Common Causes Of Anxiety In Teens (And How To Manage It)

Anxiety in teens can be a major issue for young people today, especially in our busy modern world. Here are some common causes, and how to help manage it

James Wilson
August 26, 2019
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Though it is normal to feel anxious on occasion, when it is continuous, it can have a lasting impact on the teen’s physical and emotional well-being. Which is why it’s so unfortunate that more and more teens are being diagnosed with mental illnesses such as general anxiety disorder.

From an adult’s point of view, one might wonder what could be so catastrophic in a teen’s life that they would feel anxious all the time. There is no job to worry about, they have a roof over their heads, clothes on their back, food in their stomachs, and no adult responsibilities.

Though this is true to an extent, the truth is that today’s teens are faced with a number of factors that could hinder their emotional well-being. Pinpointing these causes and working to find more feasible solutions like self-care, relaxation techniques, or teen help near Santa Barbara for mental health treatment, is ultimately the best way to help them through.

Academic Pressures

There was a time when all a teenager had to do was get good grades and pass the SATs to get into a good school. These days, however, the demands are higher. High school students are expected to maintain a high-grade point average, enroll in advanced classes, participate in extracurricular activities, and volunteer in their spare time. The pressure to succeed is heavy, not to mention the competition to be the best among their peers. Trying to take all this on, it’s easy for a teen to become overly stressed, anxious, and chronically fatigued.

Peer Pressure

Anyone who attended school during their adolescent years knows a bit about peer pressure, bullying, and trying to fit in. Back in the day, this may have been perceived as nothing more than building character, but in modern times peer pressure is on an entirely different level. Social media can take a prank between two teens and turn it into a viral sensation overnight that spreads across the world. Social media can also create a false image of perfection which teens want desperately to emulate. The pressure of trying to fit in with others and not get singled out, unfortunately, can result in anxiety and even depression in teens.

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Social Pressures

To coincide with peer pressure, many teens also suffer from social anxiety. As the fear of not being accepted or being taunted by other teens, they begin to suffer panic attacks when in certain social settings. Some teens become so crippled with fear that they’re unwilling to participate in certain social events and pretty much stay to themselves to avoid socializing with those they don’t feel comfortable with.

Managing Anxiety in Teens

Again, feeling anxious on occasion, even as a teenager is normal. They might have a big test coming up or a presentation in front of the class and get butterflies in their stomach. Perhaps they’re going to try out for the football team or cheerleading team and feel nervous before tryouts. However, when anxiety is felt on a regular basis to the point that it is hindering their daily lives, changes need to be made. Below are a few lifestyle changes that can help teenagers manage their anxiety:

  • Exercise Regularly – Whether they jog around the neighborhood after school or join a sports team at school, regular physical activity is known to help ease the symptoms of anxiety. It reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels which reduces stress and improves your mood. Regular exercise also promotes better sleep which also helps to relieve anxiety.
  • Eat Right – You’re never too young to start worrying about the food you put in your body. Teenagers need to be mindful of the number of sugars, refined carbs, and genetically modified foods they’re consuming. A diet rich in whole, organic fruits, veggies, and healthy fats is imperative to a sharp mind and improved mood.
  • Time Management – For teens with a lot on their plates a lesson in time management can help to ease their anxieties. Evaluate their schedule to ensure they’re not taking on too much. If so, consider removing a few activities from the list. Then, develop a routine that creates time for studies and time for fun can help ease the tension and improve their mood.
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Conclusion

Though it may seem like teens have the best lives, the number of teenagers diagnosed with mental illness continues to increase. Whether you’re a parent, sibling, teacher, guidance counselor, friend, or relative who has noticed signs of anxiety or other mental health problems in a teenager, the best thing you can do is try to help. Identify the possible causes for their overwhelming stress and work on solutions to help get it under control. If that doesn’t work, then consider talking to a doctor or therapist about further options.