Navigating the Maze of Teenage Anxiety: Strategies from Child & Teen Therapy

Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects a significant number of teenagers. According to the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, 39% of Ontario high-school students indicate a moderate-to-serious level of psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression).

Understanding Teenage Anxiety

Teenagers experience different types of anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and Panic Disorder are common ones.

The pressure to do well academically, the influence of social media, and family dynamics all have the potential to trigger anxiety in teenagers.

Parents may notice changes in their teenager and try to talk to them about it; however, adolescents may have a difficult time admitting that they are having difficulty with their feelings. If you suspect that your teenager is experiencing anxiety, it is vital to take action. When parents understand the symptoms of anxiety, they are better able to connect with teens and provide them with the support they need.

Symptoms of Anxiety in Teenagers

Symptoms of anxiety vary widely. Teens can appear withdrawn and avoidant or irritable and hostile. The following are some of the behaviours often seen in anxious adolescents:

  • Physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, unexplained headaches, nausea, muscle tension, shortness of breath, fidgetiness, restlessness and excessive sweating
  • Sleep disturbances, change in appetite, substance use
  • Excessive worry, fear, mood swings, irritability, lack of concentration
  • Difficulty interacting with peers, avoidance of social interactions
  • Excessive self-consciousness, embarrassment
  • School attendance difficulties, incomplete homework, drop in grades, procrastinating with work

Strategies Used in Adoelscent Therapy

In therapy, teens learn effective strategies to manage their anxiety and improve their emotional well-being. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one effective evidence-based treatment for anxiety. It teaches teens strategies for thinking differently about anxiety and responding to it differently when it occurs. Mindfulness is also effective in teaching adolescents to be fully present and engaged in the here and now without judgement or distraction.

Teen Therapy in Ontario

At Kingsway Psychological & Behavioural Services, we believe every teen can succeed once the right path to support them is found. Our goal is to help you understand your teen’s challenges and find solutions that make a genuine difference in their lives.

With over 80 years of combined experience, our knowledgeable and empathic clinicians will help you find the answers you need to help your teen flourish and succeed.

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Charting the path to a brighter future. Offering assessments and therapy for children 5-18 years old in Etobicoke and across Ontario.  Get the insights and tools you need to address your child’s learning challenges and maximize their strengths.