Anxiety is a common and often crippling mental illness impacting teens. Statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health show that 31.9% of young people aged 13-18 were diagnosed with anxiety. Additional information from the CDC shows that young people with anxiety are more likely to develop co-occurring disorders such as depression and behavioral problems. While anxiety is considered a normal part of adolescents, some young people have difficulty dealing with their emotions. As a result, they will struggle with mental illness well into adulthood.
If your teenager is struggling with anxiety, helping them find healthy ways to cope is crucial for their physical and mental well-being. In this article, we will discuss the causes of teen anxiety as well as its signs. You will also learn ways of helping teens with anxiety and where to find treatment. If your teen needs help, call Thrive Teen Treatment toll-free today. We are a mental health facility for teens in Santa Monica that will help your teen and family break free of anxiety for good.
The first step in knowing how to help teens with anxiety is knowing its root causes. An obvious factor is a family history of anxiety or having family members dealing with the disorder. Another huge factor in the development of anxiety in teens is peer pressure. For most teenagers, the need to fit in and be accepted among peers is all-encompassing. If they feel they don’t measure up to their peers’ expectations or if they are slighted in any way, it often creates considerable anxiety that can compound over time.
Along with peer pressure, there is increased pressure from social media. Often peers and social figures post their “ideal” lives on social media platforms, and some teens may look at their lives and feel they don’t measure up. Many teens who experience chronic anxiety often are the victims of bullying or have resolved personal trauma such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, and the sudden death of a loved one.
Knowing the right way to help teens deal with anxiety is recognizing the signs of anxiety itself. It can be difficult to see the signs of anxiety because many chalk up these signs to “just growing up.” Over time, anxiety doesn’t dissipate and makes a teen’s daily life miserable. A telltale sign of anxiety in teens is sudden emotional changes such as feeling keyed up or on edge, restlessness, increased irritability, and difficulty concentrating in school or at home.
Teens with anxiety increasingly avoid social interaction and stop hanging out with their peers. Many teens with anxiety spend considerable time alone and sequestered in their rooms. Teens who experience anxiety will show physical symptoms such as unexplained headaches, stomach aches, and show significant changes in eating habits. Additionally, teens who experience profound anxiety have trouble sleeping, have decreased academic performance, and may experience panic attacks. The symptoms of panic attacks include:
Helping teens with anxiety takes patience and a caring approach. While it is true that dealing with anxiety is a normal part of growing up, some teens may have more difficulty in moving past their anxiety. The first step in helping teenagers with anxiety is encouraging them to speak about their anxiety. When teens are able to talk about their feelings in a non-judgmental and open environment, it can help reduce their anxiety levels. Allowing teenagers to speak freely about their feelings will also give parents a better understanding of what they are going through and how they can help.
Another way to help teens deal with their anxiety is to acknowledge what they feel. When you acknowledge their anxiety, do so with warmth, compassion, and that you are confident they can handle what is causing their anxiety. It is vital for your son or daughter to take care of their mind and bodies. Please encourage them to stay physically active, eat a balanced diet, and get restful sleep. Teaching your teen simple breathing and muscle relaxation exercises may also greatly benefit.
It is also essential to check in regularly with a teen with anxiety. If a teen’s anxiety is slowly spiraling out of control, it is essential to find a specialized treatment program geared to the unique needs of teenagers.
Helping teenagers with anxiety can be a difficult endeavor. If your son or daughter needs help, there are teen-specific anxiety treatment programs that will give them the tools and support they need to cope with what they feel in a healthy manner. Thrive Teen Treatment provides mental health services for teens in California. Our staff brings decades of proven experience in giving teens and their families the tools and support they need to manage anxiety and lead healthy lives. Help your teen today and call Thrive Teen Treatment.