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Why Teen Anxiety Is Growing

It is estimated that nearly 80% of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder don’t receive the proper treatment, such as anti-anxiety drugs combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the Children’s Mental Health Report by the Child Mind Institute, anxiety disorders can begin to show in children as young as 6 years old. If not properly treated right away, anxiety can continue to manifest and carry over into their teenage years.
anxiety drug

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 25.1% of teenagers aged 13 to 18 live with general anxiety, and 5.9% experience severe anxiety. Children who struggle with anxiety are more likely to experience the following symptoms later in life:

  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Social phobia
  • Suicide

Clinical trials have shown that using an anti-anxiety drug (like Zoloft of Prozac) along with cognitive behavioral therapy results in generally positive results. Nearly 83% who receive these interventions report benefits after 36 weeks of treatment. Even with proper treatment, however, there are still many reasons why teens might experience anxiety.

Why Teens Might Experience Anxiety:

  1. School

School is one of the greatest causes of anxiety in teenagers. Additionally, 57% of youth aged 6 to 17 participate in after-school activities, which adds to their workload. Trying to balance classes, homework and extracurricular activities adds a lot of stress in a teenager’s life.

  1. Family issues

Familial issues can be a major contributor to teenage anxiety. If a teenager’s home life is unstable, they have no place to unwind at the end of the day. Even if they’re taking an anti-anxiety drug, having no place to feel safe and relaxed can lead them to feel heightened anxiety.

  1. Lack of sleep

Only 15% of teenagers report receiving the necessary 8.5 hours of sleep per night. A lack of sleep contributes to poor school performance and decreased concentration. With school already a stressor, decreased academic performance contributes to anxiety.

  1. Not receiving proper treatment

If a teenager isn’t receiving proper treatment for their anxiety, including cognitive behavioral therapy and an anti-anxiety drug, their chances of managing that anxiety decrease. It is important for teenagers to receive the proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment in order to have the best chance at an anxiety-free life.

Though it is difficult to relieve anxiety entirely, addressing some of these stressors can help to reduce it. Teenage anxiety leads to struggles later on in life so it is beneficial to make an effort to manage it early on.



“Children’s Mental Health Report” Child Mind Institute

“Any Anxiety Disorder Among Children” National Institute of Mental Health

“Nearly 6 Out of 10 Children Participate in Extracurricular Activities, Census Bureau Reports” United States Census Bureau

“Teens and Sleep” National Sleep Foundation

Posted on February 17th, 2017

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