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Understanding Anxiety in Adolescents

Anxiety is a natural part of life and an expected response to stress, especially for adolescents as they cope with increasing demands that come with maturity and entering adulthood. However, anxiety can become crippling, making it difficult to function as fear of situations both identifiable and unknown overpowers the ability to focus on other thoughts and causes clear physical symptoms.

Anxiety in teens can present itself in various forms, such as generalized anxiety -which is frequently experienced along with depression. Other types of anxiety that are common in adolescents include: acute anxiety, which presents itself prior to a stressful event; anticipatory anxiety, which features the same physical symptoms as acute anxiety yet is focused upon an expected negative result and often includes panic attacks; and social anxiety, which is the result of imagined embarrassment in front of or negative reaction from one’s peers . Anxiety treatment centers can determine the type and cause of anxiety, as well as provide effective anxiety counseling.

What is Teen Anxiety

What Is Teen Anxiety?
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How Parents Can Help Their Anxious Teenage Boy or Girl

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What Causes Anxiety in Adolescents?

Experiencing anxiety from time to time is to be expected. Those feelings of worry and apprehension are a normal response to stressful situations. But it is when those feelings become crippling that determining how to find a therapist for anxiety becomes crucial. While some people are genetically predisposed to develop anxiety disorders, there is no definitive indication of genetic cause. However, childhood trauma has been found to correlate to having an anxiety disorder later in life.

Generally, anxiety is a response to certain scenarios and expectations. This means that anxiety can be justified as well as perceived -that is, there is no immediate threat or even concrete justification for the stress. For example, an upcoming test can cause acute anxiety, while receiving and opening a letter from one’s college of choice can cause anticipatory anxiety -especially if the adolescent is “convinced” that the response will be negative.

Experiencing anxiety prior to social situations due to fears of how one is viewed and/or thought of by others, or potential negative consequences of interacting with others is also a cause of anxiety in teens.

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Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety

As a parent, it can be difficult to determine if one’s teenage child is struggling with anxiety disorder or merely under a lot of stress as they navigate high school and college preparation. As anxiety entails physical responses as much as emotional responses, there are some things to look out for. Adolescents may be withdrawn, have trouble sleeping, or be sleeping too much. They may also avoid other people and social situations, be restless, or struggle with school when they normally perform well. Teens suffering from anxiety may also be depressed, begin noticeably eating less, or even turn to alcohol and substances as a coping measure.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is characterized by exaggerated worry, fear, and apprehension of real or perceived situations. However, there are also physical symptoms that do accompany anxiety. Headaches, fatigue, and muscle tension are common symptoms, as are frequent urination and stomach cramps. Rapid breathing and increased heart rate are also typical.

It is important to note that with anxiety over perceived situations, the fear is not rational and does not match the reality of the situation. This does not, however, lessen the reality of the fear and dread that the adolescent is experiencing nor does it lessen the seriousness of their anxiety and the need for anxiety counseling.

Treating Anxiety in Teens

While removing the stressor would normally eliminate the stress of a situation, with anxiety the stress that is experienced is merely transferred from the original stressor to another target. In other words, the anxiety persists even though what was perceived to be the cause of the anxiety is gone. This is why professional treatment for anxiety is so critical, as changing environmental factors alone cannot provide relief.Medication alone has proven to be less effective than behavioral counseling, such as what teens can receive at treatment centers for anxiety.

This treatment, supervised by a licensed psychiatrist and certified counseling team, has found to be the most effective treatment method for anxiety, helping teens to better manage their anxiety and prepare for adulthood.

Elevations RTC is one such residential treatment center for anxiety. It offers a all gender environment with clinical groups to provide teens with the care and personalized treatment they need. And to ensure that teens learn skills necessary for life outside of the treatment center, focus is placed upon a comprehensive and cohesive environment that supports treatment and changing mindsets. This is seen through daily exercise, outdoor recreational therapy, and even through the fully accredited academics that help keep teens on track to graduate on schedule.

Coaches are available to help parents determine if Elevations RTC is the best residential treatment program for anxiety for their child. From there, parents will be guided through the enrollment process to ensure their child can begin receiving the treatment they need as soon as possible.

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The Elevations Team