Teenage Anxiety

Glossary

Adolescents - A teenager, young person or youth.

Disorder - Disrupt in the normal or healthy function. Requires diagnosis from a medical professional.

Hyper-scheduled - A schedule that is too full, with no breaks or rest time. Can often be overwhelming.

Phobia - An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Causes you to not do something or go somewhere because of fear.

Psychologist - Is an expert or specialist in psychology. Studies the brain and affects of mental illness on people.

Stigma - Disgrace associated with a particular, circumstance, quality or disorder. Can be societal of self inflicted.

Symptoms - A feature that indicates a medical condition.

"I had people saying 'it's all in your head.' Do you honestly think I want to feel this way?" - Sonia Estrada

What is anxiety?

Most people experience some type of stress, or worry, which is normal. Although when these things reach a level that interferes with everyday activity for an extended period of time, that is what could be considered an anxiety disorder. Sally Winston, doctor of psychology and, co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute of Maryland in Towson, States, the main difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder is if “your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction.” Anxiety disorders can be very difficult to deal with, yet they are a very common type of mental illness. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “18% of the population” is affected by an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a very complicated mental illness, yet it is the most common type of mental illness.

"If you don't think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days." - Kris Carr

Why are teens so anxious?

Many experts believe that the high use of technology, and stress from school work are the main causes of anxiety in adolescents. Today’s teens are exposed to more technology than any previous generation. Tamyra Pierce, a journalism professor at California State University, Fresno, performed a study on the relationship between technology use and social anxiety. The Atlantic’s Alexandra Ossola recalls her study, saying, “She asked teenagers how often they use “socially interactive technologies,” like instant messages and texts, and then assessed how comfortable they felt talking to people face-to-face.” she found that the more time students spent online the more anxious they were about face-to-face situations. Hyper-scheduling is also a major cause of anxiety in teens. Sabrina is a nineteen year old who experienced anxiety disorders from extreme amounts of school work. She made straight A’s in all honors classes, and also participated in many extracurricular activities. The article Why Are Our Children So Anxious? by Corrie Cutrer, depicts Sabrina's situation, she would “experience times of involuntary shaking, an elevated heart rate, a racing mind, and even vomiting. She had bouts of insomnia and eventually full-blown panic attacks, which forced her to remain home from school.” This is a sad reality for too many students.

"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's job with yesterday's tools and yesterday's concepts." - Marshall McLuhan

What are the negative coping mechanisms?

Many teens don’t know the health mays to deal with anxiety, so they turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Some people that are struggling with an anxiety disorder will turn to cigarettes to cope. In the article, Smoking and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, author William Meek says, even though the nicotine in cigarettes can give you a temporary calming feeling, “smoking can actually worsen anxiety over time.” For those with an anxiety disorder the added stress that smoking brings, whether in money or health concerns, can push them to an even more anxious state. The article Social Anxiety Can Drive Teens To Addiction from addiction.com compares rates of substance abuse with rates of anxiety. “Studies have shown that approximately 20% of individuals with social anxiety struggle with abuse or addiction.” Teens with anxiety disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their symptoms. This can lead to addiction at a young age; in fact, addiction.com reports that, “adolescents with social anxiety started using marijuana around the age of 10.5 years. This is more than two years earlier than other teens [dealing] with substance abuse.” teens need to know that there are healthy ways to cope with anxiety and that they don’t need to turn to toxic substances.

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” - Dan Millman

What kind of treatment is available for teens with anxiety?

Unlike a bacterial infection that has one specific antibody that will fight off your sickness, anxiety has many different treatments that work differently on different people. One type of treatment is medication. There are many types of medications that treat anxiety; most of these medications treat not only anxiety but also depression. These medications are very common; in fact, The Anxiety and Depression Association of America confirms that “more than one in 10 Americans take antidepressants, the primary type of medication” for mental illness. There are also unconventional or alternative treatments for anxiety in teenagers. The many types of alternative treatments include, eating healthier, drinking more water, exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep, massage, and various relaxation techniques. The article Alternative Treatments for Anxiety, from helthline.com explains many of these alternative options, one being breath control. Breathing techniques “will help bring more oxygen into your body, which will help you feel less tense, short of breath, and anxious.” Every type of treatment will affect every person differently, this means it may take a few tries to find the correct treatment option. But with the correct treatment, anxiety can be relieved.

"Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety." - Plato

Why don't more teens seek help for their anxiety?

All type of mental health disorders come with a stigma. The stigma surrounding anxiety is often times the reason why teens don’t seek help. Anxiety.org explains the results of a 2010 survey that asked teens with mental illnesses how they feel they are treated by others; the results show that, “46% [of adolescents] reported experiencing unfair judgment from family members because of their disorders, while 62% reported experiencing the same stigmatization from their peers.” These numbers are shockingly high. When teens feel that they might be judges for something they are going through, oftentimes they will be reluctant to reach out for help. Teens with anxiety disorders are often told they “just need to get over it”, or they “need to branch out.” The article The Stigma Related to Mental Illness, reports that, “in one study social phobia, an anxiety disorder was viewed as a personal weakness.” The fact that so many people don’t even see anxiety disorders as real illnesses prevents many teens from seeking they help that they need.

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” - Arthur Somers Roche

works cited

“Breaking Free From Anxiety Stigma.” Anxiety.org, 10 Nov. 2015, www.anxiety.org/anxiety-stigma. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Cutrer, Corrie. “Why Are Our Children So Anxious?” CT Women, www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/january/parenting-in-age-of-anxiety-children-teens.html. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Erica Cirino and the Healthline Editorial TeamMedically Reviewed by. “Alternative Treatments for Anxiety.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/anxiety-alternative-treatments?scrlybrkr=70414868#Overview1. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

“Facts & Statistics.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Parenting anxious child. (2016, Nov 21). Irish Independent Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1841693439?accountid=42214

MacMillan, Amanda . “12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder.” Health.com, www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646990,00.html?scrlybrkr=df52af04#excessive-worry--0. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

“Medication.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/medication. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Meek, William. “Why Nicotine Only Temporarily Relieves Anxiety.” Verywell, www.verywell.com/smoking-anxiety-1393071. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Ossola, Alexandra. “A New Kind of Social Anxiety in the Classroom.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Jan. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/the-socially-anxious-generation/384458/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

Ph.D., Alice Boyes, et al. “22 Calming Quotes for People with Anxiety.” Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-zen/201409/22-calming-quotes-people-anxiety. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

“Shepell·fgi.” The Stigma Related to Mental Illness - Shepell·fgi, www.shepellfgi.com/managingstigma/article.aspx?aid=47&lang=1. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

“Social Anxiety Can Drive Teens To Addiction.” Addiction.com, 1 Mar. 2015, www.addiction.com/3439/social-anxiety-addiction/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

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