Easing Anxiety for Teens
Anxiety can sound like a general term, as everyone experiences anxiousness to some degree. Anxiety is a natural feeling that mainly revolves around a fear of what could happen in the future. Though anxiety is natural and everyone experiences it, some people have a clinical anxiety disorder that causes them to have chronic and unfounded anxiety that can disrupt their life.
What Is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are marked by an unnatural amount of anxiety felt by a person to the point that it is debilitating to their health. According to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), anxiety can be made up of generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and panic disorders.
Generalized anxiety is displayed by excessive worry, with symptoms that occur for more than six months. This excessive worry can be about anything, though common themes include work, school, social life, and health. Symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Feeling restless or on-edge
- Getting tired easily
- Mind going blank or numb
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased muscle tension
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry or anxiousness
- Trouble sleeping, falling asleep and staying asleep
Panic disorders cause frequent panic attacks related to anxiety. Many times panic attacks are unexpected, but they can be brought on by certain triggers. Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Heart issues like heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, or feelings similar to a heart attack
- Excessive sweating
- Shaking and trembling
- Sensations of choking or shortness of breath
- Feelings of impending doom
- Feeling out of control or desperate for something unknown
Phobia-related disorders are unique in the sense that the anxiety experienced revolves around a specific phobia. A phobia is an intense fear or aversion to something potentially meaningful to the person experiencing the phobia. Symptoms of a phobia-related disorder include:
- Irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
- Taking active steps to avoid the feared object or situation
- The experience of immediate or intense anxiety and fear when presented with the object or situation
Other anxiety disorders can include:
- Social anxiety disorder: The fear of social situations and judgment in social situations
- Agoraphobia: The fear of leaving the house, being stuck in enclosed spaces, being in open spaces, or being outside alone
- Separation anxiety disorder: The fear of being separated from the people or things they have an unhealthy attachment to
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or therapist. Treatment methods can vary between patients, but they usually include psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) is generally a one-on-one session with the therapist and client. Many therapists recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as one of the best treatments for anxiety disorders, as CBT can also help with co-occurring disorders.
Medication cannot cure anxiety disorders, but it can help mitigate some of the symptoms. The main types of medications prescribed for anxiety include anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, and beta-blockers. Clients need to communicate the side effects and general feelings they experience as they try out medications with their doctor.
Methods of Easing Anxiety for Teens
Anxiety can be especially scary for children. Children and teens who experience anxiety often have trauma, attachment issues, or another co-occurring disorder to deal with. Many teens aren’t sure how to deal with their anxiety, especially if it revolves around a phobia or instigates panic attacks. Thankfully, with a supportive team of therapists and family and friends, anxiety is treatable and there are many methods to soothe anxiety for teens. Additional methods that can help ease anxiety include the following:
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is extremely important for teens. Teens who don’t get enough sleep may notice their anxiety is heightened and difficult to manage.
- Get some exercise: Exercise is a great mood stabilizer and can help teens break up anxiety-inducing thoughts.
- Set a routine: Routine is important for teens to know what’s ahead and be able to plan and execute their day-to-day tasks. Having a set routine can help mitigate anxiety.
- Try cooking to improve your diet: Cooking is a skill that all young people will have to learn eventually to take care of themselves. Learning to cook or cooking new things can be fun and soothing for teens, especially if they need to improve their dietary habits. Everyone has to eat, so cooking healthy foods every day can help teens learn a new skill and calm anxiety with familiar tasks.
- Make plans with friends and family: Whenever possible, make plans with friends and family. Plan an activity that is fun for teens and that they can look forward to. Better yet, make it a routine to have fun in a social setting.
- Try meditation: Meditation and other relaxation techniques can help teens learn self-soothing methods for when they feel anxiety stepping in.
Anxiety can be detrimental to teens’ mental and overall health. When anxiety starts to interfere with daily tasks at school, home, and otherwise, it can cause more anxiety and further entrench the teen in mental health struggles. When anxiety stems from trauma, there may be phobias and fears present from those traumatic experiences. Similar situations can trigger anxiety attacks or other reactions that are harmful to the teen. For help with your teen girl and her anxiety or trauma, call us at Havenwood Academy. Our professional and experienced staff can help your teen daughter by creating a treatment plan specifically catered to her. We’ll create a line of treatment specific to each client with our research-based therapies, and help them work through those deep-seated fears. Call us today at (435) 586-2500 to learn more about how we can help your child through their trauma and anxiety at our long-term residential facility in Utah.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.