Anxiety in Teenagers & How To Recognize It
When children become teenagers, the things they may worry about often change from external to internal struggles. While experiencing some anxiety can be normal, it’s important to recognize when a teenager’s anxiety is harming their daily life. Read on to learn more about anxiety and how it can affect teenagers to help you recognize signs of anxiety in your teenagers.
Anxiety in Teenagers
Anxiety in teenagers can vary depending on the individual. Some teenagers experience anxiety throughout their childhood, but if they functioned well enough with it, they may never have received help. However, many children experience a shift in their anxiety when they become teenagers, as they begin to worry about different things. While children may have normal, occasional anxiety about external factors, such as the dark or an insect, teenagers can experience heightened anxiety about internal factors. Here are some common factors that may cause anxiety among teenagers:
Some teenagers may experience heightened anxiety about their performance and have an intense work ethic to ensure success. They may completely dedicate their efforts to schoolwork or sports and have an unhealthy relationship with perfectionism. Teens’ anxiety can often be linked to school activities, which is why it’s important for schools to have support systems and opportunities to seek advocacy for anxiety treatment.
In high school, your child may be more worried about their future and career path. It’s important to speak to them about different options they may have and provide plenty of resources for them to make an informed decision about college, career paths, and lifestyles they may want to lead.
Many teens are concerned with how they’re perceived, both by their peers and family. They may worry about others not thinking they’re smart or funny or worry about doing something embarrassing. This is often a regular aspect of growing up, but some teens experience more anxiety about the matter than others. This can lead to social anxiety, which may affect their relationships with others. Forming healthy friendships and relationships is an important part of adolescence and is a valuable life skill, so if you notice your teenager may have trouble forming relationships, you might consider seeking treatment for them.
Due to the physical changes teenagers experience during and after puberty, they may develop some unhealthy body image issues. They may experience anxiety about their weight, height, hair, clothing, and other physical attributes. To ensure that your teen doesn’t develop body image issues, it’s often best to provide plenty of information about the bodily changes they may experience and promote self-confidence. Body image anxiety can cause other serious mental issues, such as an eating disorder, which is why it’s important to maintain regular communication with your teen and express empathy for issues they may be experiencing.
Symptoms of Anxiety Among Teenagers
Symptoms of anxiety in teenagers can vary, so it’s important not to jump to conclusions. However, if you notice these symptoms in your teenager, you might want to begin conversing with them about mental health and ask if they want to seek treatment. Here are some common symptoms of anxiety in teenagers:
- Irritability without reasonable stimulus.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Avoidance of new or seemingly difficult situations.
- Reoccurring worries about routine parts of life, such as attending school.
- Secluding themselves from others and social activity.
- Frequent stomachaches and headaches.
- Often seeking reassurance and compliments.
- Having difficulty staying asleep, falling asleep, or waking up and feeling energized.
- Substance abuse.
- Frequent feelings of depression.
It’s important to recognize and validate the experience your teen is having that may lead to these behaviors and symptoms. Express empathy for their feelings and try to maintain regular communication if you notice these symptoms in your teenager.
Treatment Options for Teenage Anxiety
There are many treatment options for teens with anxiety. For example, you can consult one of our capable physicians to receive a recommendation of what may work best for your teen. They can perform a pediatric neuropsychological test to diagnose your child and begin treatment. You may find that it’s best to combine more than one of these therapies or discover other ways to help treat your teenager’s anxiety. Here are some of our most effective treatment options for anxiety:
Stress Management Courses
Stress management courses can help you and your teen learn ways to appropriately deal with stress, which can result in less anxiety. Your teen may benefit from using stress management techniques to handle their school work, extracurriculars, and social relationships. Stress management is an important life skill that can help your child in many areas of their life, though for severe and moderate anxiety, they may need additional treatment, such as counseling.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy refers to a type of counseling that focuses on how our internal dialogue can affect our behavior. This type of therapy relies on the theory that by changing our behavior, we can change how we feel about something. Then, by changing how we feel, we can change how we act. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is helpful for those who experience anxiety because it can provide a safe environment to share fears, experiences, and feelings that cause anxiety and learn ways to confront and overcome these issues.
Psychologists lead cognitive-behavioral therapy and may accept both individuals and families for therapy. Depending on your teen’s anxiety, they may benefit from personal or family therapy, so it’s important to distinguish this difference with your physician and find a provider who may be able to provide both.
Physicians and psychologists can prescribe many different types of medication to help your teen manage their anxiety. Your teen may need to try a few different types of medications before finding one that yields the best results. It’s often recommended that those who are on medication for anxiety also attend therapy, but this can depend on the individual. Your child’s physician may also recommend other treatment options to accompany medication, such as a change in diet, sleep schedule, or exercise routine. You can learn more about our approach to helping your teenager with anxiety here.
NeuroHealth Can Help Teenagers Suffering From Anxiety
If you believe your teenager is suffering from anxiety, it’s helpful to seek treatment for them as early as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about proper mental health treatment.