The only way that you can move forward with your life if you’re experiencing anxiety is to find a way to face it. Although it might be easy to ignore it or use drugs as a way to get around it, neither of these solutions are long-term. In other words, neither of these two choices are going to help you with the anxiety in the long-run. Sure, it might work temporarily, but if you’re only going to manage your anxiety in the short-term, it’s bound to return.
As a teen, you should know that there are a number of reasons why anxiety might show up in your life. And you should also know that it’s okay to experience anxiety. It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you, and it doesn’t mean that there is anything to be embarrassed of. Experiencing anxiety simply means that what you’re experiencing on the inside needs some attention. That’s all. It’s that simple. You might have to give yourself that attention, or you might have to call upon the help of your parents, a mental health professional, or a school counselor.
One of the most common anxiety disorders among adolescents is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It’s a diagnosis given to those teens who experience excessive and irrational worry for at least six months. The excessive anxiety interferes with the ability to function at school, have healthy friendships, and usually consists of extreme worry even for everyday matters. Other forms of anxiety disorders among teens include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Phobias.
There are many ways in which anxiety might begin to develop in your life. It can happen slowly or suddenly as a result of a trauma. Below are some other important points to know about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety…
- may be associated with a precipitating event, such as a death of a friend or family member.
- may begin spontaneously (some anxiety symptoms may appear before the onset of disorder).
- may range from mild to severe and disrupt the ability to function at home or school.
- may be chronic and long lasting.
- may sometimes require professional intervention such as the help of a therapist or psychologist.
- may get in the way of being able to enjoy normal developmental steps like independent activities with peers.
- may bring on other negative life events as the anxiety gets in the way of making friends, being social, or even attending school.
- may lead to long term negative outcomes, such as social isolation, low self esteem, lack of independence, depression, or substance abuse.
- may get better with the right amount of support (friends, family, counseling, psychotherapy, support group, medication, etc.)
Also, you should know that anxiety is not the same as stress. Sometimes, you might feel a significant amount of stress if you have many demands placed on you. For instance, if you’re in the school play and your opening night is tomorrow, you might be feeling nervous or highly stressed that all will go well and that you’ll remember your lines. However, this is not the same as anxiety. Remember that anxiety that becomes a mental illness is an experience of excessive and irrational worry that lasts at least six months. It is often accompanied by free-floating anxiety, which is anxiety that doesn’t have a particular source or reason.
If you feel that you might have a diagnosis of anxiety, you might want to know how this illness is treated. Typically, anxiety is treated with some form of medication to relieve you of the symptoms as well as therapy to address the underlying issues. This has proven to be the most effective with most psychological disorders such as anxiety, but also with depression, and bipolar disorder.
Types of medication for teen anxiety include anti-anxiety medication, such as benzodiazepines. They include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. The risk with Benzodiazepines, however, is that they are highly addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms. Of course, any teen taking psychotropic medication, whether anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, should be closely monitored, especially at the beginning of treatment. Another form of medication used to treat teen anxiety is antidepressants. They can be used to treat both depression, as well as anxiety disorders.
Both medication and therapy are the best way to treat your anxiety, if it’s getting in the way of your life. As mentioned earlier, don’t ignore anxiety; find a way to get the support you need so that it’s no longer a concern of yours!