Anxiety in Teens & Adolescents

Over the last few years, anxiety in teens has been a hot topic. All of a sudden, teens are experiencing symptoms of anxiety “seemingly’ out of nowhere. Is it that teen and adolescent anxiety is on the rise, or is it just now being recognized and treated on a larger scale?

Today we’ll be talking about teen anxiety, what it is, how it differs from adult anxiety, if it’s truly on the rise and how you can assist a teen in your life who may be experiencing this common mental health disorder.

What Is Anxiety?

To begin, let’s define anxiety as a larger concept.

The Mayo Clinic defines anxiety as:

“People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).”

How Is Anxiety Different for Teens?

As was the case with our post on youth depression, anxiety symptoms in teens and adolescents can often present themselves physically.

Teens experiencing anxiety may complain of frequent and persistent headaches or stomach troubles.

Other symptoms may include, sensitivity to critique, isolation from friends and family, school absences or a slip in academic performance.

What Are The Common Worries?

Common pain points for teens are often self central. For instance, where children may be anxious about the dark, strangers or other external factors, teens are often worried about internal factors such as:

  • Performance

  • How they are perceived by peers

  • Appearance

  • Popularity

Although these are some of the most common themes, they are certainly not all encompassing.

Is Anxiety On The Rise In Teens?

If you’ve noticed the rise in teen anxiety, you’re not alone. This epidemic of anxiety in children has become the topic of many articles, news stories and even clinical studies. Some of the factors believed to be causing worry in adolescents include: social media, the pressure to perform and succeed, uncertainty around the world and right now, the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also worth noting that as mental health becomes less stigmatized and accepted by society as legitimate, more individuals will be able to disclose or even self-identify their symptoms.

How To Treat Anxiety In Teens?

Anxiety in adolescents can be treated similarly as it is in adults, CBT being the gold standard. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be used in a professional setting to help identify and shift negative thought patterns which cause anxiety and worry.

As a parent it’s important to empathize with your child who is experiencing anxiety and to seek the help of specialized professionals when applicable. Teenagers and adolescents can sometimes be closed off or hesitant to trust strangers, so working with a counsellor or therapist experienced in working with teens can help your child open-up.

Looking for a mental health professional to work with your teen or adolescent? Reflection Centre has a variety of team members ready to help. Contact us today for more information.

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