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Coping Skills for Teens

Despite the carefree memories many adults have of their teen years, modern adolescence can be quite stressful. The burden of excelling in the classroom, performing well in sports, passing the SAT or ACT, and still making time for friends and family can create immense pressure, even for high achieving teens. As such, many young adults find themselves anxious, stressed, or even depressed from the demands of daily life.

Unfortunately, most teens are not necessarily well-versed in how to persevere through troublesome situations alone. Coping skills often come more naturally in adulthood, leaving teens feeling anxious, uncomfortable, and isolated. Without anywhere else to turn, drugs and alcohol frequently become a crutch, allowing teens to blow off steam in an easily accessible way.

Drugs and alcohol may feel like effective options in the moment, but unfortunately, using illicit substances to cope with life's challenges is a dark, dangerous road. It doesn't take much to kickstart an addiction, and associating substance use with a way to feel better can be the beginning of a downward spiral.

If your teen is struggling to cope with life and has chosen to self medicate with illegal substances, an education in proper coping skills can be extremely important. Teen Treatment Center can help put your child on the path to success, teaching behavioral and psychological approaches to emotional management that can make a difference throughout the teen years and into adulthood.

Teens and Coping Skills

coping Skills - Deep Breathing

For teens that learn poor coping habits early in life, relearning more suitable alternatives can be very hard. That's why we focus on healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, anger, and more for all of our patients, ensuring your teen has access to the skills necessary to handle life's problems in a well-adjusted way.

When teenagers use drugs and alcohol to address issues, it can be nearly impossible to manage life situations without substances. This means that stressful and painful situations like big tests, problems at work, and fights with friends can all can't be controlled without relying on substance abuse to mask feelings.

With healthier alternatives in place, teens who previously abused substances can tackle life situations without risk of replase, making it easier to interface with others, take care of tasks, and overcome hard situations without struggling to do so.

Coping Skills for Anger

Anger is often a severe emotion in teens, and can come from many different sources. Some teens are angry due to perceived unfairness, bad results on a test, problems at home, fights with friends, or even frustration with the general progress of life. For some teens it may be a sign of a developing disorder. And in some, anger doesn't necessarily have a cause. Teens are just frustrated that no one seems to understand them, whether this is true or not.

Anger manifests differently, but common symptoms include heart palpitations, flushed skin, raised tone, outbursts, sweating, shaking, or trembling.

Coping with anger often requires redirecting feelings and learning to overcome frustrations and rage. While drinking or taking drugs until feelings fade away may seem helpful in the present, this cannot put aside anger for longer than a few hours. Instead, coping techniques can allow affected individuals to redirect anger in a healthy way. Common coping techniques include:

  • Deep, calming breaths for at least ten seconds prior to doing or saying something out of aggression or frustration.
  • Cognitive restructuring; a way to reorder thoughts into a more logical way (ex: "I'm frustrated because I missed a question on a test I needed to ace" versus "I'm angry because the world is out to get me")
  • Using silly humor to deflect angry feelings, like picturing the source of anger as a pile of dirt or a cartoon character
  • Exercise or physical activity that can burn off energy and calm the mind
Learn more about Anger Treatment on our Oppositional Defiant Disorder page. 

Coping Skills for Depression

Depression is unfortunately common in teens, with nearly 20% receiving a diagnosis before reaching adulthood. Most teens and their families do not recognize the signs right away; instead, symptoms like lethargy, apathy, anger, anxiety, and sadness are misinterpreted as normal teenage angst.

coping Skills for teensTeens who are depressed are often confused, upset, and scared. They may not understand why they aren't happy, and they may resent family members and friends for not understanding the depths of their sadness and pain. To numb these feelings, drug and alcohol usage is common, especially in teens who have not been adequately diagnosed or treated.

Coping with depression will vary from patient to patient. For some individuals, medication is necessary, but for others, therapy can be extremely effective. These coping techniques can be used to work through depressive patterns:

  • Eating well and exercising regularly; a healthy lifestyle has been medically linked to improvements in mental health
  • Journaling thoughts to work through the complicated feelings of depression
  • Learning relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing
  • Talking to trusted individuals about the progression of feelings
Learn more about our Depression Treatment Program.

Coping Skills for Anxiety

For most individuals, anxiety is a passing phase that only arises when times are tough, like before a big test or during relationship problems. However, for others, anxiety can be an ever-present state that threatens everything from social situations to performance at school.

Young Girl practicing meditaionFor those who suffer from anxiety disorders, there's no way to get away from crippling insecurity and panic. Drugs and alcohol are easy options for teens who are struggling with anxiety, but these substances only mask the symptoms rather than providing real relief.

Learning to cope is very important for individuals with anxiety, and an inability to do so can make it extremely challenging to interact normally in interpersonal situations, at work, or at school. Some coping techniques include:

  • Taking time out to breathe and relax through yoga or meditation
  • Eating balanced meals and getting a full night sleep
  • Learning to accept problems in life and the inevitability of stressful situations through counseling
  • Scheduling time for pleasurable activities, like reading, writing, watching favorite shows, and taking walks
Learn more about our Anxiety Disorder Treatment.

How Inpatient Rehabilitation Can Help

Inpatient rehab is effectively a way to start over with a clean slate for teens who are used to dealing with problems with drugs and alcohol. As there is no way to access illegal substances, teens are forced to confront their issues head on with assistance from professionals highly trained in coping mechanisms and conflict resolution.

When your teen begins attending therapy with our addiction counselors, he will learn how to identify the root of issues like depression, addiction, anxiety, and more. Therapy, in the form of both individual and group sessions, will go through causes of problems, like stress at home, school, or with friends, and use personal proclivities to find a better way to cope. This can very greatly, from meditation to journaling.

In addition to problems with substance use and handling life events, Teen Treatment Center can also offer assistance with family therapy, enlisting all members of a teen's inner circle to identify issues and seek effective solutions.

Improving Life Through Coping Skills

Coping skills can make a difference for all kinds of patients, helping to target frustrations, sadness, anger, stress, and other negative emotions in a productive way. Managing these kinds of feelings can make it easier to maintain relationships, keep jobs, succeed in school, and triumph in athletic endeavors.

If you would like to learn more about how Teen Treatment Center can help patients learn coping skills to further healthy living, we are happy to assist. Contact us today at (844) 319-5239 to speak to a compassionate member of our intake team.

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the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.