by Amy Nash, MD
A national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about eight percent of teens ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder. However, only about 18 percent of those teens received mental health care (National Institute of Mental Health). As pediatricians, parents often reach out to us when they are concerned about anxiety in their children. We can help parents and adolescents recognize the symptoms and warning signs of anxiety, provide techniques for dealing with anxiety, as well as guidance on when to see a mental health professional.
Symptoms/Warning Signs of Anxiety
Some common warning signs of anxiety disorders include excessive sleep or lack of sleep, inability to concentrate, withdrawing from social activities and mood swings. Academic difficulties can also be a symptom. While these all can be normal behaviors in teenagers, it is more concerning when your adolescent is struggling to function on a day- to-day basis. If that is the case, please contact us.
Techniques for Dealing with Anxiety
Good sleep hygiene and regular exercise can help teenagers cope with stress. As a parent, you can maintain an open and nonthreatening line of communication with your adolescent. Your children should know that they can talk to you about anything, that you trust them, and that you won’t judge. However if these techniques don't seem to be working, your adolescent may benefit from to talking with a trained therapist.
When to See a Mental Health Professional
Speak to your provider if there are any concerns at all about an anxiety disorder. Your pediatrician will make an initial assessment and, when indicated, make appropriate referrals to mental health specialists. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Just as you would see your pediatrician for a cold or earache, it is recommended to see us for any concerns about anxiety.
Remember, we are here for you, so contact us
with any questions or concerns.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.