 Solstice RTC

Childhood is arguably the most impactful stage in one’s life.  Early interactions and experiences help to shape the brains of young children.  Building a healthy brain early on in a child’s life is important because it provides a strong foundation and increases the likelihood of a positive adulthood experience.  However unfortunately some experiences in childhood that can happen have negative effects on brain development, this is sometimes known as trauma and refers to the emotional response we have to distressing experiences.  

We try our best to protect our children from harm’s way, but the unfortunate reality is there are distressing events in life that are sometimes unavoidable.  Traumatic events that are often experienced during childhood can include the death of a loved one, community violence, natural disaster, serious accident or illness, and more.  While some may think that childhood trauma is relatively uncommon, the unfortunate reality is that it happens far too often with nearly 35 million children under the age of 17 report having experienced at least one form of major childhood trauma, this equates to roughly 47.9% of children in the United States.  If your child has been the victim or witness of a disturbing or distressing event they may be at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health concerns as a result of trauma.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying or traumatic event either by experiencing or witnessing it.  Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts related to the event.  Traumatic events often come with a variety of negative effects on mental and emotional wellbeing, but if these effects last for several months or even years and interfere with day-to-day functioning PTSD may be present.  

Types of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can consist of a range of different experiences and events.  Any event where a child feels intensely threatened in a situation they are involved in or of witness to can be classified as trauma.  The following is a general list of trauma types that have been identified by The National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network.

  • Bullying.  Whether it be online, to your face, or behind your back, bullying is any action performed with the intent of inflicting social, emotional, physical, and/or psychological harm to another.  In some cases, bullying may be severe and cause damage to your child’s wellbeing.
  • Community Violence.  Exposure to interpersonal violence within public areas can be very traumatic for children, even if they are not the victim.  This can lead to the development of fear, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.  
  • Complex Trauma.  Complex trauma refers to children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events, often related to the lack of a stable caregiver or home environment.  This commonly includes events such as abuse or neglect.
  • Disasters.  Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, or earthquakes can be very traumatic as they may involve the need for an abrupt change in environment and can create a significant amount of panic and fear.
  • Early Childhood Trauma.  Early childhood trauma refers to traumatic experiences that occur before the age of 6.  Trauma in such early stages in one’s life can have more profound effects on growth, development, and adulthood.
  • Domestic Violence.  Domestic violence occurs when there is a threat or harm made between caregivers or household members.
  • Medical Trauma.  Medical trauma is the psychological response children have to significant medical events, including injury and illness. 
  • Physical Abuse.  Physical abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver intentionally physically harms a child that often results in injury.
  • Refugee Trauma.  Many refugees face trauma related to war and political unrest in their environment as well as the trauma of having to move to a new and foreign country. 
  • Sexual Abuse.  Child sexual abuse is when an inappropriate interaction occurs with a child in which the child is used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator.  This can cause a number of lifelong health issues and struggles.
  • Sex Trafficking.  Sex trafficking involves the exchange of money, food, drugs, and/or shelter for sexual acts.  Oftentimes young girls may be manipulated or forced into sexual trafficking. 
  • Terrorism and Violence.  Families and children can be seriously affected by mass violence, acts of terrorism, or community violence in the form of shootings, bombings, threats and other types of attacks.
  • Traumatic Grief.  Traumatic grief typically involves the loss of a family member or loved one.  Some children have more trouble coping with loss than others, and it may result in serious difficulties and interference with their lives.       

Effects of Trauma

Unfortunately, childhood trauma can have profound impacts on wellbeing, and the risk for these negative impacts increase if the individual’s trauma is left untreated.  In fact, trauma can have negative impacts on one’s relationships, physical health, cognition, emotion and behavior.  Depending on the person and type of trauma, trauma may make it more difficult for some children to learn how to trust others, regulate their emotions, interact with the world, and understand their own sense of values and self.  In addition to this, trauma can create an extreme and constant state of stress within the body which can lead to an impaired development of the brain, immune, and nervous system.  Traumatic experiences have also been linked to an increased risk of medical conditions in the long-term throughout the individual’s life, as well as higher exposure to risky behaviors and mental health consequences.     

Tips for those dealing with trauma

Childhood trauma is no easy experience to cope with, for either the child or parent.  However, it is important to recognize trauma in children, and if you believe your child has been the victim of one or more traumatic events it is essential, they get the help they need.  If you or your child believes that the presence of a medical professional or professional help is needed, please do not hesitate to seek out a health care provider.  The following are tips from the Child Mind Institute for parents seeking to help their child cope after a traumatic event. 

  • Provide reassurance and make them feel safe.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible to avoid chaos.
  • Encourage your children to enjoy healthy activities and time spent with others.
  • Be open, but not pressing, to talk and listen.
  • Help them relax with breathing exercises, yoga, reading or other peaceful activities.
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them know they are valid and normal.
  • Watch for signs of worsening trauma and know when to seek help.

It is important that as a parent caring for a child dealing with trauma you are taking good care of yourself.  Setting a good example by practicing positive self-care and coping strategies such as exercise, meditation, eating well, encouraging hobbies, self-love, and positivity are all ways to demonstrate and practice self-care. 

Solstice RTC Can Help

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14-18 struggling with the results of trauma, substance abuse, and/or mental health concerns.  We strive to help our students heal through a variety of therapeutic techniques based on traditional and holistic treatment methods.  Our mission is to support adolescents into living happy, healthy, and productive adult lives.

For more information about our program at Solstice RTC, please call (866) 278-3345.  We can help your family today!

benefits of residential treatment centers

Top 5 Reasons Teens Benefit from RTCs

Top 5 Reasons Teens Benefit from RTCs 2560 1848 Solstice RTC

Adolescence is a challenging time for most teens. Their bodies and hormones are rapidly changing, and even their brains are going through new development. There is also the additional challenge of changing social dynamics as friendships begin to hold more importance than family relationships. Young women are beginning to figure out who they are as individuals as they discover new interests. Because of all these changes, many teens can feel like the ground is constantly shifting underneath their feet, and find themselves struggling to keep their balance. 

Changes and challenges are normal during adolescence, but there may be times when young women and assigned females at birth face particularly difficult struggles. In these situations, If your child has been struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, or learning differences, it may be beneficial to look into enrolling in a residential treatment center (RTC). 

Why Enroll in an RTC? 

Residential treatment centers for teens are typically a good fit for young women and assigned females at birth who have already pursued some sort of outpatient therapy and have achieved limited success. One of the difficult things about outpatient therapy, especially for teens, is getting engaged in the therapeutic process. If a teen doesn’t want to attend outpatient therapy, they may skip appointments or be purposefully late. Or if a teen doesn’t feel like sharing, their therapist may be left in the dark. With residential treatment, that isn’t an option. Therapists are on-site with their students and are kept up to date about how each of them is doing day-to-day. Long-term residential treatment programs are often more successful than outpatient therapy or brief hospital stays as teens have more opportunities to apply the skills they’ve learned and internalize these changes. The skills that they develop while enrolled in an RTC are practiced daily with peers and staff trained to support them on their treatment path. 

Residential treatment centers not only help teens, but it can also help their families. Because teens will likely return to the home environment after treatment, it is important to involve family members so that old patterns and behaviors can be addressed. Additionally, family dynamics can be worked on in family therapy sessions. This type of family involvement results in better outcomes for the teen in the long term. Using an interdisciplinary treatment team, Solstice offers a holistic and comprehensive program for therapy and overall care. With each student’s primary therapist leading the treatment team, we incorporate all the professionals that serve each student to provide an unmatched combined treatment approach, all within the context of our relationship-focused therapeutic approach.     

Through this relationship-based work in family therapy, we are able to restore families to healthy, trusting relationships. Solstice’s family focus helps our teens heal more quickly, and this healing extends to all family members. Families have weekly distance therapy sessions as well as quarterly on-campus family seminars.

Finding the Right RTC for Your Teen

Girls and assigned females at birth can benefit in any number of ways from a residential treatment center like Solstice. When looking for an RTC that is a good fit for your child there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Removal from a Toxic Environment. Negative peers, easy availability of drugs or alcohol, stress at home or school, bullying, and other forms of mental and physical abuse negatively impact teens’ healthy development. RTCs provide a safe, supportive environment where your teen is distanced from stressors and negative influences. This gives them the chance to focus on the underlying issues they’ve been struggling with, which go beyond the behavioral problems they may have been experiencing. The structure of a new routine helps teens find stability and discover their personal motivation to make changes in their lives.
  2. Providing Valuable Resources. Caring, expert staff have experience dealing with the unique needs of troubled teens. Through individual, group, and family therapy, staff provide education about coping skills, thinking patterns, and changing personal habits for both teens and their families. Long term success depends on strengthening your child’s support system at home, not just in the program.
  3. Connecting with Peers. Teens identify with other teens. RTCs provide a supportive community where your teen connects with others going through similar experiences. These connections create a unique support network with a focus on recovery. At Solstice, we believe that relationships are at the core of everything we do. The positive influence of peers can promote a powerful and sustainable change when combined with the intentional application of other therapeutic interventions.
  4. Teaching Transferable Skills. If your child cannot take the skills they’ve learned in the program back home, what use are they? A residential treatment center should strive to help your child build life-long coping skills that will continue to help them when they exit the program. Quality residential treatment centers for teens provide varied opportunities, such as adventure therapy, to learn and shift perspectives. When these experiences are integrated with individual therapy, your teen develops positive qualities like self-confidence, emotional resilience, and effective communication skills.
  5. Continuing Academic Progress. Many parents fear that their daughter’s education will be put on hold if they decide to enroll their in a treatment program. Teachers at Solstice work closely with the entire treatment team (parents, educational consultants, therapists, future school) in order to complete an individualized academic plan that will make certain a transition plan to the next school or post-secondary institution. With an accredited year-round academic program, girls and assigned female at birth are able to earn, catch up on, or get ahead of high school credits. The core classes offered are aligned with the state curriculum.

With many choices for treatment for your child, it is important to research your options to help you find a program with a mission statement and treatment plan that best suits your teen and your family. As a leading residential treatment center for teens, Solstice is known for our compassionate and relationship-based therapeutic approach. We believe that teens heal best in the context of healthy relationships, so we have created a safe and nurturing space for our students to do so.

The Benefits of Residential Treatment for Teen Girls

A residential treatment center for teens can help struggling teens by providing an increased level of support from what is available in the home environment. This typically includes individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy throughout the week. RTCs for teens also have some sort of academic programming available. The types of therapies and academic options vary from one RTC to another, depending on the individual needs of the students served.

RTCs are considered “residential” as students live on-site while they are receiving therapeutic support.  At Solstice, the close-knit environment created by the milieu on campus encourages life-long friendships and positive growth. Milieu therapy is an experiential therapeutic approach that utilizes the residential environment of our program to better understand how to help your child approach and overcome their challenges. At Solstice, milieu therapy is carried out by observing your child’s behaviors and emotions throughout the day, within a variety of different settings. Milieu therapy provides an invaluable “in the moment” understanding of your child’s challenges, unique from traditional talk therapy. The length of time that a teen is at a residential treatment center varies greatly and depends on their individual goals as well as the RTC they are enrolled in. 

Guided by our relationship-based approach, the therapists understand the clinical value of spending time with the students beyond the walls of the therapist’s office. The ability to build rapport outside of the office setting is critical to the development of a therapeutic alliance, which is necessary in the healing process. Therapists often participate in outings, camping trips, recreation activities, and mealtime with students. Participation in these and other activities outside of the therapy office results in deeper, more trusting relationships, thereby facilitating a more effective therapeutic impact.

Solstice RTC Can Help

Solstice West is a residential treatment center for young girls and assigned females at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This comprehensive program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy to allow girls and assigned females at birth to explore themselves in a variety of ways. Solstice is dedicated to teaching teens how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. 

Our goal is to equip them with the tools needed to lead happy, successful lives. We provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for teenage students and help them recognize that they are on the cusp of something wonderful: the chance to heal from their past and become the best version of themselves. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions.

For more information about how your child might benefit from a residential treatment center, call 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!

social anxiety in teens

Shyness or Social Anxiety in Teens? Symptoms and Triggers

Shyness or Social Anxiety in Teens? Symptoms and Triggers 1790 2560 Solstice RTC

Adolescence is filled with new experiences and challenges. Teen girls are going through physical and emotional changes and puberty starts and social dynamics begin to shift. With all these changes, it is easy to see how young women may feel uncomfortable or shy in these new situations. Friend groups may start to expand or contract, and your daughter will have to begin to learn how to create new friendships and relationships. This can be challenging for any teen girl, but for girls struggling with social anxiety, this can be even more difficult. 

Struggling to fit in with people your own age as a teen girl or child assigned female at birth is terrible. Most teen girls and assigned female at birth base their entire lives around their social life. They make it a higher priority than spending time with their family and/or even doing well academically. For some teen girls, this social life is not an option. Social anxiety in teens can be absolutely crippling in many aspects of a teen’s life. Unlike the self-consciousness most people feel from time to time, social anxiety in teens creates a fear of social situations that is so intense people avoid all situations that might trigger the fear response.

What is social anxiety? 

Feelings of shyness or discomfort in certain situations aren’t necessarily signs of social anxiety disorder, particularly in children. Their comfort levels in social situations will vary, depending on their personality traits and life experiences. Some teens are naturally reserved and others are more outgoing.

In contrast to everyday nervousness, social anxiety disorder includes fear, anxiety and avoidance that interfere with daily routine, work, school or other activities. Social anxiety disorder typically begins in the early to mid-teens, though it can sometimes start in younger children or in adults.

Many people experience some form of anxiety in their lives, but social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. Teens with this disorder have trouble talking to peers, meeting new people, and attending social gatherings. They fear being judged or scrutinized by others. They may understand that their fears are irrational or unreasonable, but feel powerless to overcome them.

There is no one cause of social anxiety, but current research shows that it can be caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetics. Some negative experiences that could contribute to social anxiety are bullying, family conflict, and abuse. Physical abnormalities such as a serotonin imbalance may contribute to this condition. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood. An overactive amygdala (the part of the brain that controls fear response and feelings or thoughts of anxiety) may also cause these disorders.

Anxiety disorders can run in families, but it is currently unclear if there are genetic factors involved. A teen may develop an anxiety disorder by learning the behavior of a parent or family member who has an anxiety disorder. They learn to internalize these behaviors which can trigger a disorder of their own. Teens can also develop anxiety disorders as a result of being raised in controlling or overprotective environments.

Social anxiety in teens is actually fairly common. However, the social situations that trigger social anxiety can be very different. Some of these triggers include:

  • being the center of attention
  • meeting new people
  • making small talk
  • being criticized or teased
  • speaking with authority figures
  • public speaking
  • navigating new spaces

How can you tell if your teen has social anxiety?

Just because your teen occasionally gets nervous when she’s in social situations doesn’t mean they necessarily have social anxiety. Many people are shy or self-conscious—at least from time to time—but it doesn’t get in the way of their everyday functioning. Social anxiety in teens, on the other hand, does get in the way of a teen’s normal routine and can cause tremendous distress. That’s why it’s important to note symptoms of social anxiety in teens:

  • Fear that others will notice nervousness
  • Fear of humiliation and being watched by others
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Reddened face
  • Blushing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling that your mind has gone blank
  • Muscle tension

Teens with social anxiety may avoid situations that they used to enjoy such as social gatherings or school events. They may begin to withdraw and isolate as a way to deal with their anxiety. And while avoiding situations that cause anxiety may help them feel better in the moment, their anxiety is likely to continue if they do not receive treatment. 

If you notice that your teen is exhibiting signs or symptoms of a social anxiety disorder, it may be time to seek out professional help for a diagnosis. According to the ADAA, about 36 percent of people with social anxiety don’t speak to a healthcare provider until they have had symptoms for at least 10 years. The symptoms of social anxiety may themselves be a deterrent to reaching out for help. A mental health professional will diagnose social phobia from a description of your teen’s symptoms. They can also diagnose social phobia after examining certain behavioral patterns.

Treating Social Anxiety

There are several types of treatment available for social anxiety disorder, and different types of treatment make work for different people. For some, one type of treatment is beneficial, for others, a combination of treatments may be helpful. 

Treatment options for social anxiety disorder include: 

Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy helps teens learn how to control anxiety through relaxation and breathing, and how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. CBT helps teens recognize their behavior patterns and how to address negative patterns to create positive one. 

Exposure therapy: This type of therapy helps teens gradually face social situations, rather than avoiding them. They can practice coping skills in challenging environments so that they can start to become more comfortable in these situations. 

Group therapy: This therapy helps teens learn social skills and techniques to interact with peers in social settings. Participating in group therapy with others who have the same fears may make them feel less alone. It will give them a chance to practice their new skills through role-playing.

There are also lifestyle changes you and your teen can take into consideration. Paying attention to their sleep habits and making sure they are getting enough rest can be a good first step, as well as avoiding stimulants like caffeine that can make them feel jittery or exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Some teens may also benefit from medications that manage anxiety symptoms. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can play a part in a treatment plan. 

The most important thing to understand when dealing with an anxiety disorder is that it will likely take time for your teen to get their symptoms under control. Encourage your teen to have patience and take pride in the steps they are taking to improve their mental health. 

Residential Treatment for Social Anxiety 

For some teens, making changes at home and participating in outpatient therapy can be helpful. Other teens may benefit from the structure and support of a residential treatment center. A residential treatment center like Solstice West combines therapy practices such as individual, family, adventure, and group therapy for a holistic treatment approach. 

Milieu therapy is an experiential therapeutic approach that utilizes the residential environment of our program to better understand how to help your child approach and overcome their challenges. At Solstice West, milieu therapy is carried out by observing your child’s behaviors and emotions throughout the day, within a variety of different settings. Milieu therapy provides an invaluable “in the moment” understanding of your child’s challenges, unique from traditional talk therapy. Milieu experiential therapy utilizes the social culture of a residential treatment environment to create positive changes in your child’s behavior. These changes are achieved through the therapeutic use of our campus’s “community”, which includes their peers, staff, community roles and responsibilities, groups, and meetings. The positive influence of peers can promote a powerful and sustainable change when combined with the intentional application of other therapeutic interventions.

Volunteering and community service is a significant component of our adventure therapy program. Our students participate in community service regularly, volunteering at a variety of local and regional organizations. Our students learn how to build and maintain a sense of community by repeatedly volunteering with a select group of organizations in our area. As they gain stronger relationships with the people and organizations we work with, they begin to feel more connected to the community and the work they do.

Solstice West Can Help

Solstice West, a residential treatment center for teen girls and assigned females at birth ages 14-18, can help your child struggling with social anxiety. Solstice helps girls and assigned female at birth struggling with emotional and behavioral difficulties such as depression, anxiety, and eating issues. 

Our relationship-based philosophy is based on the significant body of research that supports the idea that the “therapeutic alliance” is the factor that contributes most to positive change in the therapeutic process. This “alliance” is referring to healthy, trusting relationships. At Solstice, we ensure that your child has the ability to develop many safe, secure, and authentic relationships. This begins with employing the right people and training them effectively in the process of building and maintaining these relationships with our clients and families. For more information about Solstice, please call (801) 406-7256.

suicidal ideation in teens

Suicidal Ideation in Teens: Knowing the Signs

Suicidal Ideation in Teens: Knowing the Signs 2560 1707 Solstice RTC

The adolescent years can be especially challenging for teens. Their bodies are changing at a rapid rate and they have to deal with new emotional behaviors as their brains continue to develop. In addition to the physical and mental changes, they are also experiencing changes in peer dynamics. Friendships may become more complicated as peer pressure increases, and they may be dealing with their first experiences with romantic relationships as well. It is not surprising that all of those big changes and emotions can trigger mental health struggles for teens. During this time in their lives, some teen girls and assigned females at birth begin to show signs of depression or even suicidal ideation. 

What is Suicidal Ideation?

Suicidal ideation, also known as suicidal thoughts, exists in two forms – active and passive. Active suicidal ideation means that the person is actively planning their death. In passive suicidal ideation, the person has thoughts of death but no plan to kill themselves. Most people experiencing this struggle don’t follow through with committing suicide. However, it’s considered a risk factor for suicide and must be taken very seriously.

Many teens who experience suicidal ideation also have mental health conditions. As a result, they have trouble coping with the stress of being a teen, such as dealing with rejection, failure, breakups, and family turmoil. They may not be able to conceptualize that there are ways that they can solve their problems or get back on track. That feeling of hopelessness can lead to suicidal ideation. Suicidal thoughts can take an emotional toll. For instance, teens may be so consumed by suicidal thoughts that they can’t function in their daily life. 

Risk Factors and Causes

Suicidal ideation, according to researchers, is caused by a combination of risk factors that come together to influence suicidal thoughts. These risk factors and causes can include:

  • Environmental factors: Being caught in a stressful situation such as expulsion, a parental divorce or moving to another place can trigger suicidal ideation in teens who already struggle with their mental health. 
  • Genetic factors: Psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia, are passed down to teens through the genes of family members. These disorders are known to cause suicidal ideation in those suffering from them. Substance abuse is also genetically linked, which also causes suicidal ideation.
  • Trauma: Left untreated, a history of physical or sexual abuse or exposure to violence can lead to suicidal ideation. These teens may be dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, or emotional and physical triggers. 
  • Physical factors: Lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin have been found in people with suicidal ideation. Additionally, people with terminal diseases may experience suicidal ideation.
  • Exposure to suicidal behavior of loved ones: Seeing the suicidal behavior in a familiar setting may influence some people to experience suicidal ideation themselves.
  • A lack of healthy coping skills: People with poor coping skills might turn to suicidal ideation as a way out of whatever struggle they are dealing with.

This article published by The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health further explains these risk factors and possible causes. 

Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation

Watching out for symptoms of suicidal ideation in your teen is important in preventing them from taking further steps towards suicide. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, depressive symptoms that relate to suicidal ideation can include:

  • Talking about death excessively. This could also include consuming media such as books, tv shows, or movies that center around death or suicide. 
  • The desire for isolation. Withdrawing from friends and family is a way to hide their struggles from the people around them. They may feel that they are not worth anyone else’s attention, or that they don’t deserve help. 
  • Sense of calm or happiness after a period of depression. Highs and lows can mask symptoms of depression. That sense of calm may come from the fact that they are thinking about suicide as an option to “solve” their problems. 
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits. Sleeping or eating habits can be excessive or it can be a deprivation of one or both. 
  • Feelings of helplessness and desperation. They may feel that there is no solution to their problems. If you try to problem-solve with your teen and they are despondent or hopeless, it could be a sign of suicidal ideation. 
  • Depressed mood. Depression is often related to suicidal ideation. 
  • Negative self-evaluation. A lack of self-esteem can lead teens to believe that they are not important or worthy of help. 
  • Anhedonia. Without the ability to feel pleasure, it is difficult for teens to find joy in their life. 
  • Poor concentration. If your teen is excessively distracted it may be a sign that there is something deeper happening. Intrusive, suicidal thoughts could be distracting them during everyday events. 
  • Indecisiveness. The inability to make seemingly simple decisions may be caused by a lack of self-esteem. They may not believe that they can make the “right” choice because they’re always wrong. 
  • Lack of reactivity of mood. Experiencing a full range of emotions is normal and healthy. If your daughter is not reacting to anything either negatively or positively, it is a warning sign. 
  • Psychomotor disturbance. Slowed movements, facial immobility, mental slowing, or a delay in motor activity. 
  • Alcohol and drug abuse. Teens experiencing suicidal ideation are often also feeling overwhelmed by their emotions. They may lack the coping skills to deal with these emotions, so they instead turn to alcohol or drug abuse. They may be trying to “self-medicate” by numbing themselves with substance abuse.

Teen girls struggling with suicidal ideation may feel overwhelmed and completely alone. They may feel completely unable to reach out for help, or they may even make “jokes” about how the world would be better without them. It is important to take the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation seriously. Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

Helping Teens with Suicidal Ideation

Dealing with suicidal ideation can be scary, but there are ways that you can support your daughter during this difficult time. Encourage your teen to express her emotions and help her build her emotional vocabulary. She may express that she’s feeling sad, but having terms, even scary ones, like “depressed” or “suicidal” can help her clearly and directly communicate her struggles. When your daughter is going through a depressive episode or having those suicidal thoughts, she may begin to withdraw from family and friends. That isolation can make those feelings even worse. Encourage your daughter to stay connected to the people who make her feel loved and supported. 

In cases of suicidal ideation, it is crucial for you and your daughter to seek out help. Her doctor may suggest working with a mental health professional. A therapist may recommend psychotherapy, medications and lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of suicide. Once you have met with a therapist and created a treatment plan, make sure you follow the plan. If your daughter is undergoing treatment for suicidal ideation, remind her that it might take time to feel better. Help your daughter follow her doctor’s recommendations. You can also encourage your teen to participate in activities that will help her rebuild confidence and reconnect. 

Solstice RTC Can Help

If your teen is experiencing suicidal ideation, sending them to a residential treatment center may be the best option. Our therapists have a caseload of six students, which enables them to provide a greater deal of personal contact and involvement in the teens’ everyday lives. Guided by our relationship-based approach, the therapists understand the clinical value of spending time with the students beyond the walls of the therapist office. The ability to build rapport outside of the office setting is critical to the development of a therapeutic alliance, which is necessary in the healing process.

Solstice RTC  is a residential treatment center that provides a therapeutic holistic approach for teen girls and assigned female at birth ages 14 to 18. Instead of treating specific problem areas such as suicidal ideation, Solstice treats the entire individual. With a road map influenced by the archetypal Hero’s Journey, each student walks a unique and very personal path towards discovering the hero within. Students and families progress through the stages of this journey at their own pace. Although the journey is their own, they do not travel it alone. This journey is about people, discovery, growth and mastery. “Of course there is gold at the end of the rainbow, everyone knows that,” the poet wrote, “but the secret of secrets is in the cave.” It’s in the cave, the dark abyss, that we must go to face our “dragons” of fear, insecurity and self-doubt. In the slaying of those dragons, unrealized power is discovered and heroes are born. Solstice students may not realize they are heroes when they enter Solstice, but the heroes emerge during their journey, and the child you once knew returns home stronger than ever before.

For more information on how Solstice RTC can help combat suicidal ideation and other mental health issues, please call us today at (801) 406-7450.

peer pressure

How To Deal With Peer Pressure: Ways to Help Your Teen

How To Deal With Peer Pressure: Ways to Help Your Teen 2560 1437 Solstice RTC

As our children hit their adolescent years, most parents begin to see a shift. Teens begin to gain more independence and they start to place more and more value on peer relationships. Because their friendships are so important to teens, peer pressure can become a very big issue during this time. Teens can become influenced by their peer circles positively, but there can also be a negative side as well.

Teen peer pressure can be dangerous

The pressure teens face from their peers can lead them into unhealthy behaviors, such as substance abuse and speeding. This is mainly because teen brains take more pleasure in social acceptance than adult brains. Because of this, teens are more likely to succumb to the pressure put on them by their peers.

According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, teens might feel the effects of peer pressure more intensely from their close friends, as opposed to a group of their peers, because they care about them and value their opinions. Pressures from a best friend can feel more forceful and intimate than that from a larger group.  For example, if a teenage girl’s best friend started drinking because they have joined a new social group, they might have a hard time saying no if their friend pressures their to have a drink. They might not want to lose their best friend to this new group of friends. If they have this fear, it is likely they will drink.

It is important for parents to get to know their teen’s friends, and understand what motivates your teen’s relationships. If you find that your child is spending a lot of time with a friend who is making poor choices, you have already established a dynamic where you can talk with your teen about what is going on. You can ask their if they have any concerns about their friends and give their the opportunity to problem solve with your support. 

The positive side of teen peer pressure

Peer pressure also has a positive connotation, as teen girls and assigned female at birth might be influenced by their peers to do positive activities, such as joining a new club or helping out in the community. These new activities that can assist in building strong pathways in the brain.

As described in the article, “Teens and Decision Making: What Brain Science Reveals,” neural connections that are weak or not used very often are removed during the teen years through a process called synaptic pruning, which allows the brain to redirect valuable resources toward more active parts of the brain. Because of this, teens can, through new choices and behaviors, shape their own brain development. Through peer pressure, teens are often encouraged to engage in skill-building activities, such as sports or debate, that can not only provide challenges that stimulate the brain, but can also build stronger pathways within the brain, leading to greater academic success for the future.

Solstice RTC can help

The effects of peer pressure, although sometimes positive, can be damaging to your teen’s self esteem and daily habits. If your teen has fallen into negative activities due to peer pressure, such as substance abuse, Solstice can help. With our specialized, clinically intensive residential treatment program, we can provide your teen girl or child assigned female at birth with the help they needs to overcome peer pressure and begin their path toward healing.

For more information, please call us at (866) 278-3345.

social anxiety in teens

A silent fear: Recognizing social anxiety in teens

A silent fear: Recognizing social anxiety in teens 2560 1709 Solstice RTC

Have you noticed that your teen avoids social situations? Maybe they skip school dances or avoid any group activities after school? We tend to label those teens as “just shy”, but the reality is, there might be a bigger issue happening. If your teen feels an overwhelming amount of stress around social interactions, they may be struggling with social anxiety.

Signs of social anxiety in teens

Social anxiety is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. It can affect teens at home, school, and their other day-to-day activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. Teens with social anxiety may worry about something like a class presentation for weeks in advance. They may even avoid places or events where they believe they might do something that will embarrass them. 

Signs and symptoms of social anxiety in teens to be aware of:

  • Difficulty speaking, shaky voice
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Fear and avoidance of social situations
  • Extreme fear of being thought foolish by others, even with an understanding that the fear is unreasonable
  • Dread of social events that begins days or weeks in advance
  • Severe test anxiety
  • Irritability or anger before a social event
  • Hyper-sensitivity to criticism
  • Poor school performance

How To Help Your Teen With Social Anxiety

Not only do teens dealing with social anxiety suffer from the symptoms associated with the disorder, they also must overcome the consequences of their anxiety. Teens with social anxiety don’t participate in class, they are afraid to ask their teacher questions, and have trouble working on group assignments. Because of this, they struggle in school. If social anxiety is left untreated, it leaves teens at risk to develop other mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation. It’s important to get your teen with social anxiety help as soon as you recognize what they are dealing with.

If your teen is struggling with social anxiety, you need to get them help as soon as possible. There are several ways you can help your teen work through their social anxiety. These include:

  • Teaching them breathing control: Breathing exercises are a proven way to reduce stress and help an individual calm down in situations that cause anxiety.
  • Change lifestyle habits: Cutting out caffeine and sugar can help your teen reduce anxiety. Also, make sure they are getting enough sleep at night. This may not be enough to help overcome social anxiety, but it helps with the overall healing process.
  • Help them face their fears: By introducing them gradually to social situations, your teen will begin feeling more comfortable around people. Start by having them accompany a friend to a small gathering and work up from there.

Further treatment at Solstice RTC

If your teen is struggling with social anxiety, consider getting help from Solstice. Solstice is a residential treatment center for teens ages 14-18 struggling with emotional and behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

For more information about how Solstice can help your daughter, call (866) 278-3345.

teenage mood swings

Teenage Mood Swings Can Be a Warning of Greater Issues

Teenage Mood Swings Can Be a Warning of Greater Issues 1710 2560 Solstice RTC

Teenagers are known for going from talking a mile a minute to slamming their bedroom doors and taking vows of silence the next. It can be just as confusing for your child as it feels to be on the receiving end of their sudden changes in mood and attitudes. Some degree of mood swings in teenagers in normal, as they experience a sudden influx of hormones and are struggling to navigate the bridge between childhood and the adult world, but teenage mood swings can be a warning sign for bigger issues. 

Why Are Teens so Moody?

There are multiple reasons teens are prone to moodiness and none of them occur in isolation. 

  • Puberty involves a lot of biological changes, both physically and neurologically. Being unfamiliar with these intense bursts of hormones can feel overwhelming. Hormone imbalances can lead to
  • Lack of emotional awareness. A common theme in teens is being able to admit their emotions are all over the place, but not really being able to explain what they’re feeling or where it’s coming from. Teen’s emotional brains develop at a more rapid pace than parts of their brain responsible for decision making. 
  • Changing social norms. Middle school is hard. High school is hard. Teens place a higher value on peer acceptance and feel pressure to conform to certain standards. In childhood, relationships aren’t based around social rules, at least not on a conscious level. However, as teens get older, they are more likely to struggle with trying to fit in, which can be an impossible task when trying to fit a certain mold.
  • Higher levels of stress. Adolescence is a period of a series of major life changes, often all at once. It is not surprising that teens are just as stressed out as adults, if not more. According to a recent survey, over a third of teens report that their stress levels have a significant impact on feelings of depression and exhaustion. 
  • Sleep deprivation. Teens need more sleep than any other age group and between school, extracurriculars, and socializing, they also get less sleep than other age groups. While they may not be pulling all-nighters all the time, over time, getting less sleep than their bodies need can lead to exhaustion and moodiness.

When to Reach out for Support

While most teens go through “phases” where their mood changes frequently, variability between extreme emotions usually decreases over time. Adults still experience the full range of emotions, but not quite as rapidly and they report having a greater sense of control over their emotions. For some people, this emotional roller coaster isn’t limited to adolescence. It is difficult to diagnose mood disorders, like bipolar, in adolescence because there are so many different factors that affect their mood swings. The biggest indicator that their mood swings may be a warning sign for something greater depends on how it impacts their daily functioning. 

Finding appropriate help depends on possible reasons for mood swings. In addition to bipolar disorder, they are also common in teens struggling with depression, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress.

Mood swings are associated with:

  • Difficulty managing intense emotions, like anger or hopelessness
  • Increased impulsivity and risky behaviors
  • More interpersonal conflict
  • Longer-lasting periods of intense emotions, such as days or weeks
  • Unstable sense of self

Solstice Can Help

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment program for young girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with mental health issues, such as mood swings, anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. We are dedicated to teaching teens how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

For more information about mood swings in teens, call 866-278-3345. 

 

risky teen behavior

Risky Teen Behaviors: Differences Between Positive and Negative Risks

Risky Teen Behaviors: Differences Between Positive and Negative Risks 640 426 Solstice RTC

The teenage years are the years in which one develops the desire to fit in. This desire may come with a high cost. During the adolescent years, opportunity and risk seem all the more appealing. A maturational imbalance may prevent teens from good decision-making during this period in their lives as well. While learning from our silly mistakes is an important part of growing up, teens still need guidance on how to better navigate themselves away from risky teen behaviors and towards a rewarding future. First, one must learn the difference between positive and negative risks. Here are some defining characteristics:

Positive risks: benefits an individual’s well-being, legal, socially acceptable, does not present severe negative consequences

Negative risks: harmful towards an individual’s well-being, illegal, socially unacceptable, may have severe consequences

The Risks Our Teens Should Take

As puberty hits so does a new wave of potential risks. As a parent, it is important to acknowledge these risks and learn to address them head on with your child. It is your job to put an emphasis on the good as a way to prevent the bad. First, you should know your child and their risky behaviors. Here are some signs that indicate that your child is a positive risk taker:

  • Internalizes family values
  • Has strong bonds to society
  • Possesses important socially-desirable long-term goals (academic or other)
  • Feels they have more to lose by taking negative risks
  • Is influenced by peers who take positive risks

The Four Friendly Risk Types

As a parent you should constantly suggest new ways to take positive risks for your teen. This starts with a conversation and then you can help them put it into action. Physical, social, academic, and extracurricular risks are a couple of categories you should consider talking with your teen able. What they are drawn to will vary based off of their personal interests. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Physical Risks:

  • Try a new sport
  • Pursue a new fitness goal

Social Risks:

  • Spend time with a new group of people
  • Arrive at a party without knowing anyone
  • Attend a summer camp without friends
  • Attend a rally and hold up a sign 
  • Stand up for something you believe in at school even if it is unpopular
  • Pursue a new friendship with the risk of rejection

Academic Risks:

  • Sign up for a challenging AP course
  • Take a class you know nothing about
  • Join a club that interests you
  • Run for a school office position

Extracurricular Risks:

  • Adopt a new hobby
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Start your own babysitting business or dog walking
  • Set goals to read more in your free time

Solstice West Residential Treatment Center Can Help

Solstice West Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. Solstice gives teens the skills and help they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (866) 278-3345

 

trauma treatment

Trauma Treatment: Understanding the Effects and Options Available

Trauma Treatment: Understanding the Effects and Options Available 1280 895 Solstice RTC

Generally, when someone thinks of trauma treatment, an image of an injured soldier comes to mind–this leaves out a massive set of people, though. Adolescents can most definitely experience the damaging effects of trauma after an adverse event, whether it be from a natural accident, abuse, or something else.

The different types of trauma treatment

There are various kinds of trauma treatment available. Many of them have been proven to be incredibly effective and efficient when it comes to helping adolescents struggling with trauma.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy can be extremely effective for treating trauma in teens. CBT focuses on taking bleak, damaging thoughts and replacing them with helpful, constructive ones. Especially if a child is having issues with memories of their trauma, CBT can be a great first route.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR takes a slightly different approach to trauma treatment. By combining cognitive therapy and directed eye movements, EMDR has been found to be effective in treating the adverse effects of trauma. Though it’s been found to be effective, certain aspects of it are still being argued on whether they’re necessary or not, but the strategy is still widely used and helpful in the trauma treatment process.

Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine therapy involves working with horses in order to help adolescents open up and form connections again. Animals have a way of not only relieving stress, but building a relationships that offers support and love in a simple, relaxing way.

Therapy & Medication

This isn’t always necessary, but it all depends on what specific issues an individual faces. If the trauma they’re experiencing has morphed into a dual diagnosis with anxiety or depression, medication could be used in combination with therapy in order to get the desired outcome.

Residential treatment

Residential treatment is an intensive, full-bodied therapeutic experience that cannot be found elsewhere. It takes a teen and places them in a fully immersive environment in which they receive 24/7 support and care. This often allows an individual to take a breather and truly begin to move forward in their healing process.

As you can see above, there are many options available for trauma help; those are just the common ones. There are opportunities and programs which can help your family get back on their feet, you just have to seek them out.

Solstice RTC is here for your daughter

Solstice RTC is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls and assigned female at birth often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage people with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about trauma treatment at Solstice RTC, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

 

Snapchat Addiction: The Darkside of a Popular Worldwide App

Snapchat Addiction: The Darkside of a Popular Worldwide App 1280 853 Solstice RTC

Snapchat is on almost every teenager’s smartphone. It’s one of the most used apps in the world, competing with other major companies like Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook. A downside has begun to become apparent, though, as this app continues to increase in popularity: Snapchat addiction.

If your teen is constantly hooked to their phone and other forms of technology due to underlying emotional or behavioral challenges, it may be time to consider treatment options. Click here to learn more about technology addiction and how Solstice works with teens struggling with technology issues.

Why a Snapchat addiction should be taken seriously

A Snapchat addiction creates the same reaction in your teen’s brain as other forms of addiction. 

Take gambling addictions for example; people become addicted to the feeling, the rush, of winning money. With technology, it’s similar. For video game addictions, it’s usually being used as a sort of escape from reality. For a Snapchat addiction, it’s more about views and “snap streaks.”

snapchat addictionSnap streaks are the way to measure “success” on Snapchat. On Instagram it’s about likes, on Snapchat it’s about the streak. A snap streak is when you’ve been sending snaps directly to a person for a prolonged amount of time. To get the streak, you have to do it each day. If you miss a day, you lose the streak.

For some teens, snap streaks can turn into a measure of how much you care about someone or how much they care for you. It can get so obsessive that the streaks continue for over a year–and if you lose one, it can be devastating, it can even ruin a friendship. So, it’s easy to see how this obsession can grow into something problematic.

It can begin as something harmless, but if behavior increasingly becomes erratic and obsessive based around Snapchat, there may be a real issue. When a teen begins to place their self-worth on the number of likes, followers, or snaps they receive, it can be a sign that your teen may need therapeutic assistance.

Snapchat ranked among the worst social media for mental health

In a study conducted by Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM), researchers found that Instagram and Snapchat are the worst for mental health in teens.

The data came from 1,500 youth, ages 14-24, in order to understand social media’s impact on the age group that uses it the most.

The researchers believe this is because the two platforms are largely based on image rather than anything else. It all focuses on followers and shallow status factors. Having your self esteem based on something so volatile and superficial can lead to serious mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, extreme feelings of loneliness, and more.

Solstice is a teen depression treatment center

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls and assigned female at birth often grapple with depression, Snapchat addiction, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage people with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help with Snapchat addiction at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.