Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in adults today. But, it is also increasingly affecting teenagers.Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to pick up on the signs of anxiety in teens. Most teenagers deal with a lot of different types of stress from school, relationships, activities, etc.
Yet, knowing when that typical stress crosses over into anxious thoughts is important. If it’s not handled properly, your teenager could develop an anxiety disorder or even fall into a depressed state.
The more you understand about these red flags, the sooner you can get your teen the help they might need.
With that in mind, let’s look at five of the most common signs of anxiety in teenagers.
1. Physical Signs
Some of the simpler symptoms to recognize in a teen struggling with anxiety issues are the physical ones.
Teenagers go through a lot of physical changes throughout their formative years. But, you know your teen better than anyone. Seeing strange physical changes or sudden signs that aren’t normal could be an indication of an anxiety issue.
A few of the most common physical signs include:
- Muscle tension
- Shaking or trembling
- Digestive issues
Many of these symptoms become extreme during an anxiety attack, which is when you’ll likely have an easier time noticing them.
2. Sleep Problems
Most teenagers could sleep for hours and hours if you let them. This is often due to their busy schedules, physical development, extracurricular activities, etc.
If your teen would typically sleep until noon on the weekends, but is having difficulty even falling asleep lately, it could be a sign of something more.
Anxiety tends to cause extreme emotional stress. This could cause insomnia in your teen, making it hard for them to get a restful night’s sleep. Of course, insomnia typically leads to feeling tired and fatigued all the time, too.
3. Lower Self-Esteem
Most teens who struggle with some type of anxiety disorder worry about things that are out of their control. As a result, they can think of worst case scenarios more often than not.
With teens, that often means they can assume their friends don’t like them, or they’re not going to be involved in a social situation, etc.
These thoughts and worries can easily lower a teenager’s self-esteem. If you’ve noticed that your teen has started to act down on themselves, or shares a lot of negative self-talk, it could be the result of the deep worry and anxious thoughts they’re having.
4. Difficulty Concentrating
While it’s not necessarily abnormal to have a teenager who is sometimes distracted, it’s a different story when they are having significant issues concentrating.
Again, you know your teen better than anyone. If they’re having a hard time concentrating or staying focused on things that usually don’t give them trouble, it could indicate that they have other things on their mind.
Anxiety disrupts the brain. It fills the mind with worry, changing the way your teen may react to certain situations.
If a teenager is struggling with anxiety, it’s not uncommon for them to lose focus elsewhere. This includes everything from school to regular conversations with friends and family.
5. Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks usually occur when someone encounters a specific “trigger” or situation that enhances their stress and anxiety immediately. Most of the symptoms are physical. They include things like a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
Anxiety attacks pass once the stress has been removed or the situation is over. But, they often indicate that your teen may be struggling with underlying anxious thoughts and worry all the time.
If your teenager has started to show any of these signs of anxiety, it’s important to get them to help quickly. Anxiety can get worse over time, especially if left unchallenged. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and express your concerns, without being forceful.
If you’re worried about your teenager and want to make sure they get the help they need to combat their anxiety, feel free to set up an appointment at New Milford Counseling Center.
We are here to work with your teen to discuss some of their anxious thoughts and feelings. We can help guide them through different techniques on how to manage their anxiety and take control of their life once more.