Bullying

Bullying amongst adolescents and teenagers has been going on, in one form or another, since the beginning of human relations. Unfortunately, we have only really established the ability to engage in a serious dialogue about the negative effects of bullying since the early 2000’s. In 2005, the first data on bullying began to be collected by the federal government and at this time, according to the US Department of Education, the prevalence of bullying was shown to be at approximately 28%. As of 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the prevalence rate had dropped to 20.8%, showing that while bullying overall has shown a decrease, the prevalence of it in middle and high schools is still 1 out of every 5 children.

The Effects of Bullying
Although overall, we may be seeing a decline in bullying nationwide, we cannot afford to become content with these numbers as just one instance of bullying can be a traumatic event for the victim. Generally speaking, victims of bullying do not experience one instance but rather on average, experience bullying at least 1-2 times per week. Bullying can induce a myriad of horrific effects on the victim such as increased isolation, shame, low self-esteem, anxiety, decreased performance in school, and symptoms of depression. Due to the consistent and persistent nature of bullying that is left without intervention, the long-term effects of bullying include potential PTSD, anxiety and depressive disorders, substance abuse, loss of trust, and even an engagement in self-harm as well as suicide. While there are some individuals who argue that bullying behavior can be a natural part of growing up, and they may be right, this notion doesn’t provide solutions for the victims and families who experience very real suffering due this type of behavior left unchecked.


What Are Some Possible Solutions To Bullying?

As the ability to engage in open dialogue about the effects of bullying becomes more realistic, we ought to first look at assertive communication as a primary mode of recourse. Typically, the bully has some real or perceived advantage over the victim which is manifested through physical strength, verbal aggression, or intimidation techniques. Bullies look for what they believe to be individuals who are weak-willed, shy, or defenseless; one way we can fortify ourselves against this kind of susceptibility is to let the bully know, verbally, that we will not stand by and be victimized. The “Three Strikes” rule is effective because it communicates to the bully that we will not stand passively by and allow this behavior. Upon the first incidence of bullying we let them know that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated; upon the second incident, we communicate that should this happen again, we will notify the relevant authorities. Often times, this will signal to the bully that we will not stand for this treatment, and also that we are willing to make it difficult for them to continue this behavior without punishment. Clearly, this is not a catch-all solution, however, the establishment of confident and assertive language in the potential victim is often enough to deter further attempts at bullying.

Victims Become Victimizers
One of the most primitive psychological defense mechanisms is what’s known as displacement. This occurs when an individual is stripped of their power through the tyrannical actions of another; they cope with this loss of power by reclaiming it through disempowering another, often times through bullying. In other words, bullies tend to have difficult home lives, often times having to endure abuse and neglect of their parents which they can, in turn, take out on classmates in school. In order to address instances of bullying effectively, it is advantageous to understand the forces driving the bullying behavior, so we look to create a connection with bullies in order to show them compassion and understanding.

Cyberbullying
With the rise and ubiquitous nature of social media in contemporary society, cyberbullying has become a prominent subtype of bullying due to its accessibility, convenience, and potential anonymity. While typical bullying can have its limitations due to the fact that many individuals wouldn’t bully another if it required a face to face engagement with the person, social media allows for individuals who might not otherwise bully to engage in intimidation, slander, and humiliation via a medium that alleviates some personal connection and responsibility. Another reason cyberbullying is arguably as harmful as traditional bullying is due to the tendency for a pack mentality to arise in the context of social media where typical constraints on bad behavior might otherwise be regulated. It creates a landscape where, because of the distance of the interactions, individuals feel less personally responsible for their actions and therefore might act crueler than they would should they be faced with the victim in person.

Where Do We Go from Here?
Now that we have examined the effects of bullying, the possible solutions, and the importance of trying to connect with the victims as well as bullies themselves, what can we do in the meantime? Coordinating and communicating with school administrators in order to understand their bullying policies and what should be done in the event that an individual is bullied is a good place to start. Encouraging our children to speak up when they see bullying is another effective way of combatting bullying as well because it communicates to the victimizer that their behavior will not be tolerated. Finally, it is imperative that we seek the help of professionals, such as The Bougainvillea House, in order to foster open communication and compassion for families and children faced with bullying. Remember, we are not alone and The Bougainvillea House can help!

Social Anxiety Among Teens – The Bougainvilla House Cares

Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.
Teenage years come with a number of stressors. Social and cultural pressure can take a toll on a teen’s mental health. Social Anxiety among teens is on the rise due to Social Media use, and other modern social pressures. Although most teenagers go through periods of normal anxiety related to the changes that go along with adolescence, those with Social Anxiety Disorder experience fear that is out of proportion to the situations that they face. For some teenagers, social anxiety becomes chronic, affecting school performance, extracurricular activities and the ability to make friends.

Interacting with Peers

Teenagers with social anxiety often have trouble interacting with their peers both in school and in social situations. This can lead to poor performance in school. Students with Social Anxiety can often show the following behaviors:

  • is uncomfortable in group settings
  • has few friends
  • is afraid to start or participate in conversations
  • is afraid to ask others to get together
  • is afraid to call others
  • avoids eye contact
  • speaks softly or mumbles
  • appears to always be “on the fringes”
  • reveals little about him/herself when talking to others

Social Media

Modern technology has made it easier to connect with others throughout the world. With this new accessibility, comes a new set of challenges. Often times young people can hide behind the screen, causing avoidant behaviors in real life.

While social networking sites may help those with social anxiety to more easily initiate and establish social connections, there can be drawbacks as well. These online connections may not be as strong as those created in real life.

On the other hand, social media can give teens a twisted view of reality. On social media, many people present the best version of their lives. This can cause feelings of envy or inadequacy in teens that may already have feelings of social anxiety.

Building Self Esteem

When it comes to reducing feelings of social anxiety, building self-esteem is the best way to reduce feelings of self-doubt. Being generous with praise is a good first step. Teens need to be acknowledged for what they do well.  Commend your child not only for accomplishments but for effort—including those times when it fails to bring the desired results. Teens with social anxiety may feel awkward accepting praise, so make sure the compliments are natural and not forced. It is still ok to criticize the teen when necessary, just try to be constructive, and never speak in a hurtful or demeaning manner.

Encourage your teen to cultivate their talents and interests. Everyone excels at something and helping your teen focus on what they are good at can help develop confidence. Getting involved in activities can also be a great outlet for a socially anxious teen. They can make connections with others that have similar interests. This can give an easy outlet for conversation and social connections.

If you are a parent of a teen that has been struggling with Social Anxiety, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families. Contact The Bougainvilla House today to see how we can help. 954-764-7337 Or use our convenient Contact form.

Mental Health Cases Increase, but so do Solutions

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children. Studies show that over 20% of children, either currently or at some point during their lives, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. Mental illness is a frighteningly relevant topic. Thankfully, new studies show that there is also relevant hope.

To understand the progress being made, it’s helpful to understand the actual problem. A mental illness can range from what health professionals define as “Any Mental Illness” (AMI) to “Serious Mental Illness” (SMI).  AMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment. SMI is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in a serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.

The impact is real. But so is the progress towards providing help for those experiencing mental illness.

If you or a loved one has suffered from mental illness, you know the impact it can have on their life and the lives of people around them. But mental health is one of those things that people often underestimate. For those who don’t have a tangible context for mental illness, it’s critical to remember that it’s not just a feeling in someone’s head. Mental illnesses can seriously impact daily life. More than 18% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year and the risk of mental illness is even greater in children.

A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that 14-year-old adolescents who had contact with mental health services had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than those with similar difficulties who didn’t have contact. This Cambridge study is believed to be the first study in adolescents to support the role of contact with mental health services in improving mental health by late adolescence. Previous studies had reported that mental health service use has provided little or no benefit to adolescents, but the researchers argue that this might have been because the design of those studies did not consider whether service users had a mental disorder or not. The approach taken on the new Lancet study enabled comparison between people with similar disorders.

The study produced another positive finding, that young people with mental health problems who have contact with mental health care services are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment.

It’s clear that mental health is not something that can be underestimated any longer, not if over 450 million people around the world live with mental illnesses. It’s also clear that there are steps we can take for those who need help.

Whether we have a personal context for mental health or not, these findings mean we need to focus more efforts and attention on the utilization and improvement of mental health care, because it could change the statistics, and therefore change lives.

THERE IS HOPE! Call 954-764-7337 or email info@tbhcares.org today to get help for your family. Our counseling office is open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM. Our business office is open Monday-Friday , 8:30 AM to 6 PM.

Common Mental Health Disorders Seen in Teenagers

Teenagers who are struggling with addictions would be well advised to undergo screening for mental health disorders, since these two issues commonly go hand-in-hand. This is partially because teens with mental health disorders may attempt to self-medicate with substances of abuse in order to achieve relief from symptoms. Co-existing disorders present unique challenges, but fortunately, rehabs in Fort Lauderdale can offer treatment programs for both issues.

Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, ranging from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to panic disorder to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety disorders can significantly reduce quality of life and interfere with a teen’s ability to carry out day to day functions. These disorders can be particularly tricky to diagnose in kids because it can be difficult to differentiate symptoms of a disorder from the normal psychological challenges that occur during the teen years. This is one reason why anxiety disorders in teens often go untreated.

Depressive Disorders

Many teens who have substance abuse problems and anxiety disorders can also have depressive disorders. And much like anxiety disorders, depression is difficult to detect because teens are ordinarily expected to be occasionally moody. When depressive symptoms persist; however, it’s important for parents to consider getting their teen screened. Psychotherapy and other treatments can help adolescents feel more like themselves again.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that requires the attention of a trained provider. When adolescents have schizophrenia, they generally display the gradual development of signs and symptoms that can last for about six to nine months. This is known as the prodrome. It can include signs such as social withdrawal, unusual behaviors, substance abuse, paranoia, poor personal hygiene, and obsessiveness regarding philosophical ideas. Schizophrenia is also associated with delusions and hallucinations.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder often develops between the ages of 15 and 30. It involves significant mood swings, such as from depressive symptoms to euphoria or mania. The adolescent’s mood may persist for a matter of hours, days, or much longer before it shifts to the opposite end of the spectrum. Teens with bipolar disorder are generally treated with medications and psychotherapy.

Does Early Drinking Increase the Risk of Alcoholism Later in Life?

Among the dangers of early drinking behavior in young people is an increased risk of alcoholism later in life. In addition to seeking treatment for alcoholism in Fort Lauderdale for young people who are abusing alcohol as soon as possible, experts also recommend taking steps to discourage underage drinking before it begins to reduce the risk of alcoholism more effectively.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), people who begin to drink before age 14 have a 47% chance of developing alcoholism in adulthood, compare with 9% of people who being drinking after age 21. The younger people are when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism, while having a family member who also struggles with alcohol abuse raises the risk even more. People who begin drinking at young age also develop alcohol dependency faster and are more likely to have chronic, relapsing alcoholism problems than people who start drinking later in life.

Exploring the Link Between Sexual Assault and Drug Abuse in Teens

Abuse, including sexual assaults, is strongly linked to addiction in both teens and adults. Teens who are the victims of sexual assaults have a higher risk of developing addictions as adults, and they may also turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism when they are still teens. For teens who been victimized, it’s important to choose a substance abuse program that also offers family counseling or psychotherapy in Fort Lauderdale so that the underlying issues that contributed to the addiction.

Sexual Assault as a Trigger for Drug Use

Sexual abuse, including molestation in the home or assault by a stranger, can be a trigger for addiction for many teens. In order to cope with the repercussions of the abuse, teens may turn to alcohol or drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recognizes being the victim of sexual violence as one of the risk factors for addiction in teens. Teens who were victimized as younger children may also turn to drugs or alcohol during their adolescence because of the impacts of those episodes. Parents who know that their children have been victimized may be able to reduce the risk of future drug abuse by getting therapy for their children when the incident occurs. Teens who enter rehab with histories of sexual assaults are sometimes diagnosed with and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder as a co-occurring condition along their addictions.

Drug Use as a Trigger for Sexual Assault

Teens who use abuse drugs or alcohol also have a higher risk of becoming the victims of sexual assault. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes, and teens who are abusing drugs and alcohol may engage in sexually risky behaviors. Issues with consent are also possible. These incidences may further exacerbate the addition. Through psychotherapy and counseling, rehab centers can address these issues as part of the wider addiction recovery process.

Exploring the Link Between Depression and Drug Use in Teens

Teens who use drugs frequently have a co-occurring mental health problem, like depression, alongside their addictions. There is a particularly tight relationship between depression and teen drug use, and frequently, drug addiction recovery programs for teens incorporate psychotherapy or other mental health counseling services into their treatment plans. The link between depression and drug use in teens is complex, but understanding it can help parents and teens find the right programs for treating addiction in Fort Lauderdale for their needs.

Depression and Addiction Cycle

Researchers are unsure what comes first in teens who suffer from addiction and depression. Does depression increase the risk for drug abuse, or does drug abuse make teens more likely to experience depression? Addiction experts believe that both answers are likely to be true, and that teens who suffer from both addiction and depression come to their diseases in different ways. During psychotherapy in rehab, teens may uncover which disease existed first and contributed to the other, which can help shape their rehab and aftercare plans.

Negative Urgency

For teens whose depression is likely a trigger for their drug abuse, researchers have found that negative urgency is a common thread. Negative urgency is a way of coping with depression symptoms that includes acting rashly without thought of the consequences when faced with severe stress. Teens with depression who use negative urgency behaviors seem to have a higher rate of drug abuse connected to their depression, as they use drugs as coping mechanisms. During rehab, teens with negative urgency traits often work on building coping skills to help prevent relapses.

Drug Use Triggers

For teens who are motivated by peer pressure or other factors when they begin to use drugs, depression can be a result of the addiction. The impact of drug use on their lives in school and their personal relationships can cause stress that leads depressive symptoms. Psychological changes caused by drug abuse and the pressure of cravings can also trigger symptoms of depression.

Peer Pressure and Drug Use

Drug addiction near Fort Lauderdale is often perpetuated by a group of people who indulge in the same bad habits. As you will learn in this video, peer pressure is an especially serious problem when it comes to drug abuse among teens.

Addiction can easily happen when drug abuse is encouraged by a teen’s close friends. Teens often begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol because their friends use substances to ease the discomfort of social situations—or simply to rebel. Without intervention at the right time, drug abuse can quickly spiral into addiction.

Recovering from an Addiction

Parents looking for family counseling in Fort Lauderdale for their teen’s substance abuse treatment may be wondering what the process is for helping adolescents recover from an addiction. Our treatment model begins by helping the client understand that he has an addiction and that there are other ways to live and socialize. We prepare the teen with the skills that he needs to recover and connect him with community recovery support programs. We also provide aftercare services to help teens and adolescents avoid relapse and to encourage healthy behavior.

The Bougainvilla House is an outpatient counseling center designed to guide teens and adolescents away from alcoholism and drug addiction. Our center provides a safe place for your teen and our professional staff is committed to helping all of our clients make a successful recovery. At The Bougainvilla House, our policy is to continue treatment for adolescents and teens that struggle with recovery by adjusting and assessing their recovery plan to ensure their success.

Understanding Underage Drinking

If your teen or adolescent is dealing with alcoholism, consider teen alcohol counseling and alcohol rehab near Fort Lauderdale. Alcohol is the substance most abused by adolescents in America. Teenagers are more like to try alcohol than cigarettes and other substances, and often drink excessively when alcohol is available.

The Appeal of Alcohol

When your child becomes a teenager, they are likely to begin taking risks, seeking independence, and rebelling against authority. They are also coping with changes in their body while trying to fit in socially with their peers. They might start drinking as a form of experimentation, but they may continue drinking if their home or family is unsettled or if they suffer from depression. Youths may also drink to adjust their image, to gain confidence, or to cope with social pressures, and can develop alcoholism as a result.

College Drinking

When your teenager goes to college, there are many situations where they may find themselves around alcohol and others who are drinking. Our culture is inundated with images and advertisements of young people consuming alcohol, and campus groups often hold parties where drinking is encouraged, which puts students in a situation where alcohol can seem appealing. Approximately four out of every five college students drink alcohol, and about half of those that do drink also binge drink. Students report that they will drink alcohol to lose their social inhibitions and enjoy themselves more. If a young person begins drinking alcohol, they are more likely to participate in unprotected sex and to try other substances. Adolescents or teens who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcoholism later on than those who wait until age 21 to begin drinking.

Prevention

Keeping alcohol out of reach and out of sight in your home can help prevent your teenager or adolescent from developing an underage drinking habit by limiting its availability. Educating youths about the representation of alcohol in our culture can help them prepare for situations where they may end up drinking alcohol or being around people who are.