Loneliness in Teenagers

We often think of teenagers as the most connected generation. From school friends and parties to social media, teens have a reputation for being the most social generation. However, even before coronavirus (COVID-19), today’s teens reported record rates of isolation, which has only increased with social distancing and quarantines.

Learn more about loneliness in teenagers, how it can have a damaging effect on development, and how Lake House Academy can help your teen overcome feelings of loneliness.

Causes and Symptoms of Loneliness in Teens

It feels counterintuitive, but an increasing amount of research finds that teenagers and young adults may be lonelier than any other age group – even seniors. A national survey conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation found that 40% of respondents between the ages of 16-24 were lonely, describing themselves as experiencing feelings of detachment, as misunderstood, as not having anyone to talk with, sad and suffering from fear of missing out on social events. 

When discussing loneliness, it is essential to note the distinction between “being alone” and “being lonely.” Being alone is simply the physical absence of others, where loneliness is an emotional state.

Many teens describe loneliness as feeling alone, but that aloneness is combined with feelings of alienation, detachment and isolation, even in others’ presence.

There are many reasons a teen may feel this way. 

Some common causes of loneliness include:

  • Being cut from a sports team
  • Being the victim of bullying
  • Experiencing a change in mental health
  • Increased feelings of inadequacy and insecurity
  • Increased technology use, including gaming and social media
  • Living with a disability
  • Normal teen transitions (moving between junior high, high school and university)
  • Poor academic performance

It can be difficult for parents to identify loneliness in their teens. Symptoms of loneliness often appear as typical teenage behavior. 

However, your child may be experiencing chronic loneliness if he or she demonstrates the following behaviors:

  • Anger
  • Drinking or smoking in an attempt to belong to a social group
  • Low confidence and self-esteem
  • Not wanting to try new hobbies
  • Withdrawal, pulling away from social groups

The Effects of Loneliness in Adolescence 

Because there are so many developmental milestones in the adolescent years, experiencing loneliness during this time can have lasting effects, even changing the structure of the brain and impacting decision-making behaviors. 

As the country enforces social distancing and quarantine policies, experts are concerned about its lasting effects.

A recent study demonstrated the negative effects of isolation, finding that mice who spent time in isolation were more likely to develop addictive behavior patterns with decision-making based on habit rather than logical processes. 

Waiting to Help You

Lake House Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls between the ages of 12-16. Our compassionate and highly-qualified counselors are fully equipped to help your daughter navigate the challenges of the teen years while balancing academics and relationships.

We have a holistic, outcomes-based approach to therapy that uses a wide range of engaging therapeutic methods. We can help.

Contact Lake House Academy at: 855-214-2998