Recognizing whether or not a teen suffers from clinical anxiety can be difficult for parents to suss out on their own. After all, as any parent of a teenager can tell you: “getting a teenager to talk about their emotional and mental state can be precarious, to say the least.” However trying it may be, it is nonetheless critical for parents to able to discern whether their child is suffering from normal teenage anxiousness, or whether their child suffers from clinical anxiety that requires immediate, psychiatric care.
Failure to receive the appropriate and necessary, psychiatric care they require, clinically-anxious teens become increasingly at risk of developing a substance abuse problem, committing self-harm, or developing suicidal ideation (self-destructive thinking about suicide, whether it comes to fruition or not) just to name a few.
Here at one of our many goals is to educate parents on the potential mental illnesses and behavioral disorders that are epidemically affecting our nation’s youth. It is with our greatest hope that upon reading these informational articles parents of emotionally and psychologically ailing teens will be able to learn about, and ultimately, seek treatment for their child’s severe condition.
Below we have provided parents with invaluable information regarding teenage anxiety disorders, including the various types of clinical anxiety, as well as their potential warning signs.
Different Types of Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - GAD, the most common form of anxiety disorder, is defined as feeling chronic anxiousness and constant worrying, often for no apparent reason. It is common for teens with GAD to feel imminent disaster. Additionally, teens with GAD are typically powerless over their chronic, anxious feelings.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
- Feeling keyed-up or on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulties concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
Panic Disorder - Panic disorder is defined as experiencing panic attacks - often at random with little to no explanation as to how or why they manifested in the first place. It is common for teens with panic disorder to live in constant fear of experiencing their next, embarrassing episode. Although the panic disorder is most commonly diagnosed during young adulthood, teens are also known to be afflicted - albeit far less than that of adults.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder:
- Chest pain
- Choking feelings
- Difficulties breathing
- Sweating and trembling
- GI distress
- Body temperature changes, leading to sweating and trembling
- Numbness and tingling in arms and legs
- Fear of dying
- Fear of going crazy
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) - SAD, also referred to as social phobia, is defined as feeling intense, often unfounded bouts of anxiety when engaging in social interaction. Most commonly found in naturally social-anxious teens, SAD causes afflicted teens to feel as though they are being judged, evaluated, or rejected while engaging in social interactions. Additionally, teens who suffer from SAD constantly worry about appearing visibly anxious and are often perceived to be socially inept and awkward. This anti-social illness isn’t just limited to emotional symptoms either, teens with SAD also experience physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, nausea, sweating, and even panic attacks when under a heavy amount of stress.
Symptoms of Social Phobia/Social Anxiety:
- Ongoing fear of situations in which a teen is exposed to unfamiliar people
- Fear of situations in which a child may come under the scrutiny of others
- Avoidance and fear of school-related events
- Substantial interference with most social activities
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
As is the case with all complex, mental illnesses affecting teens today, anxiety disorders are devastating but highly treatable. Most anxiety disorders can be treated with a combination of prescription medications and traditional therapy sessions.
However, in the case of troubled teens, anxiety-afflicted adolescents require more intensive, and preferably residential, treatment options.
Troubled teens, who are by and large mentally ill, have difficulty with dealing with complex emotions and therefore require increasingly intensive, 24-hour supervised care. Parents of troubled teens suffering from anxiety disorders would behoove themselves and their child by choosing a reputable and clinically-tested, residential treatment option such as Family First.