4 Things You Need to Know About Adolescent Anxiety

Adolescent anxiety is like fire: It can keep us safe and warm, or completely devastate our property and our lives. It’s good to be a little anxious at times. When walking down a deserted street at night, anxiety keeps us on alert and ready to fight or take flight should a dangerous situation arise.

But for many people, especially adolescents, anxiety can become the norm instead of the exception. Just walking into a classroom or being with a group of people they don’t know can become crisis situations. And, the more they experience these scary events, the more anxiety becomes a chronic condition.Skyscraper looms high into the pale blue sky.

Here are 4 things parents and teachers should know about adolescent anxiety.

1. Anxiety Refers to Physical Symptoms Associated with Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts such as, “No one will like me,” or “Everyone is going to think I’m stupid” come first. These thoughts are then followed by physical symptoms such as a stomach ache, diarrhea, or shaking and shallow breathing. Young people need to learn how to not only shift their thinking (“This will feel awkward but I’ll be okay”) but also cope with the physical stress (take slow, deep breaths). This will help kids know without a doubt they can handle uncomfortable feelings instead of avoiding them.

2. Dealing with Anxiety Requires Problem Solving Skills

Life is full of uncertainties and gray areas. Parents of very young children help them navigate through these situations. But adolescents must be equipped with problem solving skills so they may tolerate uncertainty instead of avoiding it, as avoidance only makes things worse and gives anxiety more power.

Young woman in school uniform leaning on her school desk anxious and stressed.3. The Adolescent Mind is More Sensitive to Environmental Stress 

The adolescent mind is a jumble of chemical changes that can make any situation seem like time spent in a fun house. These hormonal changes make adolescence a particularly challenging time to cope with anxiety.

4. Anxiety is a Vicious Cycle

When young people are anxious, it’s easy for the adults around them to become anxious as a response. But, the more anxious parents and teachers are, the more controlling and inflexible they may become.

As adults, it’s important we manage our own anxiety around our kids and students so we can manage the overall situation much more effectively.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, therapy can help. If you’re interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Numerous piles of stacked rocks dot the sand with blue water in the background helping with anxiety and stress.

Contact Abby:

Helping families feel connected is at the core of my Family Therapy practice. Should you feel like your family might benefit from family counseling to increase your family connections and decrease family conflicts with a challenging and/or gifted child in the home, you have come to the right place! I also offer individual therapy to parents of challenging and/or gifted children, online, or in my office in Arcadia. Contact me via email, or give me a call at (626) 755-4059 for a FREE 20-minute, Initial Phone Consultation.Smiling female therapist in a blue top sitting at a wooden dining table promoting her options for Family Therapy in Client's Home For family therapy, I meet alone with parents in my Arcadia office for the first session. I want there to be a good fit between us, before you introduce me to your children. In-Home Family Therapy (Home-Based Family Counseling) is an option to families living in Pasadena, Glendale and Arcadia, California, as well as the surrounding areas of the San Gabriel Valley. I have completed training from SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and am a certified SENG Parent Support Group Facilitator. You will find my professional listing with SENG here. Please feel free to find out more about me on my Family Trauma Therapy page. You can also explore my CredentialsServices, and Rates.  LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy is a core value of my practice.