Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18% of adults suffer from anxiety disorders each year. Anxiety disorders are also the most common mental illness in children and teenagers, affecting about 25.1% of young people.
As a parent, you should be aware that it's normal for your adolescent child to experience anxiety from time to time. This could be due to various developmental and social changes that your teenager is going through at this time, such as hormone changes, brain growth, physical and emotional changes, or peer pressure.
So, how can you know if your teen is suffering from anxiety? There's no specific symptom that always shows that teens are experiencing anxiety. However, there are some common signs to look out for:
Your teen is obsessing about something or constantly focusing on the negative aspects of life
Your teen is avoiding social activities or situations because they're afraid of being judged or seen
Your teen is having trouble sleeping or staying asleep
Your teen is feeling tense, shaky, or panicky most of the time
Your teen has lost interest in activities they used to enjoy (e.g., school, hanging out with friends)
If you notice any of these signs, it's essential to talk to your child about teen stress and see if there are any ways you can help. That's because anxiety may have a significant impact on a teen's life in different aspects such as:
There are a few reasons why anxiety might affect your child's academic performance. For instance, studies have shown that anxiety can lower a teen's grades and test scores. How does this happen?
Anxiety raises stress levels, which makes it difficult to learn. It's tough for a youngster to focus and concentrate when constantly worrying about how well they're doing. This can result in lower grades and test scores.
Anxiety can also lead to risky behavior. Anxious teens are likely to feel like they must do everything perfectly to succeed. As a result, they make careless mistakes in tests and examinations.
Anxiety can also affect teens' health. For instance, it can lead to increased stress levels which trigger conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Moreover, teenagers struggling with anxiety may avoid going to the doctor because they're afraid of what the doctor will say. This can lead to serious health problems that you can otherwise avoid.
Teen anxiety seriously affects teens' relationships. Anxious teenagers are less likely to initiate conversations with their families and peers. This can lead to strained relationships or their friends ceasing to communicate with them.
In addition, anxious teens may develop worrying habits about their friends (for example, they may become overly worried about what their friends are doing). As a result, their relationships may become less intimate.