Anxiety can impact almost anyone, including young children. It’s also not uncommon for teenagers to deal with it.
In fact, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some studies have started to show that kids and teens are more susceptible to feelings of anxiety from uncertain situations.
As parents, that can be a difficult pill to swallow. No one wants to think about their child (at any age) struggling with anxiety.
The best thing you can do is to understand the signs and symptoms at different ages. Doing so will allow you to understand that they’re struggling sooner, so you can work toward getting them the help and support they need.
With that in mind, let’s look at the differences between signs of anxiety in children and teens.
Understanding Anxiety in Children
Unfortunately, many of the common signs of anxiety in children might first appear to be behavioral issues. Your child might get angry quickly or seem irritable more often. They might exhibit disruptive behavior or have frequent outbursts.
Their behaviors can also change, from not wanting to go to school in the morning to not responding when called on by the teacher.
It’s important to understand that, for a young child, anxiety can be even tougher than it is for adults. They might struggle with irrational fears, but they don’t know why.
You might see your child constantly fidgeting, worrying, and talking to you about the things they’re scared about. Those issues can make it difficult for them to concentrate, and can really start to take over their lives.
One way to treat anxiety in people of all ages is to find out the underlying cause(s). That’s especially important for children. Once you know what’s triggering their anxiety, you can help them work through it. A therapist or counselor is often the best solution for uncovering those triggers and helping your child to develop symptom management skills.
Treating Anxiety in Teens
Some of the common signs of anxiety in teenagers are similar to those in adults, including:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Stomach Issues
- Breathing problems
But there are also some “hidden” signs of anxiety that your teen may not regularly exhibit—at least, not in front of you.
Teenagers, in general, have to deal with a variety of emotions and changes as they age. So, you might think some signs of anxiety are normal. Others, they might try to keep to themselves because they aren’t sure how to handle what they’re feeling.
That’s why it’s so important to pay attention and talk to your teen as often as possible. Some of the hidden signs of anxiety your teenager might exhibit include emotional changes. They might seem restless or irritable more often than not. For some, that could just be “normal” teenage behavior. But, if that doesn’t seem like your teen’s typical personality, they could be struggling with anxiety.
Social changes are one of the easiest signs to spot. Teenagers typically spend a lot of time with their friends. If your teen suddenly doesn’t want to be around their friends or stops doing things with them, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Sleep disturbances and problems in school are also common signs of anxiety for teenagers. It’s not always easy to spot these signs if your teen is trying to “hide” them. But noticing a few can trigger you to have a conversation with them.
What Should You Do?
If you’re worried that your child or teenager might be struggling with anxiety, the best thing to do is to find them some help. Most of the time, anxiety doesn’t go away on its own. They need to feel supported throughout the treatment process and learn how to handle their symptoms on a daily basis.
Feel free to contact us for more information, or to set up an appointment for your child or teenager., 256-686-9195.