Entering high school is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It is full of new experiences, entering a new school, making new friends, and opening up new opportunities. For most students, this transition from pre-teen to teen-age years happens without many problems. For others, the anxiety of these new situations becomes overwhelming. As parents begin to untie the strings, expecting teens to become more and more independent, teens can become anxious about school, about being accepted by classmates and about their future.
It is normal for teens to be nervous about these upcoming changes in their life. Some teens, however, develop more serious symptoms of anxiety and these may interfere with their ability to do well in school. Symptoms of anxiety can appear during these years, showing up as physical symptoms such as stomachaches or headaches or may show up as not wanting to go to school or participate in after school activities. Parents can help teens by being aware of the risk factors and warning signs of anxiety in teens.
Anxiety disorders have been found to be hereditary in some cases. If there is a history of anxiety disorders or depression in your family, your teen may have an increased risk of developing anxiety.
Emotional immaturity may signal an increased risk of developing anxiety or other mental illnesses. When a child is more immature than their peers, they are not as equipped to deal with social situations and the academic demands of high school.
Some children have a difficult time differentiating the difference between a mild problem and a serious problem. When this happens, teens may over-react to smaller problems, blowing them out of proportion and creating more problems for themselves.
Girls develop anxiety more often than boys, according to numerous studies.
If parents pay attention to the warning signs of anxiety, it is possible to provide help quicker and assist your child in managing their anxiety. Although many of the symptoms of anxiety are similar in adults and children and teens, sometimes these symptoms are overlooked as simply signs of growing up. Paying attention to some of the following warning signs can help teens to receive the help they need:
· Teens may complain of physical symptoms, such as frequent stomachaches, headaches, or muscle aches.
· Feelings of intense fear for no reason.
· Preoccupation or recurring thoughts, such as worrying about getting sick.
· Fear of social situations, fear of meeting new people, fear of social situations. Extreme shyness may be a sign of social anxiety.
· Constant worrying about upcoming events, tests, or social situations. Although worry is a normal emotion, constant worrying could be a sign of anxiety.
· Physical signs such as racing heart, shortness of breath for no reason.
· Extreme nervousness of irrational fears of new places and new situations.
· Tiredness or fatigue, sleeping during the day.
· Insomnia, problems falling asleep or waking up throughout the night.
Although these are not the only signs of anxiety and certainly these signs may not signal an anxiety disorder, these warning flags may signal a teen is having problems and may need additional help in coping with situations.
Parents may want to talk with their family doctor to determine if anxiety is present and whether cognitive-behavioral therapy or other therapies or treatment may help.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.