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Teens with Anxiety: What Qualifies as an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety affects everyone, but according to new research, “anxiety is becoming more common than ever, especially over the last few decades.” There has been a 20% increase in anxiety diagnoses for teens ages 6-17 between 2007 and 2012. This increase in teens with anxiety may be due to:

  • The rise of social media
  • Increased peer pressure and social comparison
Teens With Anxiety: When is it a Problem?

Cheryl Carmin, a psychologist at Ohio State University says, “The fine line between anxiety and an anxiety disorder is whether or not it’s holding you back.”

Anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Distress
  • Interferes with a person’s life
  • Mood-related
  • Physiological issues
  • Irritability and nervousness
  • The feeling of danger or impending doom
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble with sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal issues
teens with anxiety
Teens with Anxiety: What Percentage of the Population Has Anxiety?
  • Phobias (7%-9%): heights, animals, insects, blood or injury, environmental causes, feeling closed in or flying
  • Social anxiety disorder (7%): fear of negative evaluation, fear of public speaking and performance anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (2%-3%): health, public speaking, natural disasters and more.

To be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, “you need to experience three or more symptoms for more days than not within a six-month period.”

Teens with Anxiety: Whom Does it Affect?
  • Anxiety affects 40 million Americans each year
  • Anxiety affects anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity
  • Anxiety doesn’t discriminate based on success or anything else
Teens with Anxiety: When to Get Help

Joseph Baskin, Psychiatrist at the Cleveland Institute says, “You don’t need to wait six months to get help.” He says it’s time to call a doctor or therapist when, “your anxiety is sustained and unremitting, causing enough problems to keep you from living your normal life.”

Treatment options include:

  • Range of medications, therapies, and wellness routines
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): patients are encouraged to face their fears rather than continually avoid situations
  • Marijuana and CBD
  • Mindfulness-based lifestyle approaches
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Exercise, a healthy diet, and quality time with loved ones (not a standalone treatment)

Teens with anxiety are encouraged to seek help if symptoms persist and become unmanageable. Caretakers should reach out to family doctors or a trusted therapist to seek out the proper treatment options.

To learn more about anxiety, click here