Many teenagers are struggling with anxiety today. Reasons include the recent pandemic, which caused many disruptions, such as lockdowns, social distancing, and educational changes. Other reasons include competitive pressures in high school, being able to form a solid group of supportive friends, and addressing social challenges complicated by COVID. This has made it harder for teenagers to do the things they enjoy and has left them feeling isolated from their friends.
Anxiety in adolescents has increased in recent years for numerous reasons. Social media can negatively impact self-esteem, the world feels scarier nowadays with climate change and pandemics, and there is increased pressure to succeed in school. It’s important to be aware of the signs of anxiety so that we can help those who are struggling.
Anxiety in Teenagers
Anxious teenagers are more likely to worry about social interactions, school, and their future. They may also be more sensitive to stress and have difficulty coping with difficult emotions.
Younger children are more likely to fear things external to them, like animals or insects. On the other hand, teenagers are more likely to worry about themselves and how others perceive them.
Some teenagers have been anxious for many years before they reach adolescence. Some who weren’t anxious children develop adolescent-onset anxiety, including social anxiety and panic attacks.
Things Teenagers Are Anxious Of
- Academic performance
Many teenagers feel a lot of pressure to do well in school and get good grades so that they can get into a good college. This can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Even when parents tell their kids not to worry so much about college admissions, teenagers still feel like they need to get straight A’s.
- Others’ perception
Some teenagers are worried about how others perceive them and whether they will be seen as incompetent or stupid. This can be very debilitating and make it hard to function socially.
- Physical appearance
The physical changes that occur during adolescence can be a source of discomfort for many teenagers. Developing before or after most of your peers can make kids feel different from those they share the same age.
Girls who develop early may be affected more negatively than those who develop on time or even late. Boys, on the other hand, may be especially sensitive to height. Some kids may develop a body dysmorphic disorder due to perceived physical flaws (actual or imagined) that cause significant distress and interfere with their functioning.
Symptoms of Teenage Anxiety
Anxiety in teenagers can present itself in many ways, from withdrawing and avoiding social situations to being irritable and lashing out. Because teenagers often hide their thoughts and feelings, anxiety can be easily overlooked.
Some signs that a teenager may be anxious are:
- Chronic headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme self-consciousness
- Sleeping problems
- Social withdrawal
- Substance use
When teenagers resist going to school, it is often because they are anxious about something that is going on in their lives that is connected to school. This could be academics, sports, other activities, or social life. Therefore, it is essential to consider what might be causing the anxiety to help the teenager feel better about going to school.
Anxiety can have a significant impact on teenagers. It can lead to problems with school, social interactions, and mental health. If left untreated, anxiety can become a serious problem. However, treatments available can help teenagers manage their anxiety and live normal, healthy lives.
If you are looking for the best psychotherapist, consider Sarah J. Person, LCSW-R. I offer psychotherapy for teens and adults from Brooklyn to Long Island and upstate New York. Book a phone consultation.