Does your teenager seem to worry constantly about “what if” scenarios?
Is your teen avoiding people or places that trigger anxiety and tension?
Does your teen exhibit perfectionist tendencies that get in the way of his or her functioning?
Does your teenager easily become embarrassed or self-conscious and subsequently withdraw from social situations?
Do you wish you knew how to help your teen make good choices, become more confident and feel better about taking initiative?
The adolescent years are challenging. Teenagers are faced with physical and hormonal changes, an expanding social environment, and more freedom and choices to navigate – all while struggling to gain independence from mom and dad. While some teenagers manage these transitions and increased responsibilities well, others struggle. Worry, anxiety and even panic can all ensue.
High levels of anxiety are extremely uncomfortable for teens and can damage both their physical and emotional well being. If you suspect that your child may be experiencing heightened anxiety, it’s important to address your teen’s symptoms early on so that they do not persist or worsen into adulthood.
Many teenagers experience heightened anxiety.
We live in a culture that places so much emphasis on achievement and success. For many teenagers, the striving toward perfection and high achievement begin during the adolescent years. Many teens take on rigorous schoolwork and numerous extracurricular activities in an attempt to be considered for the top, highly competitive colleges. With high achievement often comes heightened anxiety. And, because these teens are oftentimes very high functioning, their anxiety may be masked until it becomes debilitating.
Because anxiety disorders manifest differently from teen to teen and may be concealed by high-functioning teens, it can be hard to determine if your child is suffering from anxiety. There are, however, several classic symptoms to be aware of. If your teen is suffering from persistent irritability; has a noticeable decrease in self-esteem; is suddenly avoiding certain people, places or situations; is preoccupied with fears and self-doubt, or is quick to snap, cry or withdraw, he or she may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. In addition, some teens experience anxiety through physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle aches and insomnia.
Therapy can help your teen learn coping skills to manage stress and anxiety.
Teen anxiety counseling can be highly effective for treating the anxiety disorders commonly experienced in adolescence. Therapy can provide your child with a safe, supportive and nonjudgmental space to identify, explore and address difficult, stressful and/or conflicting emotions. In therapy, your teen can confide in his or her therapist about sensitive and private thoughts or feelings that he or she may be uncomfortable sharing in other environments.
At Cartersville Counseling & Therapy, we can help your teen learn to manage the adolescent brain and the underlying thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that contribute to his or her experience of anxiety. Your teen can identify emotional triggers and any self-limiting beliefs and behaviors that are causing him or her to withdraw, avoid certain situations or act out.
Your teen can also address social and academic stresses and learn how to replace destructive, obsessive worries with more realistic and positive thoughts and actions. Your therapist can also help your teen examine any avoidance issues and encourage him or her to take a more active and empowering role in his or her life. Your teen can learn calming and stress reduction techniques, which can help him or her cope better with overwhelming feelings and situations now and in the future.
You may be worried about your child right now, but things can get better. With the right therapist and approach, it is possible for your teenager to experience less anxiety while developing more self-awareness and self-compassion. Your teen can set more realistic goals, be less self-critical and shift black and white thinking into shades of grey.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
My teenager seems stressed at times and I’m worried, but I’m not sure if the problem is serious enough to warrant therapy.
Trust your gut. No one knows your child better than you do, so if you’re concerned that a problem may exist, there’s a good chance that you’re correct. The problem with teen anxiety is that it is often masked until it becomes serious and debilitating. Talking with a therapist who is trained to treat teen anxiety disorders can provide a great deal of insight, information and relief. A therapist can also help to determine if your child is experiencing normal teenage angst, or if there are underlying issues that need to be addressed.