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1001 Ogden Ave.
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Downers Grove, IL

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Naperville, IL

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College Stress, Anxiety and Depression

  This is the time of your life. Your future is bright. You have everything to look forward to. And, everyone seems to want to hear that you are having an incredibly awesome semester. You do not want to disappoint your family. But, your roommate is annoying. Your friends really don't "get" you. Classes are much harder than you ever imagined. And that history prof is wacked. You do not feel like yourself. In fact, you feel like you are…

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10 Points to Help Your Child Get the Most Out of College

Today's blog features our guest blogger, Dr. Joel Ingersoll, of Take On College, Inc.  Dr. Joel shares the My College Planning Team philosophy and mission of helping students maximize the college experience. In this blog, he shares his professional advice to parents in helping their college students create a healthy, confident transition!   Now that summer gone and we are into the fall semester, much has been written about preparing college students for the upcoming semester.  You've likely read numerous college survival lists noting…

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Clinical Anxiety in Teens

  In my private psychotherapy practice, anxiety in teens is a common reason for seeking treatment. Some level of anxiety is a normal, albeit uncomfortable part of life. However, when your child’s level of anxiety and worry is excessive and begins to significantly impact their life--in school, at home, or with friends--it may be time to seek professional help to determine whether your teenager is struggling with clinical anxiety. What are some signs of anxiety? General Anxiety Disorder is defined…

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Is My Teenager Depressed? Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression in Teens

“I can’t tell if my teenager is just moody or if he is depressed. What’s the difference?”

In my private psychotherapy practice I get asked this question a lot by worried parents wondering about the dividing line between usual adolescent moodiness and clinical depression. It’s a good question.

College-Teenager-Depression

Teenagers can be very moody. They can also sometimes be downright surly. The pendulum swing between the emotional polarities of happy to sad may fluctuate rapidly. It’s only when the pendulum gets “stuck “ on sadness, and your teen’s feelings of hopelessness and helplessness interfere with his ability to succeed in school, enjoy family and friends, engage in life, that your teen may need some help in getting his pendulum moving again.

During their teenage years adolescents experience a good deal of mental and physical growth. According to researchers, the developing teen brain makes as many new connections as a newborn infant’s. We all know how much physical change occurs during the teen years. This growth of brain and body can be physically exhausting for teens. In fact, the average teen requires more sleep than a newborn baby. Emotional and psychological maturation also occur. All this growth and change helps the adolescent develop their sense of self, an identity.

It can be difficult for parents to see their “sweet little child” suddenly turn into a person they no longer recognize. Well, guess what, your child may not recognize herself either. It’s no wonder that your teenager may sit in her room alone for hours feeling confused and scared by her changing self. Add to this mix outside stressors such as grades, college, changing peer relationships, and leaving home. For the majority of adolescents, this too shall pass. However, if your child is among the 11% of teens experiencing symptoms of depression here are some signs to look for.

Sadness is the number one sign of depression. Along with sadness, notice any changing behavior in your teen. I found this helpful video on Be Smart Be Well.com, a health and wellness website, in which Ken Duckworth, MD, Medical Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness lists five symptoms to look for in your teen. Have your child’s sleeping patterns changed; is your child no longer interested in interacting with friends; is your child using drugs or alcohol; does your child experience physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches; is your child talking about harming himself?

Most importantly it’s crucial to keep in mind, as Dr. Duckworth points out in his video, depression in teens is real, and it is treatable.

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