Anxiety in Teens: How much is too much?
By Yael Adler
All people feel anxiety. It is a natural reaction to stress and the unknown. But some people’s feelings of anxiety are so overwhelming that they have trouble processing their fear and stress, which can interfere with their ability to go about their daily life. Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to these kinds of anxiety disorders. According to medical research, one in eight children suffer from an anxiety disorder. Teens who suffer from an anxiety disorder often have trouble in school, miss out on social experiences that are important to their development, and are more likely to develop substance abuse problems. And even though the majority of anxiety disorders are manageable with treatment, 80% of children currently suffering from a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not receiving treatment.
If a teenager is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is very important that they receive treatment that can help them learn how to manage their symptoms. When given proper care and attention, teens suffering from anxiety disorders can learn to live normal, healthy childhoods.
What Do Anxiety Disorders Look Like?
Being a teen isn’t easy, and teenagers naturally experience a lot of stress that makes them feel anxious. When teens suffer from an anxiety disorder, however, they feel much higher levels of anxiety than is normal, or become anxious over things that wouldn’t normally cause them to worry.
How do you know if you’re feeling excess anxiety? Some of the signs include:
Do you feel worried or afraid for no obvious reason? Normal anxiety is caused by something specific, such as taking a test, going on a date, or the deadline to a big assignment. But when someone suffers from an anxiety disorder, they feel anxious even when there is no specific thing that should be causing them anxiety.
Do you constantly worry about everyday events, activities, and social activities? Everyone worries about these things to some extent, but for some people the worry becomes overwhelming and constant, which is a sign of anxiety levels being too high.
Do you constantly check to make sure you’ve done something right? Whether it’s obsessively checking the same portion of an assignment over and over again or going back to make sure you’ve locked the door even though you already checked, constantly checking to make sure you’ve done things right is a sign that you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Are you unable to function normally because of fear and panic? If just talking to friends or taking a test causes so much anxiety that you have trouble functioning or feel the need to shut down, it’s time to get help learning how to manage your anxiety.
What Can I Do About Anxiety?
If you suffer from the symptoms listed above, you probably feel like your anxiety is too overwhelming to control. Thankfully, that isn’t the case at all. Just because you have more trouble processing and coping with anxiety than most people doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to manage your stress in healthier ways. Treatments for excess anxiety in teens include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy
By finding the right combination of tools that help each teen deal with their feelings of anxiety, it is possible for people suffering from too much anxiety to live normal, happy lives.
Here at Sage Alliance, we provide children and teens with therapeutic education that transforms and gives students the tools they need to grow and develop. Our therapeutic schools create a healthy environment for teens with anxiety disorders that helps them cope with their problems, while still giving them the full high school experience.
Want to be notified of new articles and resources from Sage Alliance? Click here to submit your email and opt into our newsletter.