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Are you eighteen years old or younger and struggling with stress? If so, you are not alone. Over 30% of teenagers deal with stress and its effects. A study by the American Psychological Association shows that, on average, teens rate their stress a 5.8 out of 10 while adults rate there’s a 5.1 out of 10.
Several factors play a role in the stress that teenagers deal with in today’s society; this stress can lead teens to suffer from depression, abuse drugs, or even commit Suicide.
How it works
An example of a cause of stress in teens would be, attending school and the time put into doing homework. A study in Baltimore City, “Confronting Teen Stress, Meeting the Challenge in Baltimore City,” says the three most common factors of stress in teens are; school work, parents, and friends (The Center for Adolescent Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health par.2). On top of being at school for seven hours a day, students spend about 4 hours a week on studying and classwork. Although most parents want what’s best for their children, they can end up stressing them out without even realizing it by pushing them too hard with their grades or pressuring them in their ability to play sports. Friends can also take part in the stress they cause on one another. In middle school and high school, drama between teenagers is inevitable and can cause an unnecessary amount of stress on them.
The stress caused by the factors listed above can lead adolescents to obtain eating disorders. Some use eating to ease stress; when one feels overwhelmed or upset, they will eat an excessive amount of food. Many do this because the intake of food gives them the comfort they are seeking. An advisor to the National Eating Disorder Association, Claire Mysko, shared with the Huffington Post her knowledge of stress and eating disorders. Mysko tells Carolyn Gregoire, the senior writer for the Huffington Post, “Having an eating disorder and being so highly fixated on food and weight and how you feel about your body, it can be exhausting” (Carolyn Gregoire par.5). Mysko also says, “It really overtakes everything in your life, so that can certainly raise stress levels. In many, many cases, it does.” When stress causes someone to have an eating disorder, they are more likely to hide it than they are to talk about it, in fear that others might judge them.
Besides eating disorders, stress may account for drug use in teenagers. Adolescents use drugs to relieve stress because the drugs give off the same hormone that exists throughout the brain, and it triggers the hormone as a response to stress. The Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Thailand website says a danger of teens using drugs to cope with stress is becoming addicted, which leads to health and mental problems. An article, “The Insidious Connection Between Substance Abuse and Stress,” says brain changes with the potential to lead to addiction result of stress (Elements Behavioral Health par.3). When teens use drugs to manage stress, it is nothing more than a temporary solution to a problem that could advance is they continue to abuse the substances.
Stress can be responsible for many teenage suicides. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents. An article, “Suicide in Children and Teens,” says Suicide in teenagers may result from feelings of self-doubt, stress, and pressure to succeed (The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry par.4). Suicide is just a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Stress is something teenagers cannot avoid, but they can manage it in a safe and efficient way. It is important to remember that no problem or issue is too big to overcome. Resorting to eating disorders, drug abuse, or Suicide is never the answer.
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