How to Identify Anxiety in Teens


How to Identify Anxiety in Teens

Everyone experiences anxiety, and it’s never too early or too late to start actively managing that thorny part of life. When teens start to experience anxiety, it’s important to help them recognize it and to build healthy coping mechanisms. Left unchecked, anxiety can spin out of control and become debilitating. 

In many cases, it could be life changing to seek outside help. A mental health professional can help you and your teen identify whether they’ve developed an anxiety disorder and develop treatment options to get back on track.

Here are three steps to identify anxiety in teens and take steps to manage it:

STEP 1: Look for the warning signs.

Common ones include:

  • Intense worry about everyday aspects of life
  • Fear of being in crowded public places
  • Fear of being away from parents for an extended period of time
  • Episodes of sweating, shaking, crying or nausea
  • Sudden problems in school or refusal to go to school
  • Sleep problems, irritability, or lashing out
  • Substance abuse
  • Constantly seeking reassurance
  • Compulsive hair pulling, nail biting, hand tapping or other similar repetitive body language

STEP 2: Check the level of intensity by Inviting your teen to talk about it. 

Here are some example conversation starters:

  • “I’ve noticed [insert warning sign] and I was wondering if you wanted to talk about it.”
  • “Is there anything else you’re worried about?”
  • “Anxiety is very normal part of life, and it’s important to take care of your mental health the same way we take care of our physical health.”
  • “Sometimes it can feel like more than you can cope with, like the worries feel like they’re taking up all your energy.”
  • “It’s common for teens to see someone who can help with anxiety when it feels this way.”

STEP 3: Decide on the best next steps together.

For example, learn more about anxiety and strategies to reduce it at home. For more immediate help, reach out to a mental health professional to talk through options.About

UpStreet is a mental wellness program that offers free drop-in consultations with therapists, scheduled therapy appointments, text-based peer support, and support groups for teens ages 12-22. UpStreet aims to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health support, to avoid escalation of symptoms to a crisis stage, and enhance teens’ quality of life. Reach out to an UpStreet team member now using the chat bot located at the bottom of the page.


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