Well, this is the new normal, for our foreseeable future. As Americans, we do a GREAT job of adapting to stressful circumstances. That being said, this is a life stressor for ALL of us around the country. Especially our youth. Pediatric and adolescent patients NEED structure. They need a regimented schedule to get them up in the morning, to get them to a learning environment, and to get them in bed at night. That has ALL been disrupted. Sudden changes in daily routines as well as limited connection with peers can certainly have many ramifications and consequences.
One major factor we must remain vigilant in monitoring is our adolescent populations’ mood disruption. Caregivers for an adolescent most certainly have experienced and seen their child display a range of moods in the midst of COVID-19. Remember, during this age range (12-18yo), there are LOTS of physical, emotional and hormonal changes, which make life a challenge at baseline, let alone during a pandemic. During this timeframe, our adolescents may feel extremely worried, sad, anxious, disappointed and depressed, especially if there is a history of major depressive disorder.
Here are 5 tips that may help with mood disorders, as described by Dr. Danielle R Busby, PhD from Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine:
- Validate their disappointments and help find alternative solutions: Listen to what your adolescent is saying and feeling. They may focus on loss of social life or team sports, and it is important to validate these feelings. Be open to their suggestions and be flexible in the circumstances you feel comfortable.
- Help your adolescent get adequate sleep, eat healthy meals and exercise: While their schedule may be disrupted and they stay up much later, remind them they still have academic expectations and responsibilities. It is important to get a proper amount of rest, eating a healthy diet and exercising.
- Be the model: Even though it seems as the teenager tunes out their caregiver, they actually are looking at their adult models to gauge how they should feel and behave. It is important to model calmness and flexibility.
- Ask your adolescent for their help: Try and engage the adolescent without micromanaging, but all the while setting clear expectations.
- Express confidence in your adolescents abilities and praise them appropriately: Express confidence in your adolescents ability to deal with tough challenges. Remind them that you as a caregiver have gone through tough things as well. Reliving these narratives helps the youth build resilience and hope. Praise them when you witness something creative, resilient, safe or if they manage stress.
Please remember, if your teenager/adolescent is having a difficult time coping with mood disorders, major depressive disorder or chronic refractory pain, the physicians at StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine are here to help. Call us and ask about IV Ketamine, IV Vitamin therapy, functional medicine, and overall wellness initiatives.
We are leading experts in adolescent intravenous mood enhancement and pain reduction in the midwest with a team consisting of board-certified adult and pediatric anesthesiologists, pain specialists, pediatricians, neurologists, and functional medicine physicians.
Take care and stay safe.