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Teen Anxiety

Anxiety is common in teenagers. Of all the mental disorders, teen anxiety disorders are the most common. In this article we will review statistics on teen anxiety, signs and symptoms of teen anxiety, what you can do to prevent teen anxiety, and treatment for teen anxiety.


Your Teens Are at Risk

Teenage years are ones of high stress, difficult decisions, and soaring emotions. The life of a teenager seems oftentimes like a soap opera, with the extreme highs and lows, dramatic outbursts, and the unexplained "silent treatments". Anxiety can result from a broken nail, a lower grade on a test than anticipated, or other seemingly trivial issues. In a world of cell phones, palm pilots, portable television, and other high-powered technology, children learn from a very young age that faster is better. The culture in America promotes a feeling of always having to get ahead, and this reflects on teenagers especially, who are still impressionable children trying to be adults. They are looking to the media, as well as their surroundings, to find their identity and who and what they are expected to be.

So What is Teen Anxiety in "Layman's" Terms?

Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. It depends on the person and what they are going through in their lives. A basic definition would be to say that anxiety is a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind. But prolonged anxiety is a completely different ballpark. It is an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction and restlessness, where nothing ever seems to be right.

Symptoms of Teen Anxiety

Anxiety in teenagers can cause complications such as overeating, smoking, even depression and drug use. Medical experts have diagnosed countless numbers of teenagers with anxiety-related disorders, including, but not limited to, depression, bipolar/manic depression, schizophrenia , and addiction. So, how, then, do you know when anxiety becomes a problem for your child?

Some signs of severe teen anxiety are as follows:

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Substance abuse
  • Secretive behavior
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Bad hygiene or meticulous attention to
  • Compulsive or obsessive behavior

Teenagers face circumstances that may or may not be to their liking every day. But the ability to handle these situations, for a teen that suffers from anxiety, can seem overwhelming and even impossible. The resilience most teens have is not as present in a teen that has an anxiety disorder. What one teen looks at as a means to an end, the other teen sees only as the end.

What Can You Do to Prevent Anxiety in Your Teen?

The key to success in all relationships seems to be the same. Listen. Teenagers don't want to talk about their problems to a parent who lectures them and criticizes every move. Teens need someone who they can vent their frustrations to and release that inner tension which is ever-present in any teenager, but much more so in an anxiety sufferer. Teenagers need to know that whatever they say will be accepted. They need to know that they can trust you, and that they are loved and cared for. Find activities to help get rid of the restlessness, and don't discourage a teenager from becoming independent and finding his or her own outlets. You also need to pay close attention to the warning signs, and if your teen is suffering, call your family doctor or local mental health professional for help, because no one can do it alone.

I Think My Teen Has A Problem With Anxiety

Oftentimes, the battle seems endless. But it is possible for a teen to combat anxiety. There are a variety of methods, such as:

  • Therapy
  • A healthy parental relationship
  • Hotlines
  • Medication
  • Understanding, but above all?
  • Support

Doctors seem to be prescribing anti-anxiety medications to teenager more than ever. 80% of teens today are on some kind of anti-anxiety meds. Sometimes medication is necessary, but only in the most severe cases. It is always better to approach anxiety without using any drugs if possible, because medication does change one's brain chemistry, especially in teens, where the drugs are stronger, and the teen is more susceptible.


  • thestressoflife.com
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Dr. Tawny Moon

Related Article: Teen Stress >>

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