Treating Anxiety for Teens

Anxiety in teens is rising, and counseling that focuses on teens and their needs is effective treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 1 in 3 adolescents ages 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder. These numbers are going up, and from 2007 to 2012, anxiety disorders in teens increased 20%. 

Teens are under a lot of different pressures now than the generations before them, and that is probably a big contributor to the rise in their overall anxiety. One of these is an ever increasing pressure to succeed and to meet high expectations. An annual survey found that in 2016, 41% of incoming college freshmen said they felt overwhelmed by all they have to do, as compared with 18% in 1985. 

The world also feels scary and threatening to teens, especially due to school shootings. They are living with school lockdown drills and know about other public shootings that have happened around the country. It can leave them with the feeling that public spaces in general are not safe. 

Social media also puts new pressures on teens. They are often constantly connected to social media, and it is not surprising that their worldview and even self-esteem becomes connected to social media interactions. They also are especially likely to unfavorably compare their own actual life with the image of other people’s lives as presented through a social media lens. 

Anxiety in teens is treatable. Through counseling, teens can learn more effective ways to think through their fear. They can also learn relaxation strategies like deep breathing and muscle relaxation to help reset the nervous system when anxiety levels increase. Counseling can also teach teens about positive self-talk, where they repeat positive or reassuring statements to themselves. This helps train their minds to use more helpful coping strategies as they encounter the stresses of the world. 

Counseling for teens can be an important part of their health care. They often need support learning healthy coping skills in a world that can feel impossible and dangerous to navigate. A counselor who is experienced working with young people and the pressures they face can help them resolve their fear and anxiety.