Being a teenager is stressful. The teenage years are a rush of changes and new experiences, and anxiety can be a perfectly normal response to all of it. Plus, in the age of social media, that teenage anxiety may be heightened.
As clinical therapist Heather Erickson says: “Not only are [teens] faced with a bunch of changes physically, emotionally, in their friendships and relationships and in school, but with the prevalence now of media and cell phones in our lives, many of these changes are now documented and shared. So not only is the worry about ‘How do I do this?’, it's also about ‘How do I look doing this?’”
It’s more important than ever for parents to be able to recognize anxiety symptoms in their teens and help them work through it. Our conversation with Heather on the For Health’s Sake podcast covers:
- Physical and behavioral symptoms of anxiety in teens
- How to talk to a teenager about anxiety
- Apps, coping skills and other strategies for reducing anxiety
- When to talk to a therapist, teacher or other professional
Get input from an expert
Heather points out that getting help with anxiety doesn’t mean one specific thing. “It depends on your situation, what you're comfortable with, what you can get your teen to be comfortable with,” she says. “You can always start by engaging with a primary care provider. Going to the doctor is a really normal thing.”
Your teen’s primary care doctor can answer any questions either of you have, recommend management strategies and refer you to a specialist if necessary.