Being a parent is hard and it can feel even more demanding when our children face difficulties. As parents, we want to fix things for our children and prevent them from struggling too much. The teen years can seem particularly difficult, and you might feel like you’re in the deep end of the parenting pool. You may wonder how to tell the difference between anxiety and typical teenage angst. Knowing the signs of anxiety in teens can help you decipher your teen’s behavior and decide if it’s time to seek help. While feelings of anxiety and being anxious are a ‘normal’ human emotion, anxiety disorder can be absolutely debilitating.  

At Thrive Treatment, we understand the challenges parents face when raising a teenager and we are here to help you navigate the challenging teen years. When you feel like the weight of the parenting world is on your shoulders and need some answers, we are here for you! 

Anxiety in Teens Explained

While nearly everyone feels anxious at some time in their life, anxiety that persists can become an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about an event or situation. Your teen might be worried about an upcoming exam, an athletic tryout, or starting a new school. It is considered “normal” to feel anxious about a lot of these situations. These feelings often come with physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, and tension in the body. Anxiety isn’t always bad; sometimes, it can serve to alert us positively. However, if these feelings continue for an extended time and start to affect daily activities, there may be cause for concern. 

Signs of Anxiety in Teens

Differentiating between your teen simply exhibiting standard teen behavior and showing signs of anxiety can be difficult. Almost all teens are somewhat self-conscious. However, if that fear becomes overwhelming and prevents them from participating in activities, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Most teens are also happy to spend time away from their parents. So if your teen suddenly is fearful about being away from you, it might be time to ask some questions. You know your child better than anyone else, so if you are trying to learn about the signs of teen anxiety, that’s a sign. It’s crucial as a parent to trust your instincts. 

While panic attacks are a more outward sign of anxiety, other symptoms might be an indicator. Anxiety can manifest as restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep difficulties. You might also notice a change in academic performance, withdrawal from activities, and changes in friendships.  Anxiety may also be accompanied by depression or other mental health disorders. Sadly, anxiety disorders affect girls more than boys. Moreover, teens with anxiety or other mental health disorders are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with these emotions. This increased likeliness to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism is just one reason why it is vital to recognize and address the signs of anxiety in your teen. 

How To Get My Teen Help With Anxiety

Communication is key here. If you think your teen is struggling with anxiety, you’ll want to open up a line of communication with them. If they aren’t ready to talk about their struggles, that’s ok. Let them know that help is available and keep an eye on them. 

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different treatment modalities to help your teen break cope with anxiety.  Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we integrate relational and behavioral therapies. We believe in a holistic approach and utilize holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put your teen on the path to emotional well-being.  

If your teen’s anxiety has taken over, we’re here to help. We can provide you with a tailored plan that blends modern and traditional practices. With treatment for your teen and your family, we’re here to support you through this journey. Contact us today and let us help your family!  

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