7 Signs Your Teen Is Experiencing Anxiety

When children are young it is easier to spot the signs of anxiety, their worries are typically straightforward and external. Anxieties tend to be much more connected with children’s environmental experiences rather than their internal experiences. Developmental factors play a major role in what children experience in the beginning stages of their lives and shift over time as they get older.

When children grow to be teens, their worries tend to shift inward into personal worries. These worries may include, school or social pressures, relationships, global issues, community discrimination, and their continuously changing physical appearances in comparison to unattainable societal standards.

As the use of social media continues to rise, teens have a much wider worldview perspective. Pressures increase to carve their path out very quickly and figure out who they are. This tends to make the future feel extremely unstable and daunting for teens entering adulthood.

How can you spot the signs your teen is experiencing anxiety?

  1. Increased Irritability & Sleep Problems
    Your teen may be experiencing issues sleeping early or sleeping through the night. This can be due to several factors. Including, going on any electronic devices before bedtime or from increased stress throughout the day.
    While devices before bed may seem necessary to stay in the loop on social media or complete late-night homework assignments, the blue light cast from screens is detrimental to your teens health and can increase their anxiety symptoms. Blue light disrupts your teens natural and healthy circadian rhythms. Otherwise known as, your teens sleep and awake patterns of their body that balance their overall health and well-being.
    Unbalanced circadian rhythms and avoidant coping skills to release stress from the day can foster anxiety in your teen as well as worsen anxiety symptoms and decrease their overall well-being.
  2. Weight Changes
    You may be noticing your teen losing or gaining weight. This has a direct correlation with your teens eating habits and how they are coping with stress on a day-to-day basis. They may be losing weight from the suppression of their appetite or gaining weight from coping with stress by eating.
  3. Trouble Focusing In School
    With a combination of unhealthy habits that disrupt your teens natural sleep and eating patterns, your teen may be having an increasingly difficult time focusing in school and doing well. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, without a person’s physiological needs being met, there is not enough energy created within the body to support the necessary focus required for learning and retaining knowledge. Increased thoughts and overthinking from anxiety can also disrupt concentration while learning in school.
  4. Chronic Pain/Illness
    If your teen is experiencing increased aches and pains or illnesses, this could be an indicator that they are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and extremely anxious. Chronic pains can include consistent headaches, stomach aches, muscle aches, and many more.
  5. Irrational Fears
    With increased anxiety, your teen may be worried about a lot more than they have ever in the past. They may have fears about their grades, their social circles, and their own life of survival as they grow into adulthood. These fears may also be correlated with other generalized phobias they have already had in the past such as heights, bugs, roller coasters, and so on.
  6. Feeling Isolated
    Have you noticed your teen being more to themselves recently and not hanging around friends or family as much as they used to? Has your teen expressed feelings of loneliness? Your teen may be experiencing anxiety and depression. Their experiences may be very difficult to cope with, especially if they are not using healthy habits to cope with daily school and home stressors that arise.
  7. Depression
    Prolonged anxiety symptoms generally lead to symptoms of depression. If your teen is experiencing depression symptoms, they are most likely also experiencing feelings of numbness and emptiness. Without early intervention for anxiety symptoms, anxiety and depression can worsen in your teen over time. Therapy can be a great resource to provide intervention as soon as possible. Family therapy is a collaborative way for you to be involved in helping your teen to feel better, and supporting your teen to begin enjoying their life and youth again.


Are you looking for a therapist who can help you spot the signs your teen is experiencing anxiety? Given Guidance provides Family Therapy to families in La Crescenta, CA, and Los Angeles County.

Schedule your first session today. You and your family matter to us!