Adolescence and anxiety. Both start with A, but that’s not the end of it. If you’ve an anxious teen in the house, you’ll know it’s a worrying time for them and you both.
Just like adults, teens can feel the pinch and suffer from stress and anxiety too. For instance… a teen in their final year of high school with heavy-duty exams, the pressures of impending post-school pathways plus the added wranglings of adolescence will probably find plenty of reasons to experience some stress and anxiety.
It would actually be concerning if they didn’t.
But normal situational pressure, like the Year 12 stress above, is not what I’m meaning here.
An anxious teen can experience the discomfort of worry and stress in situations where many of their peers wouldn’t flinch. It’s known if either parent has experienced clinical anxiety, a young person can have an increased likelihood of the same. Anxiety disorders can be hereditary (but that’s not to say expected) so if you feel your teen may be at risk, it certainly makes sense to be aware of what’s happening in their lives and how they’re coping with it.
Why some teens might become anxious…
Broadly speaking, an anxious teen will most likely have stress factors in their lives that push them towards anxiety, particularly if they are already susceptible. For example factors such as family breakdowns, grief and loss, academic difficulties and even peer pressure can all contribute to a teen feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
And an anxious teen may respond to stress both emotionally and physically.
Symptoms To Notice
Often, the symptoms of teen stress and anxiety can be overlooked as they mirror behaviours most of us associate with normal teen behaviour. If the behaviours seem excessive or become ongoing it’s wise to identify if there’s a problem and deal with the matter to avoid longer term behavioural issues.
Some signs of anxiety and high stress levels include:
- General feelings of uneasiness where something just doesn’t seem even when nothing particularly might be wrong
- Abdominal discomfort without any physical condition
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heartbeat not relating to physical activity
- Shortness of breath not associated with physical exertion
- Frequent need to urinate
- Feelings of tightness in the chest which might sometimes escalate to true pain
- Problems with swallowing
- Insomnia or significantly altered sleeping patterns
- Irritability or anger that seems unfounded
- An overwhelming feeling of just not being in control
- Inability to concentrate on tasks
Some available treatment options
Treatment and help for an anxious teen might involve a number of approaches. Initially identifying and lessening (or removing) pressure is necessary and will make a huge difference.
A doctor can test for correct hormonal levels and to ensure there are no underlying physical causes. Good nutrition… possibly with vitamin supplements, adequate physical activity and practiced relaxation methods can also do wonders for a stressed teen.
Medications to treat severe and clinical anxiety disorders are available and are sometimes used, with caution, in treating teens. There are also herbal remedies which have been shown to treat anxiety effectively.
Treatment options are best discussed with a health professional as soon as possible should you ever be concerned about your teen’s stress and anxiety levels.
Do you experience dealing with an anxious teen? What do they stress about and how do you deal with it?