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What causes stress in teens?

The events in life that cause the body to experience stress are called stressors. A few stressors teens deal with are

  • changing schools
  • going on a first date
  • high expectations placed upon them by
  • parents and teachers
  • competing in sports
  • participating in extracurricular activities
  • having a job
  • being over-scheduled
  • not fitting in socially
  • being ahead or behind in physical development
  • throwing a party
  • family disfunction such as abuse or alcoholism in the home
  • winning a scholarship to the college of their dreams

If stressors that a teen is dealing with are allowed to pile up and are not dealt with in a proper manner, the teen will experience distress. Too much stress can cause the teen to go into a physical state of distress. As the stress depletes their brain of important chemicals needed to regulate emotion, they will begin to feel physical and mental symptoms that can disrupt enjoyment of normal life.

Within the brain, neurotransmitters are responsible for sending and receiving messages between cells. There are two types of neurotransmitters; one group is considered the “happy” messengers, and the other group is considered the “sad” messengers. The “happy” messenger group is made up of Serotonin, Noradrenalin, and Dopamine.

Serotonin regulates the body clock. It is responsible for setting waking and sleeping patterns, and it sets bodily functions to the same rhythm. It is generally the first messenger to begin to fail under distress, and this failure will cause sleeplessness in the overstressed.

Noradrenaline is responsible for our energy levels. It is the messenger that makes us feel energized and enthusiastic. When this neurotransmitter begins to fail, overly stressed teens will begin to feel a lack of energy, and they won’t feel like they have the energy to get anything done.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that runs the pleasure center of the brain. Its failure will cause an inability to take pleasure in things that one used to enjoy.

The failing of these neurotransmitters lowers a person’s tolerance to stress even more. Poor diet, lack of regular sleep, and lack of physical exercise makes it harder for the body to replenish its stores of these chemicals when they’re depleted.

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