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Anxiety

How to Help a Teenager with Anxiety Disorder

Want to know how to help a teenager with anxiety disorder? A parent can support a teenager with anxiety by creating a calm and safe environment, actively listening to their worries without judgment, and encouraging open communication. It’s crucial to educate oneself about anxiety disorders, recognize the teen’s efforts to manage their anxiety, and gently encourage them to seek professional help if their anxiety significantly impacts their daily life. Patience, understanding, and love are key.

Parents do their best to step up to the challenges of adolescence. But anxiety disorders, like other mental health issues, can be overwhelming and challenging to help manage.

When dealing with an anxiety disorder, it’s essential to offer understanding and guidance and to model behavior that helps teens better manage their symptoms and build mental resilience. It’s also important to know when to seek professional teenage anxiety treatment from a teen treatment center.

Many anxiety disorders require treatment, often in the form of talk therapy and medication. Left untreated, teens with anxiety disorders continue to struggle in school and may even develop co-occurring health problems.

This article explores how to help a teenager with anxiety disorder.

How to Help a Teenager with Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders cover a wide variety of mental health diagnoses, all of which share the characteristics of irrational worry and intrusive thinking.

People who struggle with anxiety feel the same way most of us do when faced with a stressful situation, but they may experience additional unwanted thoughts or even compulsive behaviors. Anxiety disorders can result in feeling overwhelmed or excessively worried and frightened, even in situations where there is no rational cause for concern.

Developing resilience towards stress and anxiety takes time and practice, especially for teens. Adolescence is the most common onset period for anxiety disorders, and many people take years to find effective ways to cope with their anxiety. A controlled treatment program can help teens adjust to their anxieties, identify and address intrusive thoughts or unwanted behaviors, and utilize mental exercises, medication, and helpful lifestyle changes to minimize the degree to which anxiety interferes with their daily lives. Here’s how to help a teenager with anxiety disorder.

Related: The Dos and Don’ts of Helping Teens with Anxiety

Talk With Your Teenager and Listen Carefully

Clear and open communication is crucial for a healthy parent-child relationship. However, teens with mental health issues like anxiety or depression rely on a healthy parent-child relationship more so than other teens might.

Improving the way you communicate with your teen creates and fosters an expectation of trust, reliance, and unconditional love. It can also help teens reassure themselves that they can always talk to their parents about their feelings without judgment or negativity.

For some parents, this is easier said than done. Most parents want the best for their children, but many struggle to communicate their concerns or love in a way that a teenager can understand. When teens come to you with their emotional issues, they’re not always looking for solutions to their problems—especially when the solutions you might come up with aren’t always going to apply to the nuances and circumstances of their situation.

Related: 5 Teen Anxiety Symptoms (And How to Cope)

Provide a Supportive Environment at Home

Being a parent means providing a supportive environment at home. However, some parents need to change their expectations of what support might look like when taking care of a teen with anxiety issues.

It’s not just about keeping a clean home or having food on the table – both important. It’s also about the emotional dynamics at home – sibling or parent relationships, conflicts within the family, and unresolved issues. For some parents with anxious children, family therapy can help address root issues that may be contributing to a teen’s stress.

Develop an Understanding of How Anxiety Affects Teenagers

Education matters – not just for teens, but for parents as well. If you’re wondering how to help a teenager with anxiety disorder, then you’re already taking steps in the right direction.

Continue to learn about different anxiety disorders, co-occurring disorders, and common treatment methods. Learn more about how different therapeutic approaches aim to help build a teen’s self-confidence and mental resilience and the roles that stress management plays in reducing anxiety.

Teach Your Teen Coping Strategies

Anxiety symptoms flare up in response to stress. The more challenging things are, the more teens with an anxiety disorder are likely to struggle with unwanted thoughts, worries, or fears. Learning effective and healthy coping strategies can help teens manage their anxiety, both acutely and in the long term.

Effective coping strategies can include music and art, puzzle games, exercise, walks in the park, swimming, or other sports.

Set Realistic Goals

Part of anxiety is worrying. Part of anxiety treatment is worrying about treatment. If your teen is anxious about their therapy, or the progress they’re making, it can help to set periodic goals that provide a sense of progression throughout the treatment process.

If your teen struggles with certain “normal” things because of their anxiety, like getting groceries alone, going to the gym in public, or cooking without instructions, then you could talk to their therapist about finding ways to incorporate these meaningful yet realistic goals into the treatment process. Still, it’s also important to remember that treatment isn’t always about “fixing” someone. It’s okay not to like certain things or to prefer doing things one way over another. This step can include setting realistic expectations for yourself as a parent.

Promote Social Support and Connection

Prosocial behavior is often a marker for improved mental health. Teens open to new experiences and meeting new people share healthier self-esteem and are more likely to have a positive outlook on life.

In treatment, teens also get to know other kids with anxiety problems and similar mental health issues. It can be healthy and helpful to see other people struggle and manage these symptoms and realize that you’re not alone. It can also be helpful to share common challenges and offer mutual support through group chats or meetings.

Explore Teen Anxiety Treatment

Exploring teen anxiety treatment requires a comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges that adolescents face.

A holistic approach is often most effective, integrating evidence-based practices like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques with creative outlets such as art and music therapy.

These methods address the symptoms of anxiety and aim to enhance overall well-being and resilience. Additionally, the role of family support cannot be understated; education and guidance for families are crucial in creating a nurturing environment that encourages open communication and understanding.

This multifaceted strategy helps teenagers develop essential coping skills, bolster self-esteem, and rediscover joy and purpose.

Related: The Benefits of Counseling for Teen Anxiety

Teen Anxiety Treatment at Visions

Witnessing your teen struggle with anxiety can be heart-wrenching, but there’s a beacon of hope that shines bright. Joining a teen treatment center can help provide the teen anxiety treatment needed to help teens cope with anxiety.

Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers specialize in tailoring anxiety treatment to the unique needs of teenagers, integrating therapy, education, and support in a nurturing environment.

Imagine your teen embracing life confidently, equipped with coping skills to navigate their emotions healthily and positively.

Contact us today, and let’s take the first step together toward your teen’s brighter, anxiety-free future.

Conclusion

Addressing teen anxiety with a holistic and integrated approach is crucial for fostering resilience and well-being.

By combining evidence-based therapies with creative outlets and strong family support, teenagers can develop the coping skills to navigate their emotions and challenges effectively. Such a comprehensive strategy ensures that adolescents survive and thrive, equipped to face life’s ups and downs confidently.

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Anxiety

How to Help a Teen with Anxiety

To help a teen with anxiety, it’s crucial to listen without judgment, encourage honest communication, and show empathy. Key steps include educating yourself on anxiety, promoting a supportive home environment, and seeking professional guidance. Patience and understanding from parents can significantly aid in a teen’s journey to manage anxiety effectively.

Discovering how to support a teen with anxiety can feel overwhelming for parents and caregivers.

The key lies in understanding the issue, showing empathy, and taking proactive steps to assist. You can make a significant difference by recognizing the early signs, creating a supportive environment, and exploring the benefits of teenage anxiety treatment at a teen treatment center.

This article explores how to help a teen with anxiety.

How to Help a Teen with Anxiety

Teen anxiety is more than just a phase; it’s a condition that can significantly impact a young person’s life.

Recognizing the signs early is crucial for providing the necessary support. Anxiety in teens can manifest as irritability, withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed, or an overwhelming sense of worry.

By addressing these signs early, parents can help prevent their teen’s anxiety from escalating. Understanding and support from loved ones are vital.

Here’s how to help a teen with anxiety.

Recognize the Signs of Teen Anxiety

Understanding how to help a teen with anxiety begins with recognizing the signs. Teen anxiety can manifest in various ways, including excessive worry about everyday activities, avoidance of social situations, changes in sleeping patterns, or unexplained physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches.

Teens might also exhibit a noticeable decline in academic performance or lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.

It’s essential to observe these changes without immediate judgment, acknowledging that these behaviors are not just typical teenage moodiness but could be indicators of anxiety.

Early recognition is crucial in providing timely support and guiding them toward appropriate help.

Some of the most common signs of teen anxiety include the following:

  • Excessive Worrying: Constant, intense worry about everyday activities, school performance, or social interactions that seems disproportionate to the situation.
  • Avoidance Behaviors: Avoiding social situations, school, or activities they previously enjoyed due to fear or discomfort.
  • Changes in Behavior or Mood: Sudden changes in behavior, such as increased irritability, mood swings, or aggression that are not typical for the teen.
  • Physical Symptoms: Unexplained physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, or fatigue.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing nightmares, leading to significant changes in sleep patterns.
  • Decline in Academic Performance: Noticeable drop in grades or school performance, possibly due to difficulty concentrating, excessive worrying about failure, or avoiding school altogether.
  • Withdrawal from Friends and Family: Spending more time alone, withdrawing from social interactions with friends and family members.
  • Changes in Eating Habits: Significant changes in appetite or eating patterns, which could include eating too much or too little.
  • Restlessness or Being Easily Startled: Appearing constantly on edge, jumpy, or experiencing an inability to relax.
  • Expressions of Hopelessness: Talking about feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, or expressing negative thoughts about themselves or their future.

Encourage Open Communication

Encouraging open communication is pivotal in understanding and supporting a teen with anxiety.

Create a safe, non-judgmental space for your teen to express their feelings and concerns.

Start conversations about their day-to-day experiences, listen actively without rushing to solve their problems, and show genuine interest in what they say.

This approach fosters trust and makes them feel valued and understood. It’s essential to reassure them that it’s okay to feel anxious and that you’re there to support them through their struggles.

Open communication is a foundational step in helping teens feel less isolated with their anxiety and more willing to seek and accept help.

Show Understanding and Support

Showing understanding and support is vital in helping a teen navigate through anxiety. It involves validating their feelings, emphasizing that it’s okay to feel anxious, and reassuring them that they are not alone.

Demonstrating empathy means listening to their concerns without minimizing their feelings or immediately offering solutions. Instead, acknowledge the difficulty they’re going through and express confidence in their ability to overcome challenges.

Support can also mean encouraging them to engage in activities or hobbies that bring them joy and relaxation, counterbalancing their anxious feelings. This level of understanding and support can significantly impact a teen’s ability to cope with anxiety.

Educate Yourself About Anxiety

Educating yourself about anxiety is crucial in providing the right support for a teen.

Understanding the complexities of anxiety disorders, their symptoms, and how they affect teenagers specifically can empower you to offer more effective assistance.

Familiarize yourself with the various types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, to better recognize the signs. Learning about effective coping strategies, treatments, and ways to manage anxiety can also equip you to guide your teen toward the help they need.

Being informed not only helps in supporting your teen but also demonstrates your commitment to their well-being.

Create a Stress-Free Home

Creating a stress-free home environment is an essential strategy in supporting a teen with anxiety.

A calm and predictable home atmosphere can provide a sense of security and stability for teens struggling with anxiety. This includes establishing routines that reduce stress, such as regular meal times, a quiet hour before bed, and designated family time.

Encourage practices that promote relaxation, like mindfulness, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, and make these activities accessible to your teen.

Minimizing stress at home also means being mindful of how family dynamics and conflicts are managed, ensuring that your home remains a safe and supportive space for your teen to express themselves and feel understood.

Discover How Therapy Can Help

Therapy can be a transformative tool for teens grappling with anxiety, offering them a safe space to explore their feelings, understand their triggers, and learn coping strategies.

Professional therapists specialize in adolescent mental health, providing personalized guidance and support.

Through techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), teens can learn to challenge and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to their anxiety. Therapy also helps build self-esteem and improve communication skills, enabling teens to navigate their social and academic worlds more effectively.

For parents wondering how to help a teen with anxiety, encouraging them to participate in therapy can be a significant step towards healing and empowerment.

Connect with Peer and Parental Groups

Connecting with peer and parental support groups can offer invaluable resources for both teens with anxiety and their families.

These groups provide a sense of community and understanding, where individuals can share experiences, coping strategies, and support. For teens, meeting peers who face similar challenges can reduce feelings of isolation and stigma associated with anxiety. Meanwhile, parental groups offer caregivers a platform to learn from others’ experiences, gain insights into effective support strategies, and access resources for managing their own stress.

Engaging in these supportive communities fosters a collaborative approach to managing teen anxiety, emphasizing the importance of collective support and understanding.

Encourage Healthy Habits: Exercise, Sleep, and Nutrition

Encouraging healthy habits plays a critical role in managing teen anxiety. Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety by releasing endorphins, improving mood, and reducing stress.

Ensuring a teen gets adequate sleep is also crucial, as sleep deprivation can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Parents can help by establishing a regular sleep schedule and relaxing bedtime routine. Additionally, a balanced diet rich in nutrients can impact a teen’s mood and energy levels, further supporting their mental health.

By promoting these healthy habits, parents can help their teens build resilience against anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

Explore the Benefits of Teen Anxiety Treatment

Exploring the benefits of teen anxiety treatment can open doors to comprehensive support and healing.

Professional treatment goes beyond temporary fixes, addressing the root causes of anxiety and providing tailored strategies for long-term management. This may include therapy, medication (if necessary), and lifestyle modifications.

Residential treatment effectively reduces adolescent anxiety, depression, and anxiety-related life interference, with greater reduction in anxiety for those with higher pre-treatment anxiety and comorbid anxiety disorders (Springer).

Treatment plans are designed to meet the unique needs of each teen, incorporating family involvement and education to ensure a supportive environment for recovery.

The goal of treatment is not only to alleviate symptoms but also to empower teens with the skills and confidence needed to face life’s challenges.

For families seeking how to help a teen with anxiety, understanding the benefits of specialized treatment can be a crucial step toward finding effective, lasting solutions.

Teen Anxiety at Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers

At Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers, we understand the challenges teens face with anxiety.

Our comprehensive approach includes individualized treatment plans, supportive therapies, and a nurturing environment. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping teens develop the skills needed to manage their anxiety effectively.

Let us guide your teen towards a brighter, more confident future. Contact us today for a free assessment.

Conclusion

Understanding how to help a teen with anxiety is the first step towards empowering them to manage their condition effectively.

Parents can provide invaluable support by recognizing the signs, encouraging open communication, and seeking professional treatment.

If your teen is struggling with anxiety, consider reaching out to Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers for specialized care. Together, we can make a difference in your teen’s life.

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Anxiety

The Dos and Don’ts of Helping Teens with Anxiety

There are key dos and don’ts for helping teens with anxiety. These exist because each action or word can significantly impact a teen’s experience and their path to recovery. They ensure that support is provided in a manner that’s empathetic, constructive, and conducive to positive mental health outcomes. Adhering to these dos and don’ts helps create a safe and trusting environment, which is crucial for adolescents grappling with anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are the most common kind of mental health problem around the world, especially for modern-day teenagers. Teens today are struggling with symptoms of anxiety more so than in previous generations, even when accounting for our improvements in screening and understanding what constitutes too much anxiety. 

Moments of anxiety are normal, and part of the human experience. But when a teen is preoccupied with irrational fears, paralyzed by their own worries, or even debilitated by overwhelming and consistent, daily dread, then they are experiencing an anxiety disorder. Treating anxiety can involve therapy and medication, but what happens at home is just as important.

Learn more about the dos and don’ts of supporting your teen with anxiety. 

Dos for Helping Teens with Anxiety

Anxiety disorders encompass a wide range of mental health problems, ranging from generalized worry (which can leave teens feeling tired, jumpy, distracted, and consistently negative) to severe, and specific phobias. Some important “dos” when dealing with teen anxiety include: 

Do Facilitate Open Communication

It’s important to encouraging a safe space for expressing feelings. Parents of teens with anxiety need to make space for teens to talk about how they feel without judgment. They also need to listen without interjecting, or without offering simplistic or unrealistic solutions. Teens with anxiety can’t be told to simply feel better, or not to worry so much. 

Rational and calm explanations can sometimes help, but at other times they can feel dismissive, either by condescendingly implying that a teen isn’t already aware of the irrational nature of their fear, or by implying that simply trying to think differently will fix the issue, when there’s nothing simple about trying to silence an intrusive, unwanted thought.  

Don’t focus on solutions right away. Instead, focus on making sure your teen can always come to you to talk about how they feel, and discuss their mindset. Instead of addressing the anxiety in question, think of ways you can help your teen feel better in the moment. Take their mind off things through a long walk, a shared activity like cooking or gardening, or just some down time spent watching a film. 

Do Seek Professional Guidance

Anxiety disorders require professional treatment. Making changes to your teen’s home environment – by giving them a space to talk about their anxieties and acknowledge them without dismissal – is important. 

But severe anxiety disorders can be debilitating, and can be addressed through rigorous, regimented therapy. Encourage therapy by talking to your teen about treatment, taking them to their appointments, and looking at different treatment options with them. Make sure that, in the end, it’s their decision. 

Do Promote Healthy Coping Mechanisms

There are behaviors and coping skills that help reduce feelings of anxiety, both immediately (as a response to an anxious episode) and in the long-term (by improving mental resilience and self-esteem). These include exercise, a balanced diet, improved and consistent sleep schedule, mindfulness exercises, and relaxation techniques (particularly ones involving controlled and conscious breathing). 

An important note about these coping mechanisms is that they’re often most effective when adults model them for their teens. In other words, adopt these exercises and behavioral changes as a family. Improve your eating habits, spend time exercising together, and improve your sleep hygiene for your own benefit, as well. 

Don’ts for Helping Teens with Anxiety

Your best efforts to help can sometimes make things worse. Some well-meaning parents take the tough love approach or think that their teens just need to face their fears a little. While it is true that exposure therapy plays an important role in addressing phobias or specific worries, the structured and careful approach of a therapist is very different to that of a parent with no experience with symptoms of severe anxiety. Some important “don’ts” to avoid when helping your teen include: 

Avoiding Dismissal

Some parents might try to talk down their teen’s anxieties, to make them seem like less of an issue. For them, trying to ensure that their teen’s thoughts aren’t acknowledged as a “big deal” might help their teens come to that same conclusion. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. 

Dismissing a teen’s anxieties only serves to alienate them and make them feel alone. It can also make them feel bad for being affected by something their parents don’t consider serious. 

Not Pressuring for Immediate Solutions

When parents aren’t trying to solve their teen’s issues themselves, they may push their teens to solve their problems. But when it comes to mental health, progress is gradual, and setbacks are normal. It’s important to ensure your teen understands that they’re not being rushed and that their only obligation in treatment is to themselves. Don’t push your teen to get better for someone else or to take on anyone else’s expectations for their progress.  

Neglecting Self-Care for Caregivers

Parents who focus on helping their teens sometimes do so at the detriment of their own well-being. Most parents would agree that this is normal and even expected. But carrying too much burden for your teen’s well-being can easily backfire. 

Teens recognize when parents sacrifice themselves for their teen’s health, which can also negatively affect them. Be sure to look after your health, and don’t neglect to care for yourself. That means seeking support from friends, family, and your partner or loved ones, too. We all need people to lean on at times. 

Changes in routine, structure, and support can heavily affect a teen’s mood and mental health. But in cases of severe anxiety, professional help should always be a priority. An individualized therapy plan can utilize different modalities and frameworks to reduce a teen’s anxiety, improve their self-esteem, and guide them towards healthier relationships with others, their environment, and their thoughts. 

We at Visions tailor programs to teens for a variety of mental health issues, including severe anxiety disorders and anxiety-adjacent conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Our teen treatment programs and outpatient treatment plans help teens manage and improve their symptoms and transition into daily life through an extended aftercare program. We also offer teletherapy services and are always available to answer questions. 

Contact Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers to learn more.

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Anxiety

Yoga for Teenage Anxiety: A Gentle Path to Wellness

Yoga offers a holistic approach to teenage anxiety treatment. Combining physical movement with mindfulness, it addresses the emotional, mental, and physical aspects of anxiety, offering a balanced path to wellness for teenagers facing stress and anxiety in their daily lives.

Teenage years are often marred by heightened anxiety due to various social, academic, and personal pressures.

Yoga, an ancient practice combining physical postures and mindful breathing, emerges as a beacon of hope in this turbulent phase. It offers not just physical benefits but also mental and emotional relief.

In this article, you will discover the benefits of exploring yoga for teenage anxiety.

Understanding Teenage Anxiety

Teenage anxiety is more than just occasional stress – it’s a widespread issue affecting teen mental health.

Symptoms range from persistent worry and fear to physical manifestations like restlessness or headaches. Factors contributing to teenage anxiety include academic pressures, social dynamics, and the challenges of identity formation. In severe cases, anxiety can impede daily activities, leading to avoidance behaviors and a decline in overall quality of life.

Understanding these challenges is the first step in seeking effective interventions, such as yoga, to help teenagers navigate these anxious times.

Yoga & Experiential Therapy

Yoga is increasingly recognized as a valuable component of experiential therapy and teen treatment programs, particularly for its effectiveness in addressing teenage anxiety. A recent study found yoga improves symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, suggesting yoga may be helpful for some people.

Yoga’s emphasis on body awareness, breathing, and mindfulness complements the therapeutic goals of experiential therapy, providing teenagers with practical tools to manage anxiety.

Treatment programs often integrate yoga as a regular practice, helping teens develop resilience, emotional balance, and a healthier stress response.

The Benefits of Yoga for Teenage Anxiety

Yoga offers multifaceted benefits for teenagers struggling with anxiety. It goes beyond physical exercise, impacting mental and emotional well-being.

Through consistent practice, yoga can significantly alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, leading to a more balanced and peaceful state of mind.

Here are the benefits of yoga for teenage anxiety:

Reduces Stress Levels

Yoga effectively reduces stress levels in teenagers, particularly by emphasizing deep breathing and relaxation.

Techniques like pranayama (controlled breathing) and calming asanas (poses) help regulate the body’s stress response. By encouraging deep, rhythmic breathing, yoga shifts focus from the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ response to the parasympathetic system, which promotes relaxation.

This transition lowers cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone, decreasing overall stress. Yoga’s meditative elements also clear the mind, breaking cycles of stress-inducing thoughts.

This mental clarity is vital in managing anxiety, providing teens with a calmer, more focused approach to challenges. Regular yoga practice offers a valuable tool for teenagers, aiding them in navigating adolescence with decreased stress and greater peace of mind.

Improves Mood and Emotional Regulation

Yoga’s impact on mood and emotional regulation in teenagers is profound. Regular yoga practice helps balance the body’s stress hormones, leading to a reduction in mood swings and emotional volatility.

The physical postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators.

This biochemical shift can lead to a more consistent and positive mood. Moreover, yoga teaches teens to manage their emotions through mindfulness and self-awareness. They learn to recognize and regulate their emotional responses as they become more attuned to their physical sensations and breathing patterns.

This skill is particularly beneficial in managing the rapid emotional changes characteristic of the teenage years, promoting a sense of calm and emotional stability.

Enhances Concentration and Focus

Yoga enhances concentration and focus, crucial skills for teenagers navigating academic and personal challenges.

Holding yoga poses requires attention and discipline, training the mind to focus on the task. This focused attention during yoga can translate into improved concentration in other areas of life, such as studying or completing tasks. Additionally, many yoga practices involve meditation and mindfulness exercises that train the brain to resist distractions and stay engaged in the present moment.

These mindfulness practices have improved cognitive functions like memory and processing speed. For teenagers dealing with anxiety, the enhanced concentration and mental clarity gained from regular yoga practice can be particularly beneficial in managing their daily stressors and maintaining focus on their goals and responsibilities.

Increases Body Awareness

Yoga significantly increases body awareness, a key factor in managing teenage anxiety. Through various poses and movements, teens learn to pay close attention to their bodies, noticing how different positions and breathing techniques affect their physical and emotional state.

This heightened body awareness helps in identifying the physical manifestations of anxiety, such as muscle tension, shallow breathing, or restlessness. By becoming more attuned to these signals, teenagers can take proactive steps to manage their anxiety. For instance, recognizing the onset of tension can prompt them to engage in relaxing yoga poses or breathing exercises.

Increased body awareness also fosters a better understanding and appreciation of one’s body, which can improve overall self-esteem and body image – important aspects of mental health in the developmental years of adolescence.

Promotes Better Sleep

Yoga promotes better sleep, a crucial aspect of mental and physical health, especially for teenagers who often struggle with sleep disturbances due to stress and anxiety.

The relaxation techniques practiced in yoga, such as deep breathing, meditation, and gentle stretching, help calm the mind and release physical tension. These practices activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s ‘rest and digest’ functions, making falling and staying asleep easier.

Regular yoga can help regulate sleep patterns by reducing stress hormones like cortisol, which often disrupt sleep. Improved sleep quality leads to better mood regulation, cognitive function, and overall well-being, making it a vital benefit of yoga for teenagers dealing with anxiety.

Encourages Mindfulness and Present Moment Awareness

Yoga is inherently a practice of mindfulness and present-moment awareness, both crucial in managing anxiety.

Through yoga, teenagers learn to focus on the here and now, paying attention to their breath, movements, and bodily sensations. This mindfulness practice helps them detach from past worries or future anxieties, reducing stress.

By concentrating on their yoga practice, they engage in a form of moving meditation, which brings mental clarity and calmness. Learning to be present in the moment through yoga can be applied in everyday life, helping teenagers to manage overwhelming feelings and stressful situations with greater ease.

This present-moment awareness fosters a sense of peace and equanimity, making it easier for them to navigate the complexities of teenage life with a balanced and mindful approach.

Builds Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Yoga significantly contributes to building self-confidence and self-esteem in teenagers. As they practice and progress in yoga, achieving new poses and improving their flexibility and strength, they experience a sense of accomplishment.

This achievement helps nurture a positive self-image.

Yoga teaches teens to appreciate their bodies for what they can do rather than how they look, shifting the focus from external appearance to internal strength and capability.

This shift is particularly important during adolescence, often marked by self-consciousness and comparison. Furthermore, yoga encourages setting personal goals and recognizing individual progress, fostering a sense of pride and self-worth.

These aspects of yoga help teenagers develop a stronger sense of self and a more confident approach to life’s challenges.

Provides Tools for Stress Management

Yoga provides teenagers with practical tools for stress management, which is essential in today’s fast-paced and pressure-filled environment.

Techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation, integral parts of yoga, are effective ways to calm the mind and reduce stress.

These practices teach teens to relax and manage their responses to stressful situations. For instance, breathing exercises can be used anywhere and anytime to induce relaxation and alleviate anxiety.

Mindfulness, learned through yoga, helps teens stay focused on the present, reducing worries about past or future events.

By incorporating these tools into their daily routines, teenagers can develop healthier ways to cope with stress, enhancing their ability to navigate life more easily and resiliently.

Improves Physical Health and Flexibility

Yoga offers numerous benefits for physical health and flexibility, particularly during the teenage years, a time of significant physical growth and development.

Regular yoga practice strengthens muscles, improves posture, and increases flexibility. This physical improvement can be especially important for teenagers who spend considerable time in sedentary activities like studying or using electronic devices.

Enhanced flexibility and strength help prevent injuries, improve athletic performance, and promote overall physical fitness. Additionally, the physical benefits of yoga, such as improved immune system functioning and enhanced respiratory and cardiovascular health, contribute to overall well-being, making teenagers more energetic and physically active in their daily lives.

Creates a Sense of Community and Belonging

Participating in yoga classes can create a sense of community and belonging among teenagers, an important factor in their social and emotional development.

Yoga classes offer a space where teens can connect with others with similar interests, fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual support.

This community aspect of yoga can be particularly comforting for teens who might feel isolated or misunderstood in other areas of their lives. Being part of a yoga group provides a sense of inclusion and acceptance, helping teens feel less alone in their experiences.

Additionally, the non-competitive nature of yoga encourages a supportive and nurturing environment where teenagers can engage and interact positively with their peers, further enhancing their sense of belonging and social connectedness.

Yoga & Experiential Therapy at Visions Treatment Centers

At Visions Treatment Centers, we understand the unique challenges faced by teenagers with anxiety and offer unique teenage anxiety treatment in Southern California.

Our comprehensive programs, integrating yoga and experiential therapy, are designed to offer a holistic approach to wellness. Our experienced professionals guide each teen in developing effective coping mechanisms, building resilience, and fostering emotional balance.

Contact us to learn how we can support your teen’s journey towards a healthier, happier life.

Conclusion

Yoga serves as a multifaceted tool for combating teenage anxiety, offering a blend of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

It empowers teens with enhanced mood regulation, stress management skills, and improved concentration. Yoga also cultivates mindfulness, better sleep, and body awareness while boosting self-confidence and fostering community connections.

This holistic approach makes yoga an ideal practice for teenagers navigating the complexities of adolescence, providing a supportive pathway to a balanced and healthier well-being.

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Anxiety

The Benefits of Counseling for Teen Anxiety

Counseling for teen anxiety offers a supportive space for self-exploration and understanding, helping teens manage stress and improve communication. It equips them with coping strategies, enhancing resilience and mental well-being. This intervention fosters better relationships, academic performance, and overall life quality, laying a foundation for a healthier, more balanced future.

Teenagers often face a range of emotional and mental challenges, including anxiety, which can significantly impact their daily lives, school performance, and relationships.

Without proper teen anxiety treatment and support, this anxiety can escalate, leading to more severe issues such as social withdrawal, academic struggles, or even substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Counseling provides a safe and supportive environment where teens can explore their feelings, understand the root causes of their anxiety, and learn effective coping strategies.

In this article, we’re exploring some of the many benefits of counseling for teen anxiety.

The Benefits of Counseling for Teen Anxiety

Counseling for teen anxiety is a therapeutic approach designed to help adolescents navigate the complexities of their emotions and experiences.

During these formative years, teens often encounter various stressors, including academic pressures, social dynamics, and personal identity issues, which can manifest as anxiety.

Counseling provides a safe, confidential environment where teens can openly discuss their fears, worries, and challenges without judgment. Trained mental health professionals guide them through this process, employing techniques tailored to the individual’s needs, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, or family therapy.

These sessions aim to identify the root causes of anxiety, develop effective coping strategies, and foster a deeper understanding of one’s thoughts and emotions. This journey addresses immediate concerns and equips teens with lifelong skills for emotional regulation and mental resilience.

Here are some of the many benefits of counseling for teen anxiety.

Building Better Coping Skills

Teen counseling can foster coping skills by teaching valuable strategies to manage stress, acute anxiety symptoms, and intrusive thoughts. 

Therapists guide teens through various techniques, like mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral strategies, to help them find ways to minimize the impact of a negative thought and focus on a positive affirmation. A counselor can help teens understand their feelings, develop healthy responses to negative thoughts, and navigate difficult situations effectively. 

Counseling also provides a safe space for teens to express themselves, fostering resilience and emotional regulation and allowing them to self-reflect with the help of a mental health professional. 

Improving Personal Communication

Teen counseling can enhance personal communication between teens and their peers, teens and their parents, and teens and their teachers by active listening, healthy assertiveness, emotional regulation, and the constructive articulation of emotions. 

By exploring interpersonal dynamics and practicing communication strategies in therapy sessions, teens can develop better empathy, conflict resolution abilities, and understanding of others’ perspectives. 

This can help reduce anxiety towards strangers and give teens better confidence when talking to people they know and people they don’t know. It helps give teens the tools needed to address interpersonal conflict in the future and even de-escalate emotional situations. This often leads to improved relationships, enhanced self-expression, and healthier interactions with peers and adults.  

Counseling and Mental Resilience

Teen counseling fosters mental resilience by equipping teens with coping strategies and stress management techniques. Therapists help teens expand their repertoire of stress management tools, such as mindfulness, positive self-talk, focusing on step-by-step problem-solving, and physical awareness exercises. 

Through teen counseling, teens learn to navigate challenges, cope with stressors, and develop a resilient mindset, which can help them learn to identify and address signs of anxiety when they arise. 

Developing mental resilience also involves knowing when too much is too much, disengaging from conversations or situations for your mental well-being, or seeking support during difficult times. 

Facing and Dismantling Avoidance Symptoms

Teen counseling assists in addressing avoidance symptoms by providing a safe space for teens to explore underlying issues contributing to avoidance behaviors.  

Therapists use various techniques like exposure therapy to gradually expose teens to triggers in a controlled environment, helping them confront and manage their fears. Through counseling, teens learn coping strategies to reduce avoidance, gradually increasing their tolerance and ability to face challenging situations.

Improved Self-Esteem Through Self-Reflection

Teen counseling can significantly impact and improve self-esteem by fostering a supportive environment where teens can explore ways to improve their self-esteem and embrace their self-worth. 

First, therapists work on identifying negative thought patterns and behaviors that undermine self-esteem. Through various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or certain self-compassion exercises, teens learn to challenge these negative thought patterns and build confidence in their abilities, leading to improved self-esteem. This may include fostering hobbies and other interests that help elevate a teen’s self-esteem. 

Learning Effective Goal Setting

Teen counseling provides a structured platform for adolescents to explore their mental health goals. Therapists assist in setting realistic, attainable objectives by encouraging teens to express their aspirations, understand their challenges, and identify actionable steps toward improvement.

An example of practical goal setting is the SMART system. This involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Time-bound goals aren’t meant to invoke the dreaded feeling of a deadline but to limit the size and scope of a goal to the short-term – something to look forward to rather than something to worry about or put off onto the backburner forever. 

Explore Teen Anxiety Treatment

Are you concerned about your teen’s anxiety?

At Visions Treatment Centers in Southern California, we specialize in addressing teen anxiety with compassion and expertise.

Our personalized treatment plans, crafted by experienced professionals, focus on holistic healing. We combine therapy, family involvement, and innovative approaches to foster a supportive environment for growth and recovery.

Discover the path to a brighter, more balanced future for your teen. Contact us today to learn how teenage anxiety treatment at Visions Treatment Centers can help your teen.

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Anxiety

Can You Grow Out of Anxiety?

Can you grow out of anxiety? This article explores the relationship between age and anxiety, shedding light on whether anxiety can naturally wane as individuals mature. Let’s dive into the different factors influencing anxiety disorders across a person’s life, and gain insights into managing anxiety symptoms at different stages of life.

Some kids are a little shy. Some kids are easily startled. Some kids worry more about things than others. Personality traits are sometimes learned, sometimes born, and sometimes both. But anxiety as a long-term state of mind is different. 

To be anxious is to be worried or nervous. It’s a normal response to certain circumstances. Some people are more likely to become nervous or react with worry to situations. But that state of anxiety passes. We become calmer when we realize that the danger is gone, or that there isn’t anything to worry about. Most people learning to drive for the first time are nervous behind the steering wheel – but by the thousandth mile, even a nervous learner becomes a much more confident driver. 

Anxiety that doesn’t pass – anxiety that persists or occurs out of nowhere – is not a normal reaction. It is often the sign of an anxiety disorder, a type of mental health issue with neurological, psychological, and social factors. People with anxiety disorders cannot shake the feeling that things will go wrong, even if they have no reason to. Their worries preoccupy and consume them and can be debilitating. Without treatment or a serious change of circumstance, anxiety disorders don’t go away – and they usually aren’t outgrown. 

Anxiety disorders can occur at any age. Even young children (aged 6 and under) can experience abnormal episodes of anxiety and suffer from panic attacks. Anxiety also affects the elderly and is becoming a growing issue among society’s oldest. While anxiety disorders have a typical age of onset in the late teens and early 20s, they can also be diagnosed much later in life, or earlier. Like many other mental health conditions, the signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder can differ between age groups. 

Anxiety Disorders in Children

Some anxious feelings and patterns of worry are normal in children. Kids can be afraid of the dark, afraid of being alone, or afraid of going to school. Most of the time, they outgrow these worries – but when they persist, they can be an early sign of an anxiety disorder. Common symptoms of potential anxiety disorders among young children include: 

  • Extremely afraid of being away from their parents for any period of time, also known as separation anxiety. 
  • Being afraid of going to school, or being around strangers, as a form of social anxiety. 
  • Being worried about bad things happening all the time, also known as generalized anxiety.
  • Extreme fear of a specific thing, situation, or feeling, to the point that they bring it up or are worried about it randomly.  
  • Experiencing random episodes of sudden, intense fear, increased heart rate, and dizziness, also known as a panic attack. 
  • Physical symptoms, especially stomachaches and headaches because of stress and worry. Kids can also get stress-related ulcers and mouth sores. 

Risk factors for childhood anxiety include environmental ones, such as a stressful home environment, early history of abuse, or witnessing violence, but can also include internal factors such as genetics. A family history of anxiety disorders can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder, especially if it’s a close relation (older sibling or parent). 

Differentiating between normal childhood fears and anxiety can be difficult. It’s important not to pathologize a child’s personality, but if their worries are interfering with life and school to the point that they cannot connect with other kids or are struggling, then consider talking to a pediatrician about screening for anxiety or another health issue. 

Teenage Anxiety

The teen years are the most common for an onset of anxiety disorders, for biological, social, and psychological reasons. Teens are undergoing rapid hormonal changes, which can affect mood and mental wellbeing, as well as a growing awareness of social hierarchies and interpersonal relationships. 

Teens are grappling with the mounting responsibilities of oncoming adulthood, while slowly maturing out of their childhoods. The teen years are wrought with elements of sudden, unwanted, and even violent change. 

Whereas children are worried about being away from their parents or among strangers, teenagers become more worried about other people’s perception of them, their place in the world, as well as academic pressures or career anxiety. Signs of teen anxiety include: 

  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Self-inflicted isolation
  • Avoiding relationships with other people
  • Difficulty focusing or retaining information
  • Higher irritability than children or adults
  • Greater degree of perfectionism (and mounting frustration)
  • Frequent negative self-talk
  • Constant complaints of fatigue 
  • Unexplained nausea, stomach aches, or loss of appetite

Anxiety disorders are more common than any other type of mental health issue, including depression and substance use issues. However, anxiety disorders often co-occur with other conditions such as those. Teens with diagnosed anxiety disorders also have a higher likelihood of early high-risk sexual behavior, binge drinking, early drug use, and unsafe/drunk driving. 

Does Anxiety Go Away?

You can outgrow some fears, like the fear of the dark, or what’s underneath your bed. But mental health issues, when left unaddressed, don’t usually magically disappear. Most anxiety disorders tend to be chronic if not treated. 

Even ADHD, which is often considered a childhood condition, can still be diagnosed in adults, and is becoming more prevalent as people gain awareness of the signs. 

While growing older might not resolve your anxiety on its own, getting treatment can – the earlier, the better. Visions offers residential care programs for teens with mental health issues.

Our treatment modalities allow for a comprehensive holistic approach for conditions such as social anxiety, panic disorder, or substance use disorder. We leverage psychotherapy as well as experiential therapies. Learn more about our programs through our website, or give us a call

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Anxiety Depression

Missing School Because of Depression and Anxiety

Rates of anxiety and depression are rising among kids – and for some teens, the stressors and pressures of daily academic life are making it worse. Is the solution a return to homeschooling? Or can parents help their teens find a balance between their academic responsibilities and their personal needs?

Sadly, there is no universal answer. But targeted and personalized coping strategies, a revised schedule, and a greater emphasis on student mental health at schools across the nation might help deal with the issue.

Are Kids Missing School Because of Depression and Anxiety?

Some of them are. Researchers note that school attendance problems due to an existing mental health issue have become a rising concern among educators, especially after the pandemic. While many kids cherish the return to school and the opportunity to be among their peers, some teens are struggling to readjust – while most teens agree that not enough is being done to help deal with rising teenage mental health concerns.
A growing number of states have enacted new laws to allow a certain number of absences for mental health reasons, the same as a physical sick day. Yet sometimes, taking a few days off just isn’t enough.

It’s Okay to Miss School Sometimes

Helping teens by allowing them to take a few days off if they’re feeling particularly anxious or need time to collect themselves because of the pressure they’re feeling is a good first step towards acknowledging that kids, too, can experience burnouts, especially if they have a diagnosed mental health condition.

But when a few days off turns into a regularly scheduled string of absences, it’s clear that more needs to be done. Teens who take a day off and return to school more stressed than before – due to mounting schoolwork, increased deadlines, or missed lessons – aren’t getting much out of their day off.
Unlike a few sick days, where students return with the expectation that they’ll need to catch up on the lesson plan, a mental health day would sometimes need to be accompanied with a more thorough consideration for how a teen could better cope with their academic responsibilities while dealing with their anxious or depressive symptoms, from both parents and educators.

How is Mental Health Tackled in Your Child’s School?

As more teens are struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, schools need to respond by providing greater access to mental healthcare resources, as well as employing more mental health professionals (such as qualified counselors) to help teens who need an adult to listen to their problems. How well equipped is your teen’s school to deal with mounting mental health issues among the student body? Are there any systems in place for helping teens who have a string of absences get back into the curriculum or continue to learn from home? What about counseling and other resources?

When to Consider Inpatient Treatment

If your teen’s mental health issues are getting in the way of their academic future time and time again, you may want to consider an alternative arrangement – especially if their symptoms are getting worse, and you don’t know how to help them. Some teen mental health treatment facilities offer accredited day school programs to help clients keep up with their peers while in treatment.

FAQs

Parents and educators ask us different questions about the phenomenon of mental health problems and school attendance issues, like:

Is it common for students to miss school because of depression and anxiety?

It has become more common, yes. More and more students are reportedly feeling unfocused and preoccupied with their mental health struggles while attending school. In a 2020 Harris poll, an overwhelming 78 percent of polled teens said they feel that schools need to prioritize making mental health days available to students who need extra time to take care of themselves.

Are there alternative options for students who are unable to attend traditional school?

Long-distance schooling programs have been around for decades, and studies show that some students benefit greatly from learning at home or via a smaller facility, or an alternative schedule. It is crucial to ensure that your teen’s social health does not suffer because of alternative schooling. Research shows that a more diverse set of friends and acquaintances can be positive for a teen’s development and mental health, as well.

Are there any legal protections in place for students who need to miss school?

Only seven states currently have new laws in place to allow excused absences for mental health reasons, but that list may be expanding over time. Keep an eye out for such laws in your state or find out if they have already been enacted.

Is online schooling a viable option for students struggling with depression and anxiety?

There are pros and cons to an online or virtual classroom. While working and learning from home can benefit some students who feel anxious about school, and allow them to keep up with other peers in the same age group, it’s important not to let a teen’s social health deteriorate from a lack of contact with their peers.

Learn more about helping your teen deal with academic pressures and challenges while treating their depression or anxiety via our mental health treatment for teens at Visions Teen Treatment.

Conclusion

Missing school can have an impact on a teen’s academic success, as well as their social and personal wellbeing. While taking days off to focus on mental health can be beneficial, a string of absences can only serve to further worsen a teen’s school anxieties and drive a rift between them and their future. It’s important to work with administrators and educators to create a safer, welcoming school environment, foster a better understanding for mental health issues, invest in local mental health resources, and focus on building your teen’s support network in and outside of school. Together, communities can work towards ensuring early interventions for their teens, recognizing signs of academic burnout and depression, and empowering students to overcome crucial obstacles.

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Anxiety Depression

8 Common Signs of Teen Anxiety and Depression

Teen anxiety and depression rates continue to rise, yet remarkably few teens are getting the help they need. Studies show that, despite improvements in the general public’s understanding of mental health issues and their prevalence, especially among younger generations, roughly 6 in 10 teens are getting help for their symptoms, and systemic reviews show that stigma remains rampant – both on the individual, internalized level, as well as widespread institutionalized stigma. 

Recognizing teen anxiety and depression is the first step to getting your teen friends or loved ones the help they need. Some of the signs and symptoms of teen anxiety and depression can be surprising or overwhelming, and it can be difficult to figure out when or where to get help. 

Common Signs of Teen Anxiety and Depression

Adolescence can be a difficult and confusing time, especially in the modern world. Teens today have access to more information and data than ever before. Furthermore, our understanding of mental health as a general public has improved, meaning more teens today are able to articulate and name their feelings, rather than living with an unnamed malaise or unease. 

But that hasn’t made dealing with or living with an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder any easier. Whether through external stressors – such as social media, academic pressure, or world events – or internal stressors, anxiety-prone teens may find themselves struggling with their symptoms more and more as they transition toward adulthood. Now is the most crucial time to begin working on ways to manage and reduce those symptoms. 

1. Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia

It’s not unusual for teens to stay up a little late or pull the occasional one-nighter. But in addition to generally not sleeping enough, teens with anxiety problems or recurring episodes of depression are more likely to struggle with their sleeping schedule, sometimes experiencing long periods of sleeplessness or insomnia. 

This can become a vicious cycle. Sleep is crucial for both mental and physical well-being, and poor sleep correlates heavily to poorer mental health, as well as serious cognitive and physical deficits. 

2. Changes in Appetite and Weight

Changes in weight and appetite are normal for teens, especially as they go through puberty. But rapid and sudden weight gain or weight loss – often to an extreme degree – may be a sign of something else, especially in conjunction with other symptoms of stress or strange moods. 

3. Physical and Mental Fatigue

Being tired is one thing, but overwhelming fatigue is another. Teens with anxiety or depressive symptoms often struggle with both physical and mental malaise, such as brain fog, a loss of focus or an inability to concentrate, chronic procrastination, inability to remember things as well as before, and a seeming loss or lack of energy in most physical endeavors. It’s easy to blame this on teenage laziness, but research tells us that many instances of so-called laziness are often a sign of something else, instead. 

4. Irritability and Anger Issues

Anxiety and depression are associated with fear, apathy, or sadness – but they can also inspire episodes of anger, confusion, and restless frustration. If your teen is struggling with emotional control and experiencing episodes of frustration out of nowhere, there may be more behind-the-scenes than typical teenage mood changes. 

5. Unexplained Guilt and Sadness

Depression is often associated with heavy feelings of guilt, as well as a negative self-image, poor self-esteem, and the tendency to reflect on the past negatively – undervaluing or completely forgetting positive experiences and focusing solely on the bad. 

Learning to deal with these emotions can be extremely difficult, especially alone, and they can lead to a spiral of negative introspection. 

6. Recurring Fears and Blanketed Worries

It’s normal to be stressed out about school, relationships, societal expectations, or the challenges of growing into an adult. 

Even when asking other adults, it’s hard to change the fact that no two generations grow up in the same world, so your parents and grandparents don’t always have the answers you feel you need. 

But anxiety disorders are different from the usual fare of worries and fears. 

These are irrational and overwhelming symptoms of physical and emotional stress, sometimes for very specific and isolated reasons, and sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. Dealing with that anxiety when you can’t identify where it’s coming from – or when you can’t begin to address its origins – is terrifying and frustrating. 

7. Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are more severe and immediate forms of anxiety, usually involving severe physical symptoms such as sudden sweating, heart palpitations, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and hyperventilation. Panic attacks can be painful, and last several minutes. They can be triggered or occur out of the blue sometimes. If panic attacks occur frequently, they become a panic disorder. 

8. Thoughts of Self-Harm

Thoughts of self-harm can be motivated by suicidal ideation or exist entirely separately from any feelings of suicide (non-suicidal self-harm). Oftentimes, teens who engage in self-harm aren’t trying to die or punish themselves, but want to feel something, substituting a sense of pleasure or fulfillment with pain. Self-harm often coexists with feelings of depression or another mental health problem. 

Teen Anxiety and Depression Treatment

At our treatment facility, we are frequently asked about teen anxiety and depression. Parents, other family members, and friends want to know more about these conditions and how they affect their loved ones. 

A lot of people ask about triggers. Certain things can be “triggering”, in that they cause someone to feel uncomfortable, or anxious. But these triggers differ from one individual to the next. Think about how your teen responds to your words and actions and keep them in mind for the future. 

Lifestyle changes can help with certain cases of anxiety and depression, but they don’t replace a holistic treatment plan – they are one part of a greater, more effective whole. Unfortunately, suggesting that a single lifestyle change or lifestyle plan might end a teen’s depression is often condescending and unhelpful. 

Sometimes, parents and friends are worried about their involvement in the treatment process, and whether they can or should insert themselves in the treatment plan. There are many different forms of family therapy that are designed explicitly to help integrate the family into the treatment of a teen’s mental health issues, as well as addressing underlying family dynamics that might be affecting a teen negatively and promoting support within the family and community. 

Have you or a loved one been experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression? Do you want to learn more about treating teen anxiety and depression? Get in touch with us today at Visions Treatment Centers to talk with a qualified professional and navigate through your options for diagnosis and treatment.  

Conclusion

Seeking treatment while struggling with anxiety or depression may be less than straightforward; especially for teens feeling lost, unseen, and unheard. Learning to see the warning signs in your loved ones can be an important first step towards getting them the help they need. 

Categories
Anxiety

5 Teen Anxiety Symptoms (And How to Cope)

Teen anxiety is on the rise, alongside other mental health issues. While most people know about conditions such as social anxiety disorder, depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder, it’s important to note that anxiety disorders are by far the most common type of mental health issue across genders, ages, and nations worldwide. In the US alone, an estimated one in three teens between the ages of 13 and 18 will or have experienced symptoms of an anxiety disorder. 

We need to do better for our teens, including learning to identify the telltale signs of anxiety and help them cope as early as possible. 

In this article, you will discover the five common teen anxiety symptoms.

Common Teen Anxiety Symptoms

Teens who are constantly on edge, feel wired at all times, cannot stop worrying about certain things, or worry about problems that do not exist or aren’t nearly at the magnitude that they imagine them to may be struggling with anxiety. 

Pair these thoughts with an increase in severity and longevity – negative, harmful, and impairing thoughts lasting weeks and months – and it’s easy to understand why anxiety disorders are a huge problem. 

They keep teens from doing well at school, engaging with their friends, and developing as healthy adults. They can impact teens physically by cutting short sleep, affecting appetite, and straining the heart. 

Here are five common teen anxiety symptoms.

Panic and Hyperventilation

Not all anxiety results in panic. Many cases of anxiety may involve a blanket feeling of stress, an overarching dread or doom – but in some cases, that feeling can bubble over and erupt into an acute attack of severe stress. Panic attacks are more common in teens who experience panic disorder, which involves multiple bursts of panic within a short period. 

Panic attacks are experienced as severe physical episodes of discomfort, shock, fear, and confusion. They include a tightness in the chest, an accelerated feeling of time, a burst of adrenaline, and difficulty breathing, resulting in short, snappy breaths (hyperventilation) and chest pains. 

Teens can experience panic attacks with or without a trigger. Sometimes, panic attacks result from an acute stressor – such as a phobia, or a traumatic event. But they can also occur on their own, even in calm moments, such as the middle of the night. 

Panic can be very difficult for a teen, especially in the moment. If you or your loved one is experiencing a panic attack, it may help to start grounding them – take their hand and let them feel you by their side. Encourage them to breathe slowly, take the lead by breathing with them. 

Emphasize slow breaths in. Sometimes, it helps to hold that breath for a few seconds, before breathing out slowly. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm you down when your fight-or-flight response is kicked into overtime. 

If a certain trigger caused the panic, take them away from it to the nearest quiet or calm corner. If they’re bad with crowds or strangers, for example, take them to a quiet and calm room. 

Trouble Sleeping and Restlessness

Restlessness and poor sleep hygiene is one of the most insidious and underrated anxiety symptoms in teens. Teens already don’t get the kind of sleep they really need, and anxiety can make that a lot worse, turning opportunities for deep rest into a shallow sleep, or no sleep at all. 

Help your teen improve their sleep hygiene by taking minor, but meaningful steps towards better sleep. A few key things to bear in mind to improve sleep hygiene include: 

A dark and cool room. It’s easier to fall asleep in a calm and cold environment. Not too cold! 

Restricting the bed to sleep. If your teen spends a lot of time doing things in bed that aren’t sleeping – such as gaming, reading, or watching videos – encourage them to do these things elsewhere, such as a couch. 

Cut screen time an hour before bed. Lights can keep us up, even when they aren’t blue lights (like most screens are). 

Use calming scents and a pre-bed ritual, such as a warm shower. 

Certain supplements can help. Things like maca root and ashwagandha have been shown to improve sleep. At a doctor’s recommendation, consider melatonin. 

Feeling Nervous Around Others

Social anxiety, or social phobia, is one of the most common types of anxiety disorders. We’re not all inherently extroverted, but social anxiety goes a step further. 

It can be difficult to cope with social anxiety in adolescence – teens aren’t always nice to each other, and learning to exist in the wider social world and make friends can be immensely challenging for teens who don’t feel comfortable around strangers. The internet can help, sometimes, but it can also amplify the issues around social anxiety by creating a perfect vector for anonymous victimization and vicious online teasing. 

For teens with social anxiety, therapy may be a crucial starting point. Learning to identify and dispel anxious thoughts and make behavioral changes when meeting others – through school, mutual acquaintances, or group therapy – can help deal with symptoms of social anxiety. 

Gastrointestinal Problems in Teen Anxiety

Did you know that your gut acts as a second brain? The state and well-being of the microbiome in a person’s gastrointestinal tract can affect their mental health, influencing mood and stress. 

Similarly, higher stress is associated with poorer digestion and gastrointestinal problems. Some teens who experience anxiety are also more likely to struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, Crohn’s disease is more closely associated with depression and anxiety. 

Dietary changes may help calm your teen’s stomach problems and improve their anxiety. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about how you can help identify your teen’s food intolerances and ideal dietary choices. 

Negative Self-Talk

Another common symptom of anxiety is negative self-talk. Affirmations can help teens combat negative thoughts, although they can be difficult to integrate initially. Compliment your teen’s strengths, make them feel seen and heard, and celebrate their victories as often as possible. 

Discourage them from putting themselves down, and help them embrace new hobbies or interests that might give them another outlet for their talents or help them realize that they’re capable of more than they might expect. Support and compassion are crucial. 

It’s Not Your Fault

When dealing with teen anxiety, it is vital to impart two things on your teen: first, it’s not their fault. Second, though it might feel that way most of the time, they are not powerless. Coping mechanisms do work – they don’t make anxiety go away magically. Still, they can help mitigate feelings of stress, reduce anxious thoughts and attacks, reduce the impact of the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety, and grant your teen greater power over their state of mind. 

It’s also important to remember that coping skills and habits are equally crucial on good and bad days. It’s not just that certain behaviors help deal with anxiety when it appears – it’s that applying these behaviors daily helps combat how often anxiety manifests itself and the degree to which you may get anxious. 

Teen anxiety can be complex and challenging to address. Most teens benefit immensely from the support and ongoing involvement of their loved ones. But sometimes, that’s not enough. Sometimes it’s appropriate and necessary to help your teen seek professional treatment for their anxiety. Consider talking to your teen about getting help together. 

 

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Anxiety Mental Health

Sleep Anxiety in Teens: What Is It?

Is your teen struggling to regulate their sleep schedule? Are they often up at odd hours and can’t get out of bed until late the next day? Has your teen been complaining about a lack of sleep or being unable to concentrate at school? What your child may be experiencing is referred to as sleep anxiety in teens, which can develop from an existing anxiety disorder.

What is Sleep Anxiety?

Sleep anxiety is not insomnia. Rather than being unable to fall asleep for no discernable reason, people with sleep anxiety cannot fall asleep because of a fear of falling asleep.

Unforunately, it’s a common anxiety, ranging from discomfort or worry about falling asleep, to sheer panic or phobia symptoms related to sleep, also known as somniphobia.

In other words, teens who have sleep anxiety are somehow anxious about falling asleep and will try to delay sleeping as much as they can, even if they want to sleep.

Sleep Anxiety Is Complex

Sleep anxiety in teens, and sleep anxiety in general, is a complex issue because sleeping is often inherently tied to mental and physical health, especially anxiety symptoms. A lack of sleep can greatly amplify feelings of paranoia, anxiety, and fear, meaning that trying to avoid sleep can actively make a teen’s anxiety surrounding sleep much worse.

Sleep anxiety has its share of physical and mental symptoms, as well as co-occurring disorders. Common issues that co-occur with sleep anxiety include sleep paralysis and nightmare disorder.

Sleep Paralysis and Nightmare Disorder

Sleep paralysis is a condition wherein a person may wake up from REM (rapid eye movement) sleep while their body is still under the effects of a self-induced paralytic state (called muscle atonia).

This state is triggered by the brain during deeper forms of sleep to avoid excessive thrashing during sleep and keep us from hurting ourselves in our dreams. However, waking up while paralyzed can be massively distressing. Because the body isn’t quite awake yet, and the mind is still in a half-sleeping state, it is also very common to experience vivid hallucinations as a result.

Because of the combination of immobility and hallucinations, sleep paralysis stories often involve “demons” or “monsters” that appear in the corner of the eye or are actively hovering/standing near the sufferer.

Some researchers even believe that old stories of demonic hauntings and possessions – such as the infamous story of the incubus sitting on a victim’s chest – are early examples of sleep paralysis being retold in myth or art form. In these cases, we become the victim of our own imagination and the brain’s capacity to translate fear and distress into nightmarish imagery.

These episodes can greatly affect a teen’s anxiety around falling asleep. Sadly, sleep paralysis is relatively common – as many as one in five people experience an episode of sleep paralysis occasionally, and over three-fourths of these episodes involve some form of hallucination. For many teens who experience sleep paralysis, anxiety surrounding sleep can become a serious long-term issue and make recurring episodes more common.

Sleep Anxiety vs. Other Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in the world, including the United States. Conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect millions of people every year, and many of them experience symptoms for years and years.

Most anxiety disorders have their onset in adolescence, meaning teens experience a spike in these conditions as they enter adulthood. Dealing with sleep anxiety in teens is particularly important because of the way sleep plays a role in modulating our mental and physical health – without proper sleep, the body becomes more susceptible to illness, less resilient to stress, and struggles with recurring problems.

Unfortunately, one of the more common signs of a lack of sleep is recurring sleep paralysis. This can serve to further deepen a teen’s fear of sleeping, creating a powerful and destructive cycle.

The Onset of an Anxiety Disorder

While the onset of an anxiety disorder may be triggered by a distressing experience or particular event, most cases of anxiety occur randomly, and their cause can often be traced back to family history. However, while genes are a major contributing cause in anxiety disorders, there are other risk factors that make anxiety more common – and protective factors that improve a teen’s resilience against anxiety symptoms and make them less of a problem over time.

Learning to minimize these risk factors and build on your teen’s protective factors is important. Sleep is a big part of it.

Is Sleep Anxiety a Form of Insomnia?

Insomnia is described as a problem with falling asleep or an inability to fall asleep. In a way, sleep anxiety does include insomnia as a symptom, as teens don’t want to fall asleep. But rather than being unable to, it is a teen’s fear that affects their ability to sleep. As such, the answer to treating sleep anxiety in teens is not quite the same as other forms of sleeplessness or insomnia.

Addressing Sleep Anxiety in Teens

Paradoxically, the most direct way to treat sleep anxiety in teens is to help them improve their sleep hygiene and naturally induce a healthier sleeping schedule.

If there are other psychological or physical barriers to good sleep – such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy – medical instruments and several different forms of medication may be necessary.

If a teen’s reluctance to fall asleep is not accompanied by another form of sleep disorder, then a more effective answer would be a comprehensive anxiety treatment plan, including individualized talk therapy and, if needed, an anti-anxiety medication.

Improving a teen’s sleep can help them address their sleep anxiety by bringing them back to a state of calm, deep, fulfilling nightly sleep.

Consider Professional Help

Sleep hygiene and sleep anxiety in teens is not an easy subject to tackle. It can take radical change to help a person truly address their sleep – including physical activity, a change in diet, aromatherapy, and a major rework to the bedroom, from dimmed lighting to better temperature control, a different mattress, and certain bed-related rules, such as limiting the bed to only sleep (meaning, no lying in bed while reading, studying, or playing games) and cutting off screen time after 9 pm.

Consider talking to a professional at Visions Treatment Centers about addressing your teen’s anxiety symptoms and sleep-related problems.

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