adolescent anxiety

Adolescent Anxiety

The rise in anxiety amongst adolescents is concerning, with 1 in 3 adolescents reporting some type of anxiety disorder during this developmental period. It is no doubt that the pandemic has contributed significantly to this surge, as teenagers have globally experienced a disruption in their education, forced isolation from their friends and activities they care about, and an uncertainty surrounding their future. However, pandemic aside, anxiety in adolescents was unfortunately already on the rise.

It is important to acknowledge that adolescence is a marked period of great social, emotional and physical changes. Anxiety in small amounts is not necessarily a bad thing to experience. In fact, it has shown to help with motivation, improve performance and keep teenagers out of danger. The issue arises when their anxiety becomes chronic and disproportionate to the situation. Persistent anxiety can seriously impede on an adolescents ability to focus on school and lead to withdrawal from activities and peers, which may trigger the development of other mental health conditions such as depression and substance abuse. It is therefore essential that we watch out for the warning signs and intervene early.

Other factors could be contributing to adolescent anxiety

Social media:

Social media is growing exponentially with many adolescents feeling emotionally invested in their accounts. Suddenly, there is a lot of pressure for teenagers to present themselves online in a way that conforms to societal norms and is accepted by their peers. It is normal for adolescents to compare themselves to others as they are finding their sense of identity. However, constant exposure to photoshopped content and unrealistic lifestyles portrayed online can quickly lead to poor self-esteem and increased anxiety.

Screen time:

With widespread usage of technology comes excessive screen time. This can negatively impact quality of sleep – which in turn can increase anxiety and the risk of other mental health problems.

Increased academic pressure:

Compared to previous generations, there is a lot of pressure to perform well academically and get in to a university. Many adolescents may feel their value is based on their grades as many courses and careers require high entry level marks which is simply unattainable for many.

How can we help adolescents manage their anxiety?

Acknowledge their feelings:

It is important to look for ways to check in with your adolescent and ask how they have been feeling. Promoting a supportive environment will likely encourage your teenager to open up and feel more comfortable confiding in you with their anxieties.

Encourage healthy habits:

Having a good quality sleep routine, eating healthy and getting enough exercise can all help reduce anxiety in adolescents. Specifically, these habits can help improve concentration, increase energy, burn off the ‘stress hormone’ and help our body relax.

Encourage them to seek help:

For many adolescents, it can be incredibly beneficial to confide in a professional who will provide a non-judgemental environment to support them as they mitigate through any struggles they are dealing with. At Positive Mind Works, we have a team of trained professionals with experience in adolescent anxiety related issues. If you are concerned about your child or teenager, please give our reception a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) or 0800 327 477 (NZ) and we will be able to organise an online appointment at a time that suits your young one best.

Izzy Seddon

Isabella Seddon
AU Counsellor

To book with Isabella, please contact 1800 327 477

Guest Post By PMW Counsellor Isabella Seddon

Izzy is an Australian counsellor who has completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). She adopts a warm and empathetic approach to therapy and has a particular interest in anxiety-related issues which stem from her experience working on an anxiety helpline. Other areas of interest include, self-esteem issues, Relationship difficulties, Mood issues, Motivation issues, Impulsive behaviours, Stress management, Emotional dysregulation.