Teen and Adolescent Anxiety

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a sense of fear and worry that something is wrong. These feelings are common in people of all ages and backgrounds. An anxiety disorder is a persistent, excessive,  irrational worry that often leads to nervousness, stress, and apprehension. These emotions can consume people’s lives, making it hard to function. When a teen or adolescent is suffering from anxiety, the impact has a ripple effect on the family. Parents may grow increasingly frustrated with their child’s anxious behaviors, which may exacerbate their symptoms. Teen and Adolescent Anxiety

Early intervention can treat and even prevent a great deal of anxiety, which has the obvious and important benefit of improving adolescent well-being. Unfortunately, diagnosis of anxiety increases with age, so it is more common for teenagers to have anxiety than adolescents, highlighting the importance of early mental health treatment and intervention. 

What are some common types of teen/adolosecent anxiety?

Agoraphobia – An anxiety disorder where you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Involves persistent worry that preoccupies the mind making it difficult to relax. You might feel that your mind continuously moves from one fear to the next while expecting the worst.

Panic Disorder – An anxiety disorder involving repeated episodes of sudden and intense panic and fear. Symptoms include feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart palpitations.

Separation Anxiety Disorders – A childhood disorder characterized by excessive anxiety and panic resulting from a child’s separation from parental guardians. 

Social Anxiety – An anxiety disorder in which you experience high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents and Teenagers

  • Some children are born anxious and less able to cope with stress
  • Anxiety after stressful events
  • Parents fighting/separation/divorce
  • Death of a close relative or friend
  • Being abused or neglected
  • School-related issues such as challenging exams
  • Bullying

Symptoms of Anxiety in Teens and Adolescents

  • Sleep Difficulties
  • Dysfunctional Eating Patterns
  • Tearfulness/Crying 
  • Complaining of not feeling well
  • Constantly worrying or having negative thoughts
  • Quickly getting angry or being out of control
  • Feeling tense
  • Constantly fidgeting 

How can therapy for adolescent/teen anxiety help?

Teen and adolescent anxiety can have a detrimental impact on proper growth and development. Thankfully, therapy can help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-researched and empirically supported anxiety treatment for adolescents and teenagers that can help provide the relief that your teen or adolescent craves and the peace of mind you seek. CBT is a solution-based anxiety treatment that provides coping skills that your teen or adolescent can use long after the conclusion of therapy, including in situations they may face daily.

In addition, an anxiety diagnosis will provide the framework for a parent to better understand their adolescents’ behaviors in a way they may not have before, allowing them to participate in their child’s healing. The parent’s role is an essential part of anxiety treatment for children, and it is vital for parents to feel empowered to understand the therapeutic process. 

If your teen or adolescent’s anxiety has become a disruptive force in their life and yours, it is probably time to seek help. Unfortunately, adolescents and teenagers do not know how to cope with anxiety, so cognitive behavioral therapy is the tool they need!

What are my next steps?

If you are ready to seek anxiety treatment for your child, contact Washington Psychological Wellness today. Our therapists will work at your child’s pace to help sort through the underlying causes that are likely to maintain your child’s anxiety symptoms while encouraging a strength-based focus for self-empowerment. For adolescents and teenagers, therapy is a great tool that can help your child open up about what is going on in their mind. We aim to guide and facilitate you through the process of self-discovery and to spark your internal resources, insight, and ability to grow and heal.

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