Teenagers and Anxiety

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(Last Updated On: September 10, 2015)

The most common disorders teenagers face are anxiety disorders. Now you might think, what if anything do teenagers have to worry about? All they have to do is go to school, and some may work; but that’s it. The reality is that teenagers experience social issues with friends, look for acceptance from their peer groups, face bullying, cyber-bullying, school work challenges, and some worry about their parents or siblings.

Believe it or not, teenagers sometimes try to fix situations within their family and end up internalizing things which invariably affect their mindset and sometimes their physical wellbeing. They might even feel guilty and worry about the stress they place on their parents. It is normal to worry about life issues. However, when worry becomes excessive and thoughts are intrusive, these should be treated as major issues that need to be resolved.

For teens to deals with anxiety, their mind and body should work together. The body obtains its cues from the mind. If the mind is in distress then the body can’t rest.

Joe’s mother often comes home late from work. He thinks the very worse, that she has gotten into a car accident and is in a ditch. Joe’s heart begins to beat fast, his leg shakes, and he begins to sweat. The body sensations are caused by the thought.

Other anxiety symptoms are: muscle tension, fatigue, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, edginess, headaches, digestive issues, chest pain, numbness, tingling in hand, feeling hot or dizziness.


The Types of Anxiety that Teenagers can struggle with are:

*Generalized Anxiety – excessive worry about things where there is little to or no reason to be concerned.

*Social Anxiety – excessive fear of being in social settings. The person feels judged or that they will be humiliated by others.

*Agoraphobia – avoidance of situations or places where they previously had a panic attack. This is common when a teenager had to make a presentation and was so fearful and had a panic attack. It is now time to make another presentation and they hide in the bathroom out of fear that they will have another panic attack.

*Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – a traumatic event has occurred that disables one’s ability to cope affecting them emotionally, mentally, physically, or socially. An example could be a teenager that was involved in a horrible car accident and no longer desires to drive and has intrusive flashbacks.

*OCD – excessive thoughts (obsession) than can lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions)

According to the Child Mind Institute Mental Health Report, 80% of kids that are diagnosed with anxiety are not getting treatment. Yet, anxiety is a serious condition that must be addressed. Sometimes parents will state, “Well they are just like me.” That is not a reason for your teenager that is displaying anxiety issues to go untreated.

If you know that talking to a therapist can provide strategies to help them in life why not do it? Excessive worrying is not normal and should really be addressed. If not dealt with, it can spill over into ones adult life. You want the teenagers in your life to be well equipped to handle life’s many challenges. So it is best to learn strategies now rather than later. Invest in your loved ones. You wont regret it.

Sonya Waddell is a Licensed Professional Counselor right outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of “Single Ladies: Living Holy in a Sexy World” which can be purchased on Amazon.

Teenagers and Anxiety