If your teenager has been diagnosed with a chronic or long-term illness, you might be feeling worried and confused as to you can help them. What they need from you is guidance and comfort; they don’t need you to be their doctor as they have a specialist for that. Instead, they need you to be there for them.
This may not sound too difficult a task, but as you are helping, there are a number of important points to notice and pay attention to. These long-term illnesses, which might include asthma, eating disorders, diabetes, cancer, depression, and more, will all bring their own set of physical and mental challenges. Read on to discover just how you can guide your teen through a long-term illness in the best way possible.
Help with the Adjustment
One of the first things you are going to need to help your teen with when it comes to their new diagnosis of a chronic illness is the adjustment to this illness. Changes will need to be made in their lives — and your life, too, in many cases — and this can be very hard to deal with. Having someone there to help them through this time of change and adjustment will make it easier to cope with.
To begin with, you should never try to write off your child’s feelings about what is happening, even if you do it in a way that is meant to make them feel better. Telling someone not to worry about something doesn’t mean they’ll stop worrying; it just means they’ll think you don’t understand or don’t care. In order to help, you must acknowledge your teen’s feelings and comfort them.
Watch for Depression
Something that can happen to some teens when they go through life changing adjustments and news of a chronic illness is the development of depression alongside the diagnosis. It is perfectly normal and only to be expected that they will be sad and scared, but depression is something else, something deeper, and it will need professional help.
Some of the signs of depression to look out for include:
- Excessive crying
- Changes in sleep pattern (insomnia or sleeping more than usual)
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Loss of interest in hobbies, favorite TV shows, family time, and other things they used to enjoy
- Increased irritability
- Feeling worthless or hopeless
If any of these symptoms occur, or even if you are just concerned depression might be harming your child, don’t hesitate to speak to the experts at igniteteentreatment.com.
Learn What You Can
It is only natural that you will be as scared and concerned as your teen is at this time, yet as a parent you are going to want to help them as much as possible. To be able to do this, you should learn as much as you can about the disease or condition that your child has. This will allow you to be much more understanding about how they are feeling, but you will also be able to talk to them properly about their condition and help them work out the next steps.
Knowing a lot about the thing that is scaring you is good practice in general. The more you know, the less frightening it is, and the more you can deal with it. Take the time to speak to healthcare professionals and read websites or books by those who specialize in your area of interest to get the most relevant and accurate information.