Teenagers: Depression and anxiety

Adolescence is a time of change and it can be hard to tell the difference between ‘normal teenage behaviour and depression and anxiety. In Australia, 160,000 young people (16-24 years) live with depression and around one in six young people have anxiety according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health and Well Being Survey in 2008.  If your son or daughter shows warning signs of these conditions, getting help early can improve their well being. It can also help to stop the problems happening again when they become adults.

Warning signs of depression and anxiety

Depression doesn’t just cause sadness or feeling blue, and anxiety doesn’t just make people worry. Young people can express depression and anxiety in many different ways. They might:

  • have trouble falling or staying asleep, or spend much of the day in bed
  • be tired, grumpy, irritable, tearful or upset most of the time
  • feel restless, keyed up or on edge
  • lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and have trouble starting and completing assignments or work
  • lose concentration and be forgetful and easily distracted
  • become withdrawn and lose friends
  • become worried and panicky about doing anything out of the ordinary
  • either refuse to eat or eat a lot
  • complain of feeling physically awful, with unexplained aches and pains, and not want to go to school

Teenagers and suicide prevention

We have seen an alarming increase in the number of teenagers coming for Hypnotherapy in 2012 who have had been displaying suicidal tendencies.  Depression left unchecked can be a precursor to suicidal thoughts. Whilst there are many reasons that can drive a teenager to this we generally do not venture into the “WHY”  in Hypnotherapy.  The teenage years are complicated due to the changing hormones in the body, changing social pressures and living in a busy world where parents are often working and not at home as much as they would like to be. We have included an article below that discusses a new type of addiction appearing in teenage girls related to mobile phone and text messaging.   We live in a complex time and the increasing use and reliance of electronic communication such as facebook and mobile phones has meant that many teenagers are not developing a robust sense of self.

The following article was published in the Herald Sun newspaper.

A STUDY into youth communication habits has identified serious physical and mental disorders as a result of teenagers texting excessively every day.

Anxiety, insecurity, depression and low self-esteem have all been identified by researchers as symptoms common among text-addicted teenagers.

Figures released by Boost Mobile show text messaging has increased by 89 per cent in two years, with one teenage customer managing to send an incredible 4000 text messages over nine days.

Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne studying the effects of modern communication, said the mobile had become meshed into teenagers’ lives.

“Texting is quite tribal – it is just what teenagers do with phones,” she said.

Dr Carroll said her study into the effects of modern communication had found four distinct disorders – textaphrenia, textiety, post-traumatic text disorder and binge texting.

Textaphrenia is thinking you’ve heard a message come in or felt the device vibrate when it actually hasn’t.

Textiety is the anxious feeling of not receiving any texts or not being able to send any.

“With textaphrenia and textiety there is the feeling that ‘no one loves me, no one’s contacted me’,” Dr Carroll said.

Post-traumatic text disorder is physical and mental injuries related to texting.

“There are physical issues arising like walking into things while texting,” Dr Carroll said.

“There were reports from Japan of ‘repetitive thumb syndrome’ and of young people’s thumbs growing in response to too much texting, leading to ‘monster thumbs’.”

Binge texting is when teens send multiple texts to feel good about themselves and try to attract responses.

Confessed SMS fanatic Nicole Arnold, 34, of Sydenham, said she sent 40 texts a day and texted even while eating and at the movies.

“I get told that I text too much. I have even been told off at work for it,” said Ms Arnold, who works in hospitality.

“I had to change my bill because I text so much. I now pay an extra $15 a month and get unlimited text messages. Because before my bill would be out of control. One month it was $800.”

RMIT’s Dr Carroll said teens who were aware they were texting too much or that it was affecting their lives could do something about it.

“Be involved in lots of things, have face-to-face contact as well as virtual contact,” she said.

If you are a parent and would like to find out more about how we work please call us to discuss. In most cases we require only one session (although we like to offer a follow up session at no charge). We have had some great success with teenagers.

Case study under the spotlight.

Jenny 16 years old becomes happy again and returns to school after 1 session of Hypnotherapy

Jenny’s father called me to ask about Hypnotherapy for her. He was skeptical but called because nothing else that he had tried had made a difference. Jenny had been a high achieving student at school. She had a close group of friends and liked school. But in recent months she had become with drawn to the point that she no longer wanted to go to school. Naturally her parents were concerned and arranged for her to see a Psychologist which made little difference and her father was concerned that this might be even aggravating the situation.  They then sort help from their GP and a Psychiatrist who was wanting to medicate Jenny for depression. Not wanting to do this her father called me in an attempt to remedy the situation. We had a few conversations by phone where he learned that Hypnotherapy is a non invasive therapy that works on the neural pathways of the brain that lead to habitual feelings and behaviours.  He struggled to believe that in just one session this could be set right and that Jenny would feel better about herself.  He agreed that he had nothing to lose and so he accompanied Jenny to her session, met Steve and waited for Jenny to finish the session.

2 days following her session we got a call from Jenny’s Dad who was astonished at her turn around. She started to get up in the morning earlier, was generally more communicative and said she felt happier and that her anxieties had disappeared. After a week Jenny said when wanted to go back to school. Her father wrote Steve a letter that expressed his deep gratitude, his relief and his thanks at having his beautiful daughter return to him again.

What to do if my teenager is depressed

HTH is fast, non invasive and effective.  In the vast majority of cases a teenager will come for one of two visits. (The second session is FREE).

  • We do not require a lot of talk (Hypnotherapy is NOT like many talking therapies that require the teenager to open up and discuss lots of details and WHY they are feeling like this
  • We recommend that a Parent (or carer) accompany the teenager to the session to meet the Hypnotherapist
  • We will ask the teenager “what’s not working for them” or “how do they feel?”
  • The Parent (carer) will be also asked if they would like to give their perspective
  • Only when the teenager is comfortable will we continue the session
  • Sessions are generally shorter in time than for adults (45 minutes to an hour)
  • Client confidentiality is observed as with all Hypnotherapy sessions

Please call us today to discuss or ask any questions you have. 03 95787565



Harry 15 years old gets rid of his anxiety and fear

Harry arrived for his session and we were told that he had Asperger disorder, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.

He had for some time had a strong fear and anxiety of being alone that was difficult to deal with for his Mum Kerry and seemed to be getting worse.

In just one session Harry was able to get rid of the fear and anxiety and happily begin spending time in his own company as well as falling asleep at night on his own.