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How Common Is Anxiety in Teens?

parents listen as their child discloses his recent struggle with anxiety to them and asks for help

Anxiety deeply affects many teens on a daily basis. In fact, the National Institute of Health reports that just under 31% of Americans in the 13-18 age range have had anxiety. This statistic, as far as mental health goes, represents one of the highest, most consistent trends for any age group to exhibit any psychiatric disorder. In other words, anxiety in teens is highly prevalent.

There is a notable difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder. While it’s within expectations to experience some anxieties due to work, school, or life events, it’s vital to ensure it doesn’t reach a point where anxiety becomes debilitating. If unchecked anxiety is leading to a decrease in quality of life, it’s important that teens receive help from a professional source. There’s assistance available now at Imagine Spokane, where our team can help you and your teen navigate anxiety treatment together. Reach us by calling 509.870.3810 or by using our online contact form.

What Causes Anxiety in Teens?

While some of the exact causes of anxiety disorders have yet to be identified, several potential triggers have been strongly correlated. For the most part, stress is considered the common factor in anxiety disorders. Stress is a function of the body to heighten alertness and raise defenses in unexpected or threatening situations. The trouble comes when teens are constantly in situations that induce stress, such as struggling academically, in relationships, or in any number of difficult positions.

Constant and intermittent stress can both contribute to the formation of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is, in a sense, the learned habituation of stress, so events or external stimuli that contribute the strongest to anxiety are those that either leave one significant impact or persist for months or years. Examples include:

  • Academic or work-related stress
  • Unhealthy relationship with social media
  • Relationship strain, romantic or platonic
  • Traumatic events
  • Overloaded schedule
  • Poor sleep

A lack of sleep, in particular, exacerbates existing stressful situations, though it is unlikely to induce anxiety itself.

Signs of Anxiety in Teens

Teens with anxiety disorders demonstrate certain signs that discerning parents should keep an eye out for. Teens with anxiety disorders are prone to different behavioral changes based on their personality, strengths, and weaknesses and may exhibit them more or less outwardly as a result. Parents who suspect their teen may be anxious should foster an open, trust-based standard for communication before attempting to psychoanalyze.

However, teenagers are indeed more inclined to open up about certain, often heavy topics to their peers before they do to their parents. Remember that the way you deal with your teen’s anxiety can make an impact that extends as far as the anxiety itself. Ultimately, it’s crucial to strike a balance between allowing independence while still ensuring their health and well-being. Some signs that your teen might be dealing with persistent anxiety include the following:

  • A noticeable, across-the-board decline in academic performance
  • Loss of motivation or interest
  • Excessive negativity
  • Erratic sleep schedule
  • Loss of appetite
  • Uncharacteristic behavior

Anxiety and stress can be a normal part of life sometimes, but if it’s negatively impacting your teen’s life or ability to function day-to-day, help is available. All you need to do is reach out.

Treat Anxiety and Stress at Imagine Spokane

All too many teenagers in the U.S. suffer from anxiety in some form. Anxiety rarely exists in total isolation, meaning that depending on the source, it may never go away on its own. Solutions for anxiety are possible, due in no small part to the team at Imagine Spokane.

At Imagine Spokane, our treatment providers are NCQA-credentialed and equipped to provide assistance to those ages 12-17 in overcoming anxiety. Parents are invited to work with their teens during family therapy to improve the quality and results of care. Call us at 509.870.3810 or reach us online to learn how anxiety can be managed in a real, long-lasting way.