Everyone experiences anxiety. It is an important emotion that is signalled through feelings of worry, fear and alarm that danger or a sudden, threatening change is near. Sometimes anxiety can become exaggerated and unhealthy.
Due to the various uncertainties of teenage life, anxiety is often present but remains in the background. Sometimes it can affect the ability to perform well in academics and also hinders participation in extracurricular activities and affects friendships and relationships.
At times anxiety in teenagers is limited to a general fleeting feeling of loneliness, and at times it can result in panic attacks and phobias.
What Causes Anxiety in Teens?
There can be various reasons why teenagers can have anxiety. Anxiety issues are caused due to both biological and life circumstances. Trauma such as teen dating violence, domestic abuse, neglect or the early death of a parent can contribute to the development of anxiety problems in children. In teenagers, the following are some of the most common reasons to have anxiety:
- Intense pressure to succeed in school and life
- Social media
- Constant access to news and media
- Eve teasing and stalking
So When Can Anxiety Be Considered Normal?
It is usual for people to feel anxious at times, like while talking in front of a crowd, before a big test, or when a loved one is sick.
Feeling anxious at such times is normal, and most of us have felt this.
Anxious feelings serve a purpose; they warn when something that matters to you is at risk. It activates the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. This release of hormones helps you focus on the challenge or threat. The ‘fight or flight’ system fires a series or a set of physical feelings.
This includes feeling ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, having sweaty palms or shaky hands, your mouth getting dry, or your face feeling warm. Feelings like these can help you achieve what you need to do. So, you can go ahead with the task even if you are nervous.
Signs Of Anxiety In Teens
Some people get anxiety that is too intense. They spend much of their time and energy on worries and fears. At times they start to avoid things that make them anxious. These can be signs of anxiety disorder. Anxiety can lead to feelings of depression or stress in teenagers.
Although symptoms of anxiety in teenagers vary, these are some signs of anxiety in teens that indicate that these feelings need to be addressed:
- Recurring fears and worries about everyday things that are part of their routine
- Trouble concentrating
- Extreme self-consciousness and sensitivity to criticism
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Avoiding new or difficult situations
- Chronic complaints about stomachaches or headaches
- A drop in grades or refusing to go to school
- Seeking reassurance repeatedly
- Sleep problems
- Substance use
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, tell a parent, school counsellor, doctor, or other trusted adult. The quicker you get help, the better you will feel.