10 Top Anxiety Symptoms in Teens


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If you’re approaching a big exam or your family is going through financial issues, it’s normal to feel worried. Even though you feel anxious every now and then, that doesn’t mean that you have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

Being anxious isn’t the same as having anxiety. That’s why it’s important to know what emotions, thoughts and behaviors come along with diagnosable anxiety. By learning about the most common symptoms in teens, you can determine if and when you may need additional support and treatment.

We’ll talk about the prevalence of anxiety symptoms among teens, what those symptoms are and treatments that may help.

How many teens experience anxiety symptoms?

When people talk about anxiety in terms of a mental health disorder, they are usually referring to generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. Generalized anxiety disorder causes you to feel overwhelming stress and concern, even when there isn’t a cause. Other anxiety disorders include panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If you’re experiencing persistent or debilitating symptoms of anxiety, you’re far from being alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders across the globe. It affects a large part of every age group, including teens. Nearly 1 in 3 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 will experience one. Generalized anxiety disorder affects approximately 3% of adolescents.

10 of the most common anxiety symptoms in teens

When you’re struggling with stress that just won’t go away, your mind might immediately jump to the conclusion that you have anxiety. Or perhaps it’s the opposite, and you’re exhibiting signs of anxiety but you’re brushing them off as “no big deal.” It’s important to be self-reflective and to know that it’s important to seek help when anxiety is persistent or feels unmanageable or overwhelming. It’s also totally OK to seek professional help to deal with temporary anxiety.

Even though there are several anxiety disorders that you can be diagnosed with, we’re going to focus on the symptoms of GAD, as it’s the most common and what is usually referred to with the term “anxiety.” 

Here are 10 top anxiety symptoms in teens:

  1. Recurring worries about everyday occurrences
  2. Difficulty concentrating
  3. Withdrawing from your family and friends
  4. Reluctance or refusal to engage in new situations
  5. Worrying about grades
  6. Trouble falling or staying asleep
  7. Feeling self-conscious about your body and how you are perceived by others
  8. Heightened levels of irritability
  9. Needing constant reassurance from others
  10. Feeling physical aches, such as stomachaches or headaches

If you’re experiencing these symptoms without the impact of external factors, such as family issues or physical health concerns, then it’s important to speak to your health care provider about a potential anxiety diagnosis.

What does anxiety treatment for teens look like?

Anxiety can have an impact on every aspect of your life, from the quality of your schoolwork to your relationships with your friends and family. When you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, there are several ways that you can help reduce their hold on your everyday life. 

While there are some ways to manage anxiety symptoms on your own, others may require the help of a mental health care professional: 

  • Breathing exercises — There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re feeling anxious without a direct cause, and people say, “Just breathe.” Even though the statement can feel dismissive, breathing can play a large role in helping manage anxiety. Breathing exercises can help relax your body and slow down your anxious thoughts.
  • Creative expression — The importance of creativity shouldn’t be underestimated, especially in teenagers. Activities like painting, drawing or dancing can help you express your internal struggles and improve skills that can decrease your symptoms, such as communication and self-regulation. Creative expression can also increase self-esteem.
  • Psychotherapy — One of the most effective ways to improve anxiety symptoms in teens is through psychotherapy. By talking with a licensed clinical therapist, you can learn where your anxiety is stemming from and talk through situations that are causing you anxiety. They can help you develop skills and coping mechanisms to manage your symptoms.

Lightfully Teen can treat anxiety symptoms in teens

Being a teenager is stressful. From overwhelming schoolwork to disagreements with friends, there’s no shortage of concerns floating around your mind. But if you’re still feeling worried after acing a quiz or making up with a friend you’ve been fighting with, you may have a mental health disorder that requires treatment. And that’s where Lightfully can help.

We’re here to support teens who are struggling with mental health conditions. And we’ll provide you with treatment that focuses on helping you:

  • Understand your anxiety
  • Develop strategies for managing your anxiety and its symptoms
  • Discover tools and coping skills you can use to address any future anxiety 

Change is possible for you. When you’re ready to find supportive care for your mental health, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps on your mental health journey together, and work toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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