Anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations, but feeling anxious always is unhealthy. Today’s teens report higher levels of persistent anxiety than ever before. Adults often make the mistake of downplaying teen anxiety, which can be dangerous. Because teens physically look like adults, they are often expected to take on adult responsibilities. Many adults forget that teens’ brains are not yet fully formed, and they usually do not have the experience or skills to manage things the way they are expected to.
As specialists in teen mental health, we at Imagine Nampa understand the challenges teens face and the impacts of chronic anxiety on their current and future well-being. We know that teen anxiety differs from adult anxiety and have curated our anxiety treatment program to meet the unique needs of teens. Reach out online or call 208.203.8574 to learn how our programs can help your teen and family.
Signs of Anxiety in Teens
It is not always easy to discern when typical teen stress crosses the line into anxiety symptoms. Most teens will show signs of anxiety before a test, sports event, class presentation, first date, or social event. However, teens with anxiety disorders exhibit persistently high anxiety levels in most areas of life, including routine daily events.
Stress and anxiety can manifest in numerous ways, and some anxiety symptoms mimic typical teen behavior, making it harder for parents, caregivers, and teens themselves to identify a deeper issue.
Teens and adults need to know what to look for in signs of anxiety in teens, such as:
- Behavioral changes – Look for changes in self-care, eating and sleeping habits, and resistance to or avoidance of everyday responsibilities and activities.
- Physical changes – Look for frequent complaints of fatigue, headaches, stomachaches, or general aches and pains. While teens with anxiety often feign illness, they also actually get sick more often.
- Emotional changes – Look for unexplained emotional outbursts, irritability, restlessness, inappropriate anger, or apathy.
- Cognitive changes – Look for forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, poor decision-making skills, decreases in grades, or carelessness in attending to daily tasks.
By all accounts, teen anxiety is on the rise. Mental health experts point to circumstances such as increased pressure to succeed in school, the toll of social media on self-esteem, school shootings, climate change, and a society that feels unstable as contributing factors.
What Are the Most Common Anxiety Triggers for Teens?
Research indicates that a combination of genetic makeup, neurobiological factors, and life circumstances increase the likelihood of teen anxiety disorders. Many teens who experienced anxiety in childhood will develop anxiety disorders in adolescence, but the sources of anxiety will change. Younger children tend to experience anxiety over external factors like insects, darkness, or monsters. Teen anxiety tends to be more internal, focusing on their body image, school performance, or how peers perceive them.
Anxiety affects everyone differently, but common anxiety triggers for teens include:
- Academic stress
- Family discord
- World events
- Traumatic experiences
- Peer pressure
- Significant life changes
- Identity issues
- Hormonal changes
- Parental disapproval
- Experimentation with drugs and alcohol
According to reports from the American Psychological Association (APA), many teens report lying awake at night, over-eating or eating unhealthy foods, or skipping meals in response to stress and anxiety. While most teens acknowledge high anxiety levels, they diminish the impact anxiety has on their physical and mental well-being.
Turn to Imagine Nampa for Teen Anxiety Support
Teens with anxiety disorders face challenges that impact them mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally daily. Anxiety symptoms can range from mild to severe, but all are disruptive. Teens with mild anxiety can rely on lifestyle changes and self-help techniques to manage stress. However, an anxiety treatment program is the best course for teens whose anxiety symptoms interfere with everyday life.
At Imagine Nampa, we provide comprehensive outpatient mental health treatment for teens ages 12-17 in a safe, inclusive, and supportive setting. If your teen struggles with anxiety, we can help them and your family. Reach out to us online or call 208.203.8574 to learn about the benefits of our anxiety treatment program for teens.