7 Warning Signs Your Teen Might Be Struggling with Anxiety
Are you concerned that your teenager might be struggling with anxiety? If so, here are 7 warning signs you need to watch out for.
Teen anxiety is running rampant across the United States. In fact, one-quarter of American teenagers suffer from a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
An even more startling fact is that most kids endure the pain on their own. Only 20 percent of children and teens struggling with anxiety receive treatment.
As a loving parent, you have a desire to find out what’s going on in your child’s life. It’s also your duty to ensure they get the help they need to overcome their issues.
This article will help you spot some of the behavioral, physical, and emotional signs of teen anxiety. Keep reading to learn the key indicators.
1. Waning Academic Performance
Keep a close eye on your child’s report cards and progress reports. In some cases, low grades can indicate an issue with anxiety. This is especially the case if your child’s grades recently began plummeting.
An anxious teen may procrastinate often and miss assignments. They may eventually also begin to skip class, or even avoid school altogether.
Anxious students often have issues controlling their attention. As a result, they may not be able to reach their full academic potential.
But keep in mind that many teens struggling with anxiety still excel in school. Their academic performance often compares well to that of non-anxious teens. It usually takes them longer to complete tasks, however.
2. Difficulty Sleeping
A teenager should be getting approximately eight to 10 hours of sleep every night.
But there are many reasons why a teen might skimp on sleep. This includes the use of electronics, as blue light exposure impacts a person’s melatonin secretion. In some cases, the issue may relate to anxiety.
Not only can anxiety lead to sleep deprivation, but the reverse is true as well. Therefore, it can become a vicious cycle.
Pay close attention to your teen’s sleeping habits. Look for the following warning signs:
- Going to bed late at night
- Waking up late in the morning
- Daytime sleepiness
Make sure to get all electronic devices out of the room at least half an hour before bedtime. Monitor your child’s behavior to see if it shows any improvement.
3. Social Withdrawal
Teens struggling with anxiety, particularly social anxiety disorder, often choose to isolate themselves. They do so to avoid the stress of interacting with others.
Social withdrawal often ends up feeding anxiety even more. An isolated person becomes more internalized. This causes them to focus on negative thoughts.
Anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective. As a result, anxiety sufferers may also experience difficulty creating new empathetic bonds.
See if you notice any significant shifts in your child’s social habits. Some specific behavior to look out for includes:
- Fewer interactions with friends
- Skipping extracurricular activities
- Spending more time alone than usual
Sufferers of anxiety need distractions. It’s very difficult for someone to overcome anxiety on their own.
4. Unhealthy Eating Habits
It’s very common for eating disorders to accompany anxiety disorders. In fact, two-thirds of people with eating disorders also deal with anxiety during their lifetime.
Stress causes anxiety, but it also affects eating choices. High levels of stress cause people to crave foods that are high in sugar and fat. As a result, overeating may occur.
Research shows that females are more likely to use food as a coping mechanism for stress. Males, on the other hand, turn to drugs and alcohol more often.
Some people respond to stress by undereating. This tends to be a more common reaction in younger people than adults.
See if you notice any noticeable weight loss or weight gain in your teen. If so, it could signal anxiety issues.
5. Low Self-Esteem
Teens with general anxiety disorder or social anxiety may suffer from low self-esteem. But low-self esteem can also lead to other issues such as teenage depression.
If your teen has low self-esteem, they may constantly doubt their skills or knowledge. He may also go out of his way to seek approval from others.
Pay attention to how your teen perceives himself. If he puts himself down or reacts poorly to criticism, he likely has low-self esteem. This could be indicative of an anxiety disorder.
6. Panic and Anxiety Attacks
A panic attack is a symptom of panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. Despite what many people think, this condition is different from an anxiety attack.
Anxiety attacks usually occur gradually as a response to a stressful situation. Panic attacks, on the other hand, occur without warning, and they’re often accompanied by a fear of death.
Still, panic attacks and anxiety attacks share many of the same symptoms. Here are a few of the most common ones you should look out for:
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Dry mouth
- Throat tightness
- Accelerated heart rate
- Issues with breathing
- Numbness or tingling
If you notice your teen exhibiting signs of a panic or anxiety attack, get him to a doctor.
7. Mood Swings
It’s normal for your teen’s emotions to change as he reacts to different events. However, if his emotions shift in the blink of an eye, it may indicate mood swings. And mood swings can sometimes be a sign of anxiety.
Neurotransmitters and hormones both play a role in anxiety. An imbalance in these chemicals can also cause mood swings. The more severe the imbalance, the worse your teen’s mood swing can be.
How to Help a Teen Struggling with Anxiety
Finding out whether your teen has anxiety is only the first step. From here, you have to take action before it’s too late.
Avoid waiting for your child to “grow out of it.” This is a dangerous mindset, as anxiety may eventually affect his school performance and open the door for drug addiction. Both of these outcomes can have a severely negative impact his future.
Therefore, if you know your teen is struggling with anxiety, do something about it as early as possible. Talk to him calmly and offer viable solutions. Let him know that he has your support.
Are you ready to make a positive change in your child’s life? If so, contact us for a free consultation!