How To Identify Anxiety In Teenagers

Anxiety is a normal human response to stress, but when it starts to affect a teenager’s daily life, it can become a serious issue that needs addressing.

At Given Guidance Family Counseling, we’ve helped many teenagers who are struggling with anxiety. Help is absolutely available!

But how do you know if your teenager is dealing with regular stress from school or if they’re struggling with anxiety?

Here are some of the common signs of anxiety in teenagers:

1 – Avoiding social situations

This is one of the most common signs of anxiety in a teenager. This could include refusing to attend social events, avoiding group activities even with people they know, or avoiding going to school. If you see your teenager avoiding social situations, don’t hold back from bringing it up with them. Be gentle and nonjudgmental, let them talk freely about their fears and offer support and reassurance.

2 – Physical symptoms

Anxiety can also show up in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach-aches, and fatigue. If your teenager is struggling with any of these symptoms and you’ve already ruled out a medical cause, encourage them to open up about what they’re feeling.

3 – Excessive worry

It’s also common for teens with anxiety to worry excessively about things that you may view as small. This could include worry about school assignments, friendships, or even their future. If your teenager is constantly worried, it could be a sign of anxiety.

4 – Perfectionism

Perfectionism can also be a sign of anxiety in teenagers. Teens who struggle with anxiety may feel like they need to be perfect in order to avoid criticism or rejection from others. This can lead to a fear of failure, which can become debilitating and slow or even stop their progress in school.

5 – Irritability

Anxiety can also show as irritability in teenagers. Teens who are anxious may be easily frustrated, quick to anger, or have a short fuse. If your teenager is showing signs of irritability, sit down with them when they (and you!) are calmer and gently invite them to talk to you.

What You Can Do To Help:

Encourage your teen to talk about their feelings

Encouraging your teenager to talk about their feelings can help them feel more supported and less alone. If you and your teenager are not already in the habit of doing this, it can take time to build up their trust in you as a nonjudgmental listener. Practice active listening – giving your teen your full attention without judgement or interruption. If your teenager knows they can turn to you when they have problems, and that you won’t judge or berate them, they are more likely to open up to you.

Help your teen manage stress

Sadly, we aren’t taught stress-management skills in school, but our world is becoming an increasingly stressful place to live. Teens who are prone to anxiety may benefit from learning stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and exercise. Encourage your teenager to find activities that help them relax and manage stress. While you’re helping your teen, you may even find some new tools to help you manage stress better too.

Create a supportive environment

Help your teenager feel that their home is a secure, safe, peaceful place. Regularly set aside time for family activities, freely give genuine praise and encouragement, and avoid criticizing or judging them.

Get professional help

Getting help from a professional is not failure or a sign of weakness on your part! Our ever-changing world is challenging enough as an adult to navigate, let alone being a teenager with all the internal struggles they’re having to deal with!

If you live in the La Crescenta area of California, you’re in luck! Given Guidance Family Counseling has been working with teenagers and their families for years, helping them find and develop the tools and coping strategies they need to deal with anxiety. With the right support, teenagers can learn to manage their anxiety and lead happy, healthy lives.

Schedule your first session today.