Teen Social Isolation: The Dangers of Being Alone
Teen social isolation isn’t always abnormal. Sometimes we just need some time alone to think, process, and work through things–sometimes it’s more dubious. For many struggling with issues like depression, they aren’t sure what to do so they isolate themselves and don’t reach out to anyone for help. They retreat into themselves hoping to figure it out alone–but that often doesn’t work.
Instead, it can actually worsen an issue such as depression.
It’s more than just being lonely
Loneliness–we all feel it at some point, but for some people it’s all the time. A mental health issue can make an individual feel incredibly alone if they aren’t sure what to do in order to get help; this is often the case with young people.
Teen social isolation can be involuntary or voluntary, but either way it can be harmful–especially if the individual is already dealing with a mental health issue like depression.
For some teens, they’re afraid to tell others what they’re feeling. They’re afraid to tell even their closest friends out of fear that they’ll think they’re “weird” or “broken” in some way. Mental illness is still shrouded by stigma, making it hard for adolescents to step forward and seek out support.
The loneliness this creates can be amazingly harmful.
Humans are social creatures. We need social interaction and stimulation to stay healthy, otherwise we turn to unsavory methods of coping (queue Wilson from Cast Away).
Being alone for lengthy amounts of time–I’m talking days, not a few hours to reboot–is associated with a greater risk of sickness, alcohol abuse, increased weight, poorer diet, decreased exercise, and a decreased lifespan.
Social interaction is essential to overall health. It’s connected to our mental and physical selves, making it important for parents to keep an eye out for teen social isolation.
How to intervene in teen social isolation
If you’ve noticed your teen never mentions friends or wants to go meet with peers outside of school, it may be time to intervene. This doesn’t mean therapy per se (not yet, at least).
A good way to intervene is to get your teen involved in activities outside of school. Ask what their interests are and go off of that. For example, let’s say they’re into art. Offer to sign them up for art classes every week. It gets them out of the house and interacting with others in a medium that they enjoy, making it more likely that they’ll open up.
Trails Carolina is here for your family
Searching for the right program that fits your struggling teen can be a lengthy process. If traditional outpatient therapies aren’t offering improvements, it might be time to look into a wilderness therapy program like Trails Carolina.
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 10 to 17, struggling with issues such as depression, teen social isolation, anxiety, ADHD and many others. We strive to create meaningful change within our students through the use of individual, group, family, equine and wilderness therapy. We can help your family recover.
For more information about how we help teen social isolation, contact us today at 800-975-7303.