Anxiety in teens is something that is cause for concern among parents. Like stress, anxiety is a normal reaction to any situation that we personally find uncomfortable or nerve-racking, but, while a certain level of anxiety is normal, excessive anxiety, also known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, is abnormal and can have a negative impact on nearly every aspect of your teen’s life. Below you will find some of the most important basic facts about anxiety in teens:
Its effects can be terrible.
Depending on its severity, anxiety has the potential to effectively paralyze your teen. Teens who are constantly anxious often find it difficult to engage in normal activities because they perceive these activities to be too risky. Teens who suffer from anxiety disorders usually become very overwhelmed by what most of us consider to be regular, everyday activities, such as going out with friends, driving across town, or participating in class discussions or work meetings. Over time, this can have a tremendous impact on your teen’s social life, self esteem, performance in school, and their overall mental health.
It’s easy to spot.
Fortunately for parents, the signs of teen anxiety are quite obvious. Anxiety over something specific and common, such as a test or first date, is completely understandable and should generally not be cause for concern – unless, of course, that anxiety becomes excessive. If your teen makes excuses against leaving for school on the day of the test, for example, then they could suffer from excessive anxiety. Constant and unexplainable anxiety should absolutely not be ignored. If your teen often expresses worry or fear about routine activities, consistently freezes or seizes up in stressful situations, or suffers from panic attacks, then they could very well have an anxiety disorder.
Treatment is usually very effective.
One of the upsides about anxiety in teens is that it’s usually very easy to treat, and a full turnaround is often possible. A variety of medications are available, but you and your teen also have several alternative treatments to choose from. Sessions with a therapist are usually very effective, and these sessions can gradually help your teen learn how to deal with their anxiety issues independently. Alternatively, studies have shown that meditation and meditative movement, such as yoga and Tai Chi, serve to quiet the mind and calm worries. Aerobic exercise has also been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so this is another viable alternative.
For parents of teens who suffer from anxiety, know that there is hope for your son or daughter. The effects of an anxiety disorder in teens can be awful and far-reaching, but the signs of such a disorder are easy to spot, so parents should have a relatively easy time determining whether or not their teen is suffering from excessive anxiety. If you do decide that your teen needs help, treatment for anxiety disorders – whether medication-based or more natural – is usually very effective.