Severe Anxiety in Teenager: How To Get Them Help

 In Mental Health

The word anxiety gets thrown around a lot. “I’m anxious about flying”, “I’m having anxiety about my test coming up”. But an anxiety disorder is so much more than just being anxious. Feeling anxiety from time to time is a very normal human emotion. When anxiety occurs frequently, there may be a problem.

Here at Adolescent Wellness Academy,  we feel it’s important to educate parents on the signs of mental illness to look out for in their teens. Today we’ll talk about what anxiety is, how anxiety presents itself in teenagers, and how we can help your teen today.

What Is Anxiety?

There is occasional anxiety that is expected to be part of almost everyone’s life. Your teen can feel anxious before dance practice or competition or feel anxious before they give a speech in front of the class. This usually isn’t something that causes concern. This type of anxiety is a normal reaction to uncomfortable situations. 

When it comes to anxiety disorders, they are not just a temporary worry or fear, but much more than that. Anxiety disorders can interfere with day-to-day activities. Anxiety disorders display excessive anxiety or worry most days for at least 6 months. The worry can be about work, health, social interactions, and everyday life circumstances. The worry can also be unprovoked, sometimes people with anxiety disorders feel anxious about nothing in particular. 

Some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

  • Feeling restless and irritable
  • Having problems concentrating and mind going blank
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Muscle tension
  • Having difficulty sleeping, falling asleep, or feeling restlessness

Some of the different risk factors that are both genetic and environmental include:

  • Traits of shyness or behavioral inhibition in childhood
  • Exposure to stressful/negative life circumstances/events in early childhood or even adulthood
  • Family history of anxiety or other mental illnesses
  • Physical health conditions such as problems with caffeine and other substances/medications, heart arrhythmias, thyroid problems, etc. 

How Does Anxiety Present Itself in Teenagers?

Anxiety disorders can and will vary from teenager to teenager. Symptoms of anxiety disorders in teenagers can include excessive worrying, feelings of restlessness, and a tendency to be excessively wary/vigilant. Even after the threat is gone, teenagers may still have feelings of continual nervousness or extreme stress. They may even experience physical symptoms such as cramps, flushing, sweating, hyperventilating, and trembling. Anxiety may also look like school avoidance or reluctance to leave home. If your teen is struggling with severe anxiety, they may also resist social activities and be prone to independent activity. 

How To Treat Severe Anxiety in a Teenager

Treatment of anxiety disorders in teenagers usually focuses on reducing the symptoms of anxiety, relieving distress, preventing complications that are associated with the disorder, and minimize the effects of anxiety on the teenager’s social life, school, life, and developmental progress. 

Some of the treatments used for anxiety in teenagers are:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This type of approach helps teenagers to examine their anxiety, anticipate the situations that are likely to occur, and understand its effects. 
  • Other therapies such as long-term psychotherapy and family therapy.
  • Medications: This is when symptoms are severe and maybe a combination of both medication and therapy. 

As a parent, it may be helpful if your teenager is willing to talk about their fears and anxieties. When they do this, listen carefully and respectfully without discounting their feelings.  It may also be important to help them trace back their anxiety to specific situations and experiences that can help reduce the overwhelming nature of their feelings. Helping your teenagers walk through their anxiety while validating their feelings is crucial to helping them heal. 

How Adolescent Wellness Academy Can Help

Here at Adolescent Wellness Academy, we understand that it can be hard to comprehend exactly what your teenager is going through and how to help them. We hope that some of the information resources that we give you will help you to learn more about these disorders and how they affect others. We want to put our clients and their parents at ease when it comes to their treatment. Reach out to us today to find a treatment program that fits you/your teenager’s individualized needs!

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