It is not uncommon these days for children, and especially teens, to develop anxiety disorders. Teens face a lot of pressure with school, friends, and family, and sometimes this pressure becomes overwhelming. Parents may have a difficult time trying to decide how to handle an anxious adolescent, as trying to support kids at this age can sometimes be interpreted as being a nag or being intrusive. However, experts detail that there are some helpful strategies available that can assist parents in their quest to help their children manage these difficult times.
Anxiety in teens can present in numerous ways.
How do you know when your child’s anxiety has reached a level where you need to intervene in some way? Mayo Clinic reports that there are a large number of symptoms that can signal the presence of a generalized anxiety disorder. Those teens who are struggling may find it hard to concentrate or make decisions, and they may find themselves worrying excessively.
In addition, adolescents facing anxiety disorders may become rather obsessive about concerns they are facing beyond what is proportionate to the issue. There are numerous physical symptoms that can develop as anxiety increases, such as sleep issues, headaches, nausea or stomach distress, and feeling exceedingly irritable.
Parents can provide some help at home.
When parents notice issues of anxiety in their adolescents, Time suggests that they reach out to their kids and try to connect with them beyond their daily basics. Child and adolescent psychiatrist Fadi Haddad, MD, suggests parents watch for changes in behavior. For example, are your kids pulling away from friends or activities they typically enjoy? Are their eating or sleeping behaviors changing? When you approach your teen to inquire about these changes, be sure to ask without judging and listen to what they’re willing to share.
Parents can help their teens with their anxiety by ensuring that their home environment is calming and supportive, and oftentimes relaxation strategies or meditation techniques can be helpful. Teen Vogue shares that there are numerous apps available now that can help anxious adolescents as well, such as Centered and Headspace, and those may certainly be worth a try.
Professional help for anxious adolescents may be the key to success.
When an adolescent’s anxiety escalates or doesn’t subside relatively quickly, it may be time to consult a professional. A family doctor or school counselor can be a good place to start and local therapists and psychologists can become a vital resource to help your teen throughout their struggles with anxiety.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that a professional can do an evaluation to pinpoint the specific issue and recommend a plan for addressing the issues. Therapy may well be a recommended course of action, and this may come in the form of behavioral therapy for the teen, family therapy, or a bit of both. Sometimes medication will be recommended as well, and lifestyle changes like adjusting diet, exercise, and sleep habits can make a significant difference.
Teenagers have a reputation for being moody and they are often resistant to sharing much with their parents during these challenging years. However, once a teen becomes anxious about life to the extent that it is taking a substantial toll on their mental and physical health, it is time to intervene. A calm home environment and healthy lifestyle choices can make a significant difference, but a professional’s insight may well be needed. There are successful ways to treat adolescent anxiety disorders and parents should not hesitate to intervene and reach out for help when they see their teen struggling.
Author: Noah Smith