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3 Ways of Treating Anxiety in Teens

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder among Americans of all ages, including teens. The National Institutes of Health reports one in three adolescents aged 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder. The rates of anxiety disorders have been on the rise for decades and have significantly spiked due to COVID-19. Chronic anxiety puts teens at higher risk for severe mental health issues, including depression, substance use disorders, and suicide.

Beyond Healthcare is an outpatient mental healthcare provider in Toledo, Ohio. We focus on providing a range of holistic mental health therapies for youth ages 11-17 and their families. We know families are busy, so we provide flexible scheduling at our center, in your home or community, or online. Learn more about our programs, including treating anxiety in teens, by calling 833.698.0453 or reaching out online.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in Teens?

Adolescence is marked by significant change and growth. Teen brains are changing rapidly, and they face new challenges. Teens seek more independence and autonomy to establish who they are without the influence of parents. Stress and anxiety surrounding these transitions are a regular part of the process.

Anxiety is part of the normal range of emotions; for most, it is temporary and goes away on its own. However, anxiety becomes a health concern when it is very intense, lasts for weeks or months, and interferes with a teen’s everyday functioning.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety vary widely between individuals, but common ones to watch out for can include:

  • Recurring or persistent fear or worry about routine parts of daily life
  • Moodiness, anger, and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme sensitivity to criticism
  • Avoidance of people, places, or events
  • Declining school performance or school refusal
  • Chronic physical complaints like headaches and stomachaches
  • Withdrawal from social activity
  • Significant changes in sleeping and eating habits

Untreated anxiety disorders worsen over time, leading to more severe issues, such as depression, self-harm, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and suicidal ideation. Thankfully, anxiety disorders are among the most treatable of all mental illnesses.

3 Ways of Treating Anxiety in Teens

The first thing teens need to know about anxiety is how common and treatable it is. At Beyond Healthcare, we know that anxiety affects everyone differently, so we spend time getting to know your child’s specific circumstances and needs to develop a treatment plan best suited to their needs. The earlier anxiety disorders are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat, and the less likely a teen is to develop a co-occurring disorder.

Three of the best ways of treating anxiety in teens are:

  1. Clinical treatment modalities – Most experts agree that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders. CBT utilizes various techniques, including cognitive restructuring and reframing, role play, exposure therapy, and guided discovery.
  2. Medications – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common prescription medications for anxiety in children and teens. These include familiar names like Prozac and Zoloft. When SSRIs do not have the desired effects, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Effexor and Cymbalta, may be used. Benzodiazepines can be used for severe anxiety.
  3. Experiential treatment modalities – Adventure therapy, music therapy, art therapy, movement therapy, gaming therapy, and yoga are all experiential treatment techniques that are particularly helpful for teens because they allow for fun, engaging activities.

Anxiety symptoms affect all areas of life, so comprehensive, holistic treatment that combines these three approaches is recommended.

Discover Anxiety Treatment for Teens at Beyond Healthcare

Teens with anxiety disorders face daily challenges that impact them mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. Anxiety symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the degree of symptoms will help dictate the best course of treatment.

At Beyond Healthcare, we offer:

  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Medication management
  • Behavior intervention
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Community support

We understand families have busy lives, so we offer flexible scheduling, including after-school programs and weekend appointments. Reach out online or call 833.698.0453 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about teen anxiety treatment.