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Recognizing Social Anxiety in Teens

Teen and therapist work on recognizing social anxiety in teens

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. In regular doses, anxiety can be beneficial to our overall well-being. However, when anxiety is chronic and persistent, it is harmful to our physical and mental health. Anxiety disorders can range from mild to severe and commonly occur with other mental health disorders or substance use disorders. This phenomenon is referred to as having co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders often share common symptoms and have complex interactions with one another. They require comprehensive treatment that addresses all symptoms at the same time.

Imagine Spokane specializes in teen outpatient treatment for mental health and co-occurring disorders. To learn more about how we can help your teen and family, reach out to us today at 509.870.3810 or use our online form.

Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders occur on a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. Luckily, anxiety disorders are highly receptive to treatment. Following is a closer look at the five different types of anxiety:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This anxiety disorder is characterized by chronic anxiety, tension, and exaggerated worry, even when nothing is tangible to provoke these feelings.

Panic Disorder

This anxiety disorder is characterized by unexpected or repeated episodes of extreme fear accompanied by physical symptoms, including chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop following exposure to a terrifying event where a person’s sense of safety is threatened. Such events can include being the victim of a crime, a serious accident, significant loss, or a natural disaster.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This anxiety disorder is characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Compulsions occur to prevent or make the obsessions go away. Compulsions provide only temporary relief, and not performing them increases anxiety.

Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)

This anxiety disorder is characterized by overwhelming anxiety or excessive self-consciousness in ordinary social situations. Social anxiety disorder can center around a specific situation or encompass all social interactions.

How to Know if Your Teen Has Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is an incredibly common anxiety disorder. According to research, one in three teens aged 13 to 18 has some degree of social anxiety disorder. Also known as social phobia, teens with social anxiety disorders experience overwhelming fear of judgment, self-consciousness, and general distress around day-to-day social interactions, impairing daily functioning.

Social anxiety disorder is not attributed to a single cause. Instead, several risk factors can contribute, including genetics, brain chemistry, trauma, parenting style, health or physical issues, and overall demeanor. Knowing the signs and symptoms of this mental health disorder is the first step toward getting your teen help for social anxiety disorder. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Intense fear of being embarrassed
  • Self-judgment and criticism following social interactions
  • Worry for days or weeks leading up to an event
  • Avoidance of school or other social activities
  • Difficulty making friends or maintaining friendships
  • Feeling uncomfortable around others
  • Fear of being judged by others

Many with a social anxiety disorder also experience several physical symptoms, including blushing, sweating, rapid heart rate, stomachache, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle tension. Not every teen will experience the same symptoms or severity of symptoms. Further, for some, social anxiety is specific to particular situations, while for others, it encompasses all social interactions.

Turn to Imagine Spokane for Teen Mental Health Treatment

Research indicates that the need for teen mental health treatment is on the rise across the nation. Imagine Spokane is helping fill this need. We provide comprehensive day treatment for teens ages 12-17.

If your teen’s mental health symptoms, including behavioral issues, interfere with their daily functioning and disrupt home life, turn to Image Spokane for help. Contact us online or by calling 509.870.3810 to learn about all of our treatment options.