Anxiety is a normal emotional reaction in response to stressful situations. As is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) anxiety is “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” While fleeting anxiety is unavoidable, it is not healthy for an adolescent to experience persistent and debilitating symptoms of anxiety. A child may be struggling with an anxiety disorder when pervasive anxiety interferes with his or her ability to function socially, occupationally, and/ or educationally in daily life. At any given time, one in eight adolescents meet the clinical criteria for an anxiety disorder. The Child Mind Institute has pointed out that, unfortunately, nearly 80% of young people with anxiety go untreated.
Although all children will experience anxiety, there are several warning signs that can help distinguish the difference between typical adolescent anxiety and symptoms that may be indicative of an anxiety disorder. While each type of anxiety disorder has its own respective set of symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides examples of some of the more general signs and symptoms that span across most anxiety disorders, including, but not limited to, any combination of the following:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Behavioral problems
- Excessive worry
- Strong startle response
- Fear of being alone
- Nail biting
- Frequent urination and/ or bedwetting
- Overreaction to stressors (e.g., irrational anger, aggressive outburst, etc.)
- Social isolation
- Avoiding previously enjoyed pastimes
If there is any concern that a child may be exhibiting atypical behavior, it is generally best to err on the side of caution and consult a professional to ensure the teenager’s safety. There is a vast network of highly qualified mental health providers that have expert knowledge and extensive experience in treating adolescents struggling with anxiety.
Further Information and Support
For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.