10 Signs Your Teenager Is Stressed on the Verge of Burning Out

Helping Your Adolescent Teen Deal With Signs of Stress

sad teenage girl in chair
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Is your teenager burning out? Believe it or not, it is quite possible. High school, sports, extra curricular activities, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, social media and family all demand time and attentiveness from your teen. So much so, that he could be experiencing signs of stress or worse— burnout.

How Teens Are Affected by Stress

In a 2013 survey of adults and teens conducted online on behalf of the American Psychological Association by Harris Interactive Inc., Teen reported stress levels during the school year far exceeding what they believed to be healthy (5.8 vs.

3.9 on a 10-point scale). The average reported stress levels of adults was 5.1 on a 10-point scale, demonstrating that teen's feelings of stress rivals that of adults.

In the survey, results indicated that:

  • 31% of teens reported feeling overwhelmed
  • 30% of teens reported feeling depressed or sad as a result of stress
  • 36% of teens reported feeling tired
  • 23% of teens reported skipping a meal due to stress

​How Stress Leads to Burnout

Burnoutis a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, depression, detachment, cynicism and lack of accomplishment including feelings of ineffectiveness.

Though most adolescents go through situations that cause stress and tension, chronic stress and piled up stressors can result in depression, aggressive behavior or suicidal tendencies. Some teens may take to fighting, drinking and smoking or other risky behavior in an effort to cope and deal with their feelings of stress.

10 Signs Your Teen Is at Risk of Burning Out

Here are 10 signs of burnout that you should be on the lookout for:

  1. Depression. He doesn't want to do anything, he has lost interest in things he likes to do, and he has decrease attention or effectiveness when doing things.
  2. Anxiety. Your teenager is feeling some anxiety for no known reason or acting overly anxious. The inability to relax, or not sleeping well (having nightmares, restless, etc) are all signs of anxiety.
  1. Insomnia. Your teenager is suffering from insomnia if he is unable to get to sleep at night or he wakes up and is unable to go back to sleep.
  2. Eating Habits. Your teenager is either overeating or under eating—both are a response to being stressed.
  3. Emotional Behavior. Your teenager is giving in to impulse behavior, more than normal, and is showing signs of emotional instability (extreme anger, fear or sadness), more than normal.
  4. Physical Pain. Your teenager is experiencing neck or back pain.
  5. Missing Periods. Many health conditions can cause your teenage daughter to miss her menstrual cycle, stress may be one reason.
  6. Health Issues. Your teenager is complaining of stomachache, dizziness, dryness of throat and mouth.
  7. Nervous Behavior. Your teenager is acting hyper, has emotional tension or alertness not usual to their personality (including high-pitched voice or nervous laughter).
  8. Risky Behavior. Increased risk-taking behavior can be a sign of burnout. For example: smoking, drinking alcohol, experimenting with sex or drugs sometimes point to underlying problems such as burnout.

    How You Can Help

    Parents can start to help by being understanding to the problems faced by their teens. With proper guidance and time, your teen can learn to overcome stress and related issues, this is why it is important to seek the help of a trained professional like a guidance counselor or psychologist. 

    Better support and health education (at both school, home and at the community level) will lead to breaking the cycle of stress and unhealthy behaviors for your teen.

    Sources:

    American Psychological Association.Teen stress rivals that of adults. Accessed 23 March 2013.

    Psychology Today. The Tell Tale Signs of Burnout ... Do You Have Them? Accessed 23 March 2013.

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