Anxiety is a normal emotion, but only when felt in amounts that are manageable. For some people, feelings of anxiety can become so overwhelming that they are no longer able to function normally. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to troubles with anxiety, which is made worse by the fact that many cases go undiagnosed or untreated. When teens are suffering from an anxiety disorder, it can negatively affect their mood, their social life, their performance in school, and every other aspect of their life. In order to overcome these feelings, teenagers with anxiety disorders need the care and support of those around them.
What Does Anxiety Look Like?
An anxiety disorder can manifest in several ways. Some of the behaviors associated with anxiety disorders include:
- Aches and pains
- Gastrointestinal issues
- High blood pressure or heart palpitations
- Trouble paying attention
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Self-harm and purposefully dangerous behavior
In many cases, anxiety is not the only issue. 30% of anxiety disorders are also paired with a diagnosis of depression or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. While one or more of these symptoms alone may not be a sure sign of an anxiety disorder, many of them appearing together or being so overwhelming that they interfere with a teen’s ability to function normally are signs that they may need medical attention.
What Can Parents Do?
The first thing parents who suspect their teen is suffering from anxiety should do is get a professional opinion. If you are worried about your teen’s behavior, or if your teen says that they think they need help, it is important to begin the process by consulting with a psychologist, clinical social worker or other mental health professional who can come up with a proper diagnosis.
Another thing that parents should keep in mind is that anxiety is not something that teens can just “get over.” Having an anxiety disorder is not a matter of lack of willpower or going through a phase – it is a serious medical condition that requires proper care, careful management, and a supportive environment. When teens are feeling emotions that they are having trouble dealing with, being told that their emotions are not real or aren’t really a problem can be especially harmful, as teenagers are still learning how to properly process adult emotions.
The exact treatment for anxiety is different in each case, and will depend on the extent of the disorder and how your teen deals with emotions in general. While many teens can learn to manage their anxiety with therapy and support from friends and family, others may require additional help. If anxiety is causing them to fall behind in school or have trouble bonding with other teenagers, it may even be beneficial for your teen to attend a therapeutic school, where they can learn in an environment that is supportive of their emotional needs.
Sage Day is a therapeutic school for students who need extra educational and emotional support, and a welcoming environment where teens can grow, make friends, and learn to manage their anxiety. If anxiety is preventing your son or daughter from succeeding, Sage Day can provide them with the attention they need to develop into fully functioning adults. Learn more by contacting us today at 877-887-8817.