Effective Strategies to Deal with Teens Anxiety
Raising a teenager can be difficult, especially in today's world, where social media dominates and news headlines are full of anxiety-inducing events. With so much information readily available, it's no wonder that teenagers often feel overwhelmed, anxious, and out of control.
To effectively manage teen anxiety, parents should practice sober living habits, build self-confidence and teach coping skills, and involve teens in activities that bring them hope and inspiration. Fortunately, there are practical strategies parents can practice to help teens manage their worries and build practical problem-solving skills necessary for adulthood.
In this blog post, we'll explore how to support teens when feeling anxious and helpful tips to reduce stress levels so they can live happy and healthy lives.
Understanding Anxiety and How It Manifests in Teens
Anxiety disorders are becoming increasingly common in teens, and it is essential to understand anxiety to help those suffering from it. Panic disorder is an extreme form of anxiety that can cause even more severe mental health issues and physical reactions like sweating, paleness, and trembling.
Severe anxiety can manifest in adolescents as irritability, fear of being judged, mood swings, and physical complaints. Anxious teenagers often become easily frustrated, feel overwhelmed, and may lack motivation for school or extracurricular activities.
As parents, we should be aware of our own anxiety and how to recognize it in our kids so we can help them manage their anxiety for a healthier future.
Some of the physical symptoms and warning signs of anxiety include:
Losing control is a sign of chronic anxiety often caused by a fear of the unknown that they do not possess the tools necessary to handle any given situation.
Panic attacks are concerning symptoms of anxiety with other signs such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and an inability to stay calm.
Difficulty Concentrating is a common symptom of anxiety in which people find it harder to focus on tasks that require thoughtful processing.
Recurring Fears may be a sign of anxiety disorder. It's important to recognize when recurring fears have become overwhelming and take steps to manage them.
Declining Academic Performance is a sign of anxiety in many students, which can be seen through their prolonged lack of motivation and decreased efficiency in completing tasks.
A rapid Heartbeat can be an indicator of anxiety. Those with anxiety might experience their heart racing much faster than usual and sometimes find it difficult to control the increase in speed.
Ways to Deal With Teen Anxiety
Teenagers are highly vulnerable to mental health problems, especially panic attacks and anxiety disorders. School, family, relationships, and technology stress can lead to mental disorders such as depression. Research has highlighted the positive effect of limiting excess screen time and finding natural outlets such as sports to foster physical and psychological well-being.
Fortunately, there are measures to prevent anxiety that parents and teens can take to deal with this increase in mood disorders.
Identify the Type of Anxiety Your Teen is Experiencing
Identifying the type of anxiety your teen is experiencing can be difficult for various reasons, as symptoms of anxiety can range from physical uneasiness and racing thoughts to more complex issues such as school avoidance and eating disorders.
Some common types of anxiety in teens are as follows:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Separation anxiety disorder
Talk to Your Teen About Their Anxiety and Help Them Understand It
Anxiety can have far-reaching effects, from decreased social interaction to impacting self-esteem and overall well-being. The greatest gift we can give our teenagers is helping them better understand anxiety. Discuss anxiety symptoms with them, but be sure to adjust accordingly for younger children who likely won't understand as much or have more extreme anxiety than older teens.
Create a Stress-free Environment for Your Teen at Home
A child's anxiety can be easily exacerbated by seeing their peers on social media posts who have an entirely different lifestyle than the child sees in reality. Creating a stress-free environment for your teen at home can positively impact children's mental health.
Young people often experience persistent worry and anxiety, so fostering an atmosphere of acceptance and support in the home can help reduce excessive worry and help them share any concerns they have in life.
Encourage Your Teen to Get Regular Exercise and Plenty of Sleep
As a parent, it is essential to help foster normal development in your teenager. Regular exercise and sufficient sleep can help establish coping strategies that help alleviate anxiety in anxious teens.
Exercise and extracurricular activities have been shown to reduce stress levels, improve concentration and boost physical fitness, all areas that can be helpful during the physical and mental development of a young person.
Help Them Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms, Such as Journaling or Deep Breathing Exercises
As physical health is central to physical and mental well-being, helping anxious children develop healthy coping mechanisms is critical. Anxiety in teens can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pains, stomach aches, or fatigue.
Journaling or deep breathing exercises can help them process their emotions, practice mindfulness techniques, and gain more insight into their feelings.
Seek Professional Help if the Anxiety is Severe or Persistent
Teen anxiety is a growing epidemic, especially with standardized testing and other pressures. Seeking professional help allows for treating anxiety disorders more effectively and promptly. A mental health professional usually prescribes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat depression and anxiety disorders in teens.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on how thoughts, behavior, and emotions interact and can be used as a successful form of treatment for various forms of anxiety.
For teens looking for CBT, the Child Mind Institute offers cognitive behavioral therapy with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers specializing in adolescent psychiatry.
The prevalence of untreated anxiety among teens cannot be ignored. Studies have shown that untreated teenage anxiety often leads to addiction and substance abuse, making it essential for parents, teachers, and guardians to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with teen anxiety.
If a teen is struggling with persistent fear or distress, they should reach out to a clinical psychologist who can guide them through practical strategies to deal with their anxiety.
According to numerous studies, the lifetime prevalence of childhood and adolescent anxiety is estimated to be around 20-30%. Parents must equip their teenagers with proper education on social skills as this has been shown to reduce the risk of developing an anxiety disorder in many teens.
It's also essential for parents to assess how their teen will handle additional pressure created by college admissions or auditions, as this can affect the teen's confidence.