Teenage anxiety can be crippling. For many teens it can be debilitating and have a long term impact on development. It can impact family life, friendships, education and opportunities, extra curricular activities, and self esteem. Here is where Chinese medicine and acupuncture may be of help in assisting your teen through this transition.
Is Your Teenager struggling with Depression or Anxiety?
Teenage anxiety and depression can be caused by a significant traumatic event or can be a build up of smaller events and stressors. Some level of anxiety is normal in adolescence with most teens feeling anxious at some time. However, when it becomes so overwhelming for the teen that their ability to cope is impacted it can affect overall quality of life and future development.
The teen years are a period of significant change and heavy demands in domains such as:
- Part time jobs
- Extracurricular activities
- Changes to relationships (family and peers)
- Physical changes
Some of the signs and symptoms your teen may be experiencing anxiety or depression:
- Low stress tolerance, becoming upset or irritable at small things
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Changes in appetite or digestive upset
- Issues with body image or healthy eating
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping for extended periods of time
- School refusal or not wanting to participate in things they previously enjoyed
- Withdrawing from social settings, friendships, family or extracurricular activities
In Chinese Medicine, adolescence is seen as a time of extreme Yang.
Yang is warm, it is active and transformative. These quick changes or surges of Yang energy that occur are what assist in the transition from child to an independent adult.
Adolescence is not viewed as an issue or pathology but as something that might just need a little assistance. Sometimes, the young person may have trouble with changes experienced in the transition from child to adulthood. This surge of Yang energy is fast, hot, and can at times be extreme when combined with hormones and stress. These is where your teen may benefit from acupuncture and a little assistance to ensure the smooth flow of energy and qi.
Benefits of Chinese Medicine for Treating Teenagers:
- Chinese medicine can offer treatment without the need for a lot of talking. Using tongue, pulse and palpation rather than putting the teen in the uncomfortable position of having to find language for feelings and emotions they don’t necessarily understand.
- Chinese medicine can be gentle and is a holistic medicine. Whilst it’s preferred to use Acupuncture, there are a number of other methods that can be used, such as Tui Na massage, Gua Sha, Herbal Medicine, Nutritional therapy, and Acupressure. So, if there is hesitancy to try Acupuncture, there are always other options.
- Acupuncture is wonderful at balancing the nervous system improving emotional health as it has a positive impact on our brain chemistry. Acupuncture has been found to improve the production of endorphins, our ‘feel good’ chemicals that create a wonderful relaxation response. Have a read about how acupuncture works for anxiety HERE.
Tips for Helping Your Teen with Anxiety and Depression
- Diet – making sure that your teen has access to healthy food options. Poor nutrition can lead to digestive issues as well as anxiety and depression. Much of our neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are produced in the gut. Low levels of these can be a causal factor leading to anxiety or depression therefore optimising nutrition through diet and supplementation may be beneficial in supporting your teen.
- Exercise – encouraging a good balance between school work, leisure screen time and physical activity is imperative (but sometimes near impossible). Time outside being physical improves immune function, develops healthy strong muscles and bones, assists with maintaining healthy weight and reduces the risk of glucose dysregulation and diabetes.
- Meditation – This doesn’t have to be sitting in silence. There are various options for meditation and other activities that may better suit such as Youtube clips, Apps, or listening to music. Even just getting out in nature for a walk can be a highly relaxing form of meditation. Finding what works best for them to help them relax is key!
At Ballarat Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, our qualified AHPRA registered acupuncturists and herbalists can assist in managing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Dr Michelle Kasbach has significant experience working with young people and adolescents. If you wish to find out more about how we can assist you, and your teen, book an appointment by clicking the button below.