The schools measure their quality by the number of pupils who have a smooth one-level school. This performance concept is definitely responsible for the increase in burnouts among young people. If children constantly feel that they are not meeting the requirements, this is a first step towards exhaustion depression.
However, one should avoid that hobbies degenerate into negative stress – the so-called distress. Even if in leisure time it’s more about performance than fun, when parents encourage the deeply unmusical child to practice the piano every day, effort can become a way of life early on.
It is often a chain of changes: it begins with a drop in academic performance, which is then followed by increased work.
The affected children and teenagers are constantly afraid that they will not be able to meet the demands. Difficulty falling asleep, lack of appetite and reduced drive are often the result.
This in turn leads to a further decrease in performance. The victims get into a vicious circle from which they have no way out. These are typical symptoms of exhaustion depression.
It is very important to take such signs seriously. Parents should take a lot of time to talk to their child about their problems. And seek help from a specialist or psychotherapist as soon as possible.
What does therapy look like in children with burnout? There is a pattern?
Of course, no patient is the same and every young person has to identify exactly at which points the therapy starts. Nevertheless, certain basic patterns can be identified. As a therapist, I develop strategies to make the child more resistant.
I look at how it can transform distress, i.e. negative stress, into eustress, positive, motivating stress. Together with learning therapists, I find ways for those affected to adopt other learning strategies to reduce stress at school.
When in doubt, they also have to learn to come to terms with the fact that the ambitious goals cannot be achieved, that there cannot always be ones at school.
Almost everywhere it makes sense to call the family together, to put all the diaries next to each other and to create islands of common ground.
In the beginning, many affected adolescents need antidepressants so that they break the vicious cycle of fear and exhaustion and have the strength to look ahead again. As a rule, however, you can stop taking the medication after six months at the latest and continue therapy without it.
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