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Dr. Kim Chronister
Dr. Kim Chronister is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, author, and well-known media commentator having appearances on Access Hollywood, Investigation Discover, NBC News, Women’s Health Magazine, Livestrong, Yahoo! News, and NBC News, among numerous other media outlets. She earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Alliant International University (CSPP). Her current research focuses on family issues, teen behavioral issues, teen substance abuse, mental health, and relationships.
Published By Teen Treatment Program
Published on: Monday August 16, 2021
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Teen Anxiety Treatment
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s normal reaction to stress. It’s an impending sense of dread of what’s to come. The first day at school, interviewing for a job, making a presentation — these are just a few ordinary occasions that may leave us feeling nervous and apprehensive. However, if the feeling of tension is crippling and interfering with your day-to-day activities, or if it just won’t go away with time, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is especially prevalent in school settings, particularly affecting teenagers who feel pressured to keep their grades high above all else. This pressure may stem from family members, classmates, and educators alike. It’s this constant fixation on achieving “greatness” that ends up leading to a feeling of restlessness and general incompetence. While it may be impossible to avoid uncomfortable situations in life, and a certain degree of anxiety is expected, identifying when this issue is getting out of control is paramount to getting proper teenage anxiety treatment.
What Is Teen Anxiety Disorder?
Teen Anxiety Disorder is a common issue that usually manifests in puberty. It is a state of mind that makes teenagers feel an abundance of dread, stress, and uneasiness, leading to them being tense, distracted, and careless. It is an issue that is all too often overlooked or misdiagnosed, prompting other psychological disorders further down the road. With the proper knowledge and tools, a high schooler’s tension can be treated or controlled.
Types Of Anxiety Disorder
1. General Anxiety Disorder.
Those who experience GAD spend numerous hours being stressed. This persistent affliction is all-consuming, often disturbing the daily routine. Ordinary everyday activities can constantly trigger stressful feelings.
2. Panic Disorder
A sensation of looming fear or plights at a moment’s notice could indicate a panic disorder in teens. These episodes of anxiety can trigger an elevated pulse, chest palpitations, breathlessness, unsteadiness, and an upset stomach. Teenagers will frequently be afraid of their next panic attack, forming a vicious circle. There may or may not be a specific situation capable of causing a fit of anxiety. Proper treatment helps to understand the triggers.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder
This is also known as “Social Phobia.” While being nervous in social situations is common for teenagers, feeling intense dread when in the presence of others may be indicative of a mental disorder. They are frequently concerned about saying the “wrong” thing or what others may think of them. This issue makes adolescents retreat from social settings and negatively influences their daily lives.
Symptoms Of Anxiety
The tension may manifest in various ways, depending on the individual experiencing it. It can range from butterflies in their stomach to feeling as if their heart is going to burst. Some may even feel disembodied, detached from themselves. Others have nightmares, alert attacks, and intrusive thoughts or memories. A general sensation of fear and stress, perhaps regarding a specific place or event. One person’s symptoms of anxiety may be very different from somebody else’s. That is why it is essential to know how this uneasiness can manifest. Its effects generally include:
- Accelerated pulse
- Intrusive thoughts
- Trouble concentrating
What Is An Anxiety Attack?
An anxiety attack is an overwhelming feeling of dread, stress, and emotional pain. For some individuals, anxiety gradually builds up over time. It might emerge when an unpleasant occasion draws near. Its numerous symptoms may also change drastically and are usually different depending on the person. A panic attack and an anxiety attack share some effects, but they are different disorders. Common side effects of an anxiety attack include:
- Feeling weak or lightheaded
- Dry mouth
- Chills and shivering
5 Things You Need to Know About Teen Anxiety
(1)Teen anxiety is prevalent.
Stressful and overwhelming situations can trigger anxiety in any teen. The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) survey showed that 31.9% of adolescents had an anxiety disorder, with 8.3% having severe impairments. It is more common among girls (38.0%) than boys (26.1%). Furthermore, all age groups have similar chances of being affected by anxiety, ranging from 31% to 32%.
(2) Anyone, even the bravest, can feel anxiety.
Anxiety has no qualifying traits; even the strongest and bravest people can experience anxiety. It has to do with feelings and emotions. It is a misconception that someone can just “man up and get over it.” Teens experience a roller coaster of emotions as they grow up and try to figure out what is going on with their lives. Different types of stressors, such as school, peers, and family, can trigger anxiety in most teens.
(3) Everyone experiences some degree of anxiety.
It can happen to anyone — all genders and ages, introverted or extroverted. Another misconception is that one has to be clinically diagnosed with anxiety. In truth, anything that is overwhelming and causes excessive fear, worry, or trauma can lead to anxiety. Note that the term “anxiety disorder” means something different. Mental disorders or illnesses have worse effects and might persist longer. That being said, both anxiety and anxiety disorders require immediate intervention from family members or medical professionals.
(4) Teen anxiety is a feeling, not a personality.
Anxiety in teens is a normal response to distressing situations such as piled-up homework, paying bills, a relationship breakup, the death of a loved one, or moving to a new city. It is a feeling of worrying that usually comes and goes, and it does not define one’s personality.
(5) There is a solution to teen anxiety.
Regular teen anxiety can be minimized by trying to talk it through or finding ways to relax, such as going on road trips, doing art sessions, reading books, or even cooking. Solving regular anxiety does not necessarily mean taking medications.
Different Levels of Anxiety
Not all anxiety attacks are harmful. They can even be helpful and motivational in a few cases, depending on the duration and intensity. There are three different levels of anxiety that are defined by the severity of its symptoms: mild, moderate, and severe.
(1) Mild Anxiety — Characterized by its positive outcomes. Mild anxiety increases sensory stimulation, helping a person focus on things that need immediate attention. It motivates someone to make reasonable decisions in difficult situations and empowers them to accomplish goal-oriented activities in a limited timeframe. A common example is when students need to focus on their school activities or study for a major exam right around the corner.
(2) Moderate Anxiety — It makes someone feel constantly worried and agitated that something wrong might be going on. It causes them to lose focus on things that require attention. Although they can still process information and do problem-solving activities, they might struggle to concentrate.
(3) Severe Anxiety or Panic is characterized by having major issues in absorbing information, decision-making, and reasoning. At this level of anxiety, a person’s muscles tighten, vital signs go higher, and adrenaline levels surge. Severe anxiety or panic can also cause someone to pace due to restlessness and irritability.
Moreover, statistics from the NCS-R show that 43.5% of adults experience mild anxiety, 33.7% experience moderate anxiety, and 22.8% experience severe anxiety.
Causes of Teen Anxiety
Several physical and emotional factors can cause anxiety in teens. In a 2020 post, WebMD summarized the 16 most common reasons that cause anxiety, categorized into two major classifications: mental health conditions and external factors.
Mental health conditions
- Panic disorders.
- Generalized anxiety disorders.
- Phobic disorders.
- Stress disorders.
- Personal relationships.
- Global and political issues.
- Unpredictable world circumstances, such as the pandemic.
- Emotional trauma.
- Stress from medical conditions.
- Medication side effects.
- Drug use or addiction.
- Symptoms of serious medical issues, such as heart attack.
- Lack of oxygen due to high altitude, emphysema, or pulmonary embolism.
Furthermore, sleeping and eating habits can have an impact on a teen’s anxiety levels. Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality might cause someone to feel stressed and irritable. Unhealthy eating practices, such as an unbalanced diet and not eating regularly, can also lead to nutrition deficiency in the brain, causing an effect similar to not getting enough sleep.
Are There Tests That Can Diagnose Anxiety?
A simple test can’t diagnose anxiety since there are different levels of anxiety. An anxiety diagnosis requires several face-to-face interactions, emotional wellness assessments, and mental polls. A few specialists may start with basic tests, like blood and urine samples, to identify if other ailments contribute to the disorder. A few anxiety tests and scales are used so the primary care physician can ascertain the degree of anxiety they are experiencing.
Easy and Fun Ways To Reduce Anxiety
The reason why teens feel anxiety isn’t entirely understood. Young ones can feel anxiety for various reasons, including going through unpleasant events, having a personality more prone to anxiety, or dealing with drug addiction or self-harm. Self-medication or alcohol addiction are often inappropriately used to deal with anxiety.
List of Healthy Ways to Reduce Anxiety
- Having a loving relationship, one that is strong and supportive. In the early stages, a reliable mother-child relationship is essential to let kids know that they matter and are deserving of love. Forging new bonds with other guardians or caring grown-ups throughout puberty is also of great importance. Neuroscientists have proven that a healthy neural structure creates steady, fundamental connections when the mind is still being developed.
- Teens accomplish much more when they are not compelled to be “great.” Obtrusive messages about the need to perform well are inescapable in these current times. When teens are often told to “improve,” they do not necessarily know “how much is good enough.” Feelings of inadequacy may arise if societal pressures are left unchecked.
- Teens blossom when they are not constantly judged or tested. Condemning a youngster for not being extraordinary, what they do, or what they look like, makes them feel inferior and less deserving of affection. Frequently, guardians and instructors show their dissatisfaction by judging teens without realizing it.
- When developing a strong relationship with teens, grown-ups should avoid condemning and, instead, endeavor to comprehend.
- Teens have natural sensations of fear regarding their lives and futures. Youthfulness is when youngsters develop their personalities. Considerable neural developments are underway in this stage. These changes can be a common anxiety trigger, as they worry about how they fit into society. Stress is a normal part of growing up, and adults can help lessen these feelings by normalizing them. Discuss with your teen about their fears. Tell them about your sensations of anxiety.
- Teens need to discover what’s truly important in their lives. With youthfulness comes the capacity to ponder one’s thought processes and patterns. This is what neuroscientists call “metacognition.” Research shows that, as teens’ metacognitive capacities increase, they are more likely to achieve their goals. Grown-ups should encourage teens to think deeply about their feelings. The most recent exploration in neuroscience supports the significance of sharing stories. By talking about movies, books, and other stories, teens have the chance to see the world in new and various ways.
- Teens need to be understood. Compassion during the juvenile years is a remarkable asset for diminishing anxiety in teens. When youngsters feel seen, heard, and comprehended, they feel good about themselves and stress less over being excellent or fitting in. Be sure to welcome thoughtful discussions, like “How did that experience make you feel? “”What were you feeling in your body?” or “What does that say to you?”. Listening and comprehending is the way to compassion.
Coping Strategies to Manage Anxiety
- Eating well-balanced meals. Healthy food equals a healthy body and mind. If your teen likes to cook, making food with them can be comforting and therapeutic.
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption. These substances can cause jitters and nervousness.
- Getting enough sleep. For teenagers, the recommended sleep duration is at least eight to ten hours.
- Doing daily exercises and yoga. Physical activity stimulates the brain to create more “happy hormones” called dopamine. Yoga also leads to mindfulness and inner peace, erasing any stressful thoughts.
- Taking deep breaths. Breathing exercises can give the brain the oxygen it needs.
- Getting involved in social activities and community outreach programs. Doing something positive can help someone forget life’s stressors.
- Making art. Different art forms can be therapeutic, such as painting, drawing, crocheting, and garden landscaping.
- Listening to music. A playlist of “comfort” music can prevent someone from feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
- Talking to someone trustworthy. Opening up can lighten the burden in someone’s mind.
Can You Recover From Anxiety?
Anxiety problems can be treated with drugs, psychotherapy, or a mix of both. Anxiety is a mild issue for some people, so they choose to live with it and not look for treatment. Nevertheless, know that this disorder can always be dealt with, even in extreme cases. Even though anxiety can never truly disappear, one can figure out how to treat it and live a joyful, stable life. If you think your child is dealing with anxiety issues and need adolescent anxiety treatment, do not hesitate and feel free to contact us.
Best Treatment For Teenage Anxiety
Key Healthcare has a wide range of options to help struggling teenagers with their Teen Anxiety Treatment Program for teens of Los Angeles, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Westwood, Beverly Hills, and Pacific Palisades. We also provide a teen intensive outpatient treatment program that promotes a safe and warm environment where teenagers experience individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, structured days, and educational support.
There are great Teenage anxiety treatment programs in Los Angeles that are tailor-made to suit your teenager’s mental health issues. While teenagers may not have the tools to deal with emotional well-being issues, they are still incredibly resilient and need a little assistance. Our accomplished team of clinical professionals is here to help teens with anxiety. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today.