When To Seek Professional Help
If you do not see sufficient improvement in your child or teens anxiety, it may be time to seek additional support from a professional counselor or therapist.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is most commonly recommended for treating anxiety in children and teens. CBT works by changing the way your child thinks in order to modify their dysfunctional behaviors and emotions. The treatment works best when you find the most suitable therapist for your child.
While CBT can be effective when working directly with the child, parents may also be included in this approach. CBT with younger children is often most useful when it focuses on the behavioral aspects of anxiety. The skills learned in therapy can provide valuable coping mechanisms for children and teens to rely on throughout their adult life.
Anxiety Disorders in Children Tips and treatment options.
Brighter futures for anxious kids The latest ways to treat and prevent anxiety among children and adolescents.
How Anxiety Affects Teenagers Signs of anxiety in adolescents, and how theyre different from anxious children.
Hotlines and support
NAMI Helpline Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264.
Support Groups List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa.
Anxiety UK Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774.
Key Points How To Cope With Teen Anxiety
- Emotions have three parts: thoughts, physical feelings, and behaviours. These parts are interconnected, and any of those parts can be a trigger that starts the anxiety cycle.
- Anxiety, like all emotions, can be adaptive. It protects us from harm in dangerous situations. But, sometimes, the system goes off in the absence of real danger. This feels uncomfortable but is actually harmless as long as you dont start actively avoiding it.
- Anxiety fades if you let it. Emotions are like a wave they peak, and then recede, even if you dont do anything to control or manage them.
- Managing anxiety is about building strategies to change your thoughts , calming your physical reaction , and facing your fears. These strategies are part of cognitive behavioural therapy , a type of therapy that research shows helps to manage anxiety.
- One of the best ways to manage anxiety is to face the things you fear using a strategy called exposure: break down your feared situation into small steps, and practise facing them bit by bit. This helps you cut out avoidance, which feeds anxiety long-term.
What To Do When Things Escalate
Two of the greatest risks for teens with anxiety are 1) battling depression as well, and 2) utilizing unhealthy or blatantly self-destructive coping mechanisms. Co-morbid depression increases the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. One of the most common self-destructive coping mechanisms in teens is the use of alcohol or drugs. Substances impair judgment, can cause erratic behavior, and may increase the risk of acting on suicidal thoughts. Any of these can cause things to escalate gradually or quickly, compromising your teens and possibly others safety. If this occurs, dont hesitate to reach out for help. You can:
- Contact your childs treatment provider asap
- Enlist the help of a close family member or friend for immediate support or assistance
- Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room
- Call 911
Also Check: How To Distract Yourself From Anxiety
Anxiety In Teens: Disorders Symptoms And Treatment
Anxiety in teens can be common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, its estimated that close to 32% of teens aged 13-18 will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
It may be a difficult topic to discuss, but avoiding the topic wont make it go away. Helping an anxious teen understand how to manage their stress can teach them to navigate things theyll likely face throughout adolescence, and even into adulthood. Its important to also understand the differences between anxiety and other mental health conditions, like anxiety vs. depression, to diagnose and manage each correctly.
Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
Don’t Miss: What Causes Anxiety Disorders To Develop
What Goes On In The Teen Years That May Trigger Anxiety Or Depression
Ginty Butler: Whether its gender identity or separating from parents and attaching to a peer group, the teen years are a time when kids are figuring out who they are. Fitting in can be a big source of stress for teens. Meanwhile, their bodies are changing and theyre becoming more aware of how they and their peers are affected by real-world issues such as climate change and racial injustice. It can be a lot for teens to deal with.
OBrien: Teens in this country are under a lot of pressure to excel socially, academically, and in numerous extracurricular activities. Many are also living with the stress of family conflict and financial uncertainty. If they dont have a way to take a break, stress escalates and makes it harder for them to enjoy the activities theyre involved in.
Some Anxiety Disorders Cause Unique Behavior
Most anxiety disorders are considered generalized with behavior like that described above. But some are unique:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder : He constantly obsesses about his safety or about germs. He may wash his hands excessively, check the locks and blows out candles over and over, perform tasks in a certain order and get upset if the order is disrupted.
- Panic disorder: She panics for no apparent reason, with symptoms that include difficulty breathing, pounding heart, dizziness, numbness.
- Phobia: He has intense fear of things that arent necessarily dangerous, like heights, dogs, airplanes, social situations.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder : She cant shake a traumatic experience and has flashbacks, nightmares, irrational fears and avoids similar events.
Read Also: How Many People Suffer From Anxiety
Knowing The First Steps To Take To Treat Teen Anxiety
If you believe your teen may be suffering from GAD, the first steps you should take are to:
1 Talk to your teen. Let your teen know that you have some genuine concerns about things youve been noticing. Clarify that you want to help in any way you can and that youre available and willing to listen.
Dont be surprised if your teen denies having a problem, gets a bit defensive, or pushes you away and accuses you of worrying too much or being over-protective. Often, this is due to a teens embarrassment or shame regarding the anxiety he or she is experiencing. Avoid judgment, criticism, and shaming your teen, as those will only make things worse and close off the channels of communication.
2 Have your teen evaluated. Since anxiety disorders arent uncommon in children and adolescents, your childs pediatrician can be a good place to start. He or she can do an initial evaluation and physical exam, which can rule out any underlying medical issues that may be contributing to or exacerbating the symptoms your teen is experiencing.
Its highly recommended to have your teen evaluated by a mental health professional, preferably a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in treating children and adolescents.
Your family doctor or pediatrician may be able to give you a referral or recommendation.
Medications for generalized anxiety disorder may include:
If your teen requires medication for GAD it is highly recommended that it be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist.
How To Help Teens With School Anxiety
Treatment for school anxiety in teens may first be sought through the family doctor. The doctor will check the teen for any health issues that may explain the anxiety symptoms. A thorough exam and lab work is usually the first step in looking into what is causing the symptoms. If there is no health problem noted, the teen will be referred to a mental health provider.
Many teens respond well to CBT and exposure therapy, which can help them change their thought patterns. But if therapy does not help their symptoms, the teen may benefit from a teen inpatient program. These offer a much more focused and tailored approach to treating teen school anxiety.
The inpatient setting will be designed just for teens. They will participate in group social skills training and role-playing activities that can help them learn coping skills. Other holistic methods used in the program can help them learn how to reduce stress. With a custom treatment plan, the teen will be able to overcome their school-related anxiety.
Also Check: How To Help Someone With Anxiety Over Text
Treatment Works: The Sooner The Better
Evidence indicates that clinical anxiety disorders that go untreated become chronic and progressive. This means that, in the absence of professional support and care, they may last a long time. And rather than resolving on their own, they frequently get worse. In addition, the symptoms of anxiety may subside for months or years. Then, they may recur during times of stress or trauma. A teen who never learns the skills to manage their symptoms during adolescence may have a harder time learning those skills during adulthood. Its certainly possible to learn to manage anxiety as an adult: we dont dispute that. However, any adult reading this article understands the difficulties inherent in unlearning habitual patterns of emotion, thought, and behavior that may have taken decades to establish themselves.
Thats why its important to address any mental health, behavioral, or emotional disorder including anxiety earlier rather than later. A teen with clinical anxiety can learn the necessary tools to manage their symptoms now. Once they have these tools, theyll be at their fingertips for the rest of adolescence, into early adulthood, and beyond.
Mothers And Sons: Being A Godly Influence
Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.
You May Like: How Can You Help Someone With Social Anxiety
Connecting Teen Depression And Anxiety
As an anxiety expert, I often talk to teens who are also depressed. Why?
Because an untreated anxiety disorder in a child is one of the top predictors of developing depression as a teen or young adult, a fact that most teens and parents are unaware of. And because anxiety is the chief mental health complaint of young people, itâs not surprising that rates of depression in teens is increasing.
Adolescence is often the time when longer term issues with anxiety and worry become more intense and isolating. The challenges of social life and increased academic pressures push kids toward brand new experiences and responsibilities, along with the shadow side of hesitation and insecurity.
Specific learning difficulties can surface as students take on more complicated tasks or have to speak up in class. Sports become more demanding, and hormones can wreak havoc with appearance. Whether social, intellectual or physical, anything can serve as a source of worry.
Teens are caught between wanting to achieve and being afraid of failing, of wanting to belong and fearing rejection.
When teens believe they wonât measure up or when they expect rejection, they withdraw.
No degree of reassurance or encouragement seems to be enough, because you canât give your teen what sheâs looking for: a guarantee that everything will turn out perfectly.
Levels Of Care Offered
Newport Academy is a different type of teen anxiety rehab. We provide a full continuum of care, including adolescent residential treatment centers and a full suite of outpatient programming, with Partial Hospitalization Programs , Intensive Outpatient Programs , outpatient services, telehealth, and alumni programming. Teens in our residential programs and PHP spend time in the classroom each day, in addition to participating in individual, family, group, and experiential therapy.
Our locations in beautiful natural settings feature on-site gardens, art and music studios, gyms, peaceful spaces for yoga and meditation, and academic classrooms and Learning Labs outfitted with the latest technology. Because trauma-informed care extends to every aspect of treatment, all of our program locations provide safe, comfortable, home-like environments where teens can relax, open up about their mental health struggles, and bond with peers and mentors.
Don’t Miss: What’s Good For Depression And Anxiety
Navigating A Toxic Culture With Your Daughter
As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social mediaand many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism
Reaching More Children With Technology
Psychologists are also exploring ways to deliver social anxiety interventions to a wider audience. One way is through internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy , which allows children and others in therapy to get immediate access to evidence-based interventions. The interventions are delivered largely via computer, with varying degrees of mental health practitioner involvement.
Were able to get places easier and provide evidence-based content to a wider audience than we would ever be able to with traditional face-to-face interventions, says clinical psychologist Muniya Khanna, PhD, founder and director of the OCD & Anxiety Institute in Pennsylvania and a research scientist at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.
Kendall and Khanna have also developed an empirically supported online training program for parents of anxious youth and a free informational website for parents and professionals who work with anxious youth and their families .
Recommended Reading: Can Anxiety Cause Nausea And Diarrhea