The teenage years can be a difficult time of personal development and definition. It’s also a time when bodies begin to change and hormones begin to fluctuate. The combination can make for a moody and volatile teenager, one that can sometimes baffle parents. And so it’s important for parents and for the teen herself to know what is normal, what can be done to help, and when you need to seek help.
What is normal?
As hormones begin to fluctuate, the adolescent experiencing these fluctuations could begin to feel a little confused. All those concerned should recognize that some mood fluctuations are pretty normal during this part of life. All should know, too, that some strategies exist that can make these times a little easier:
Make sure to get plenty of sleep. The average adolescent needs about 9 ¼ hrs of sleep per night. Try not to alter your sleep routine drastically from the weekdays to the weekends, since this can interfere with your overall sleep patterns.
Maintain a good exercise routine. Exercise helps you sleep better and is a good outlet for stress.
Eat healthy. Avoid sodas and caffeine. Be sure to get at least 5 to 6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Eat a good breakfast and don’t skip meals. Avoid fast foods and junk foods. Limit sugars.
If You Still Feel a Little out of Control
If these tactics don’t quite do the trick, you should talk to your healthcare provider. Premenstrual syndrome can often be helped with oral contraceptives or other hormonal agents. But this should be a joint decision with your healthcare provider since some hormones can worsen your symptoms.
True depression may call for counseling and even mood-stabilizing medications. These medications, however, should never be taken unless they are prescribed for you and closely monitored by your healthcare provider. The reason for this caution: Some studies have suggested that certain antidepressants are related to suicide in adolescent patients. So it’s important to see a qualified provider to manage your concerns.
Adolescence can be a time of ups and downs for most teens. Do what you can to make it better for yourself and then, if you are still struggling, let your healthcare provider help you.