11 Sep Overcoming the nightmare: Anxiety disorders in teens
Have you ever had that classic nightmare? The one in all movies where you have a speech and run on stage so nervous that you forgot to wear clothes. That is an anxiety induced stress dream; normal, common, natural, temporary, stress.
Now imagine your teen having that nightmare every single night. Jolting awake every morning feeling that common test-day nervousness we have all felt, times ten. Nervous about an imaginary speech she doesn’t have to give. Fearful about daily life. That is an anxiety disorder; irrational, unnatural, debilitating, chronic, anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. – ADAA
What is an anxiety disorder?
Stress is the natural bodily response to a situation that is perceived as dangerous or potentially disruptive to our personal comfort. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness that is a result of the stress that is secondary to the stressor, typically a looming event or task. As soon as that event passes or task is completed, the stress is over. Anxiety disorders are when that stress and anxiety never pass, regardless of the presence of a stressor. This constant worry and fear can begin to interfere with daily life such as school and relationships.
WebMD states “The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown; but anxiety disorders — like other forms of mental illness — are not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing.”
Symptoms often include obsessive thoughts, intrusive (often traumatic) memories, nightmares, and physical reactions such as increased heart rate, stomach sickness, and muscle tension. There are multiple kinds of anxiety disorders that include: Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD), panic disorders, and phobias (that vary in type and severity). Beyond the typical symptoms, these disorders often include specific characteristics or behaviors that set them apart.
“By mid-adolescence girls are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder as boys”-Childmind.org
- Individuals with GAD typically realize that the level of their anxiety and nervousness is more severe that the situation warrants yet cannot find a way to relax. This anxiety is ongoing and constant, applying to all aspect of affected individual’s life.
- The National Institute of Mental Health defines panic disorders as the occurrence panic attacks which are episodes of intense feelings of fear and loss of control for several minutes when no real danger is present. Sometimes individuals can have such intense physical reactions during a panic attack that is feels like a heart attack.
- Phobias are uncontrollable fears that can be so strong they prevent normal function. One of the most common is social phobia, characterized by the intense fear of being judged or embarrassed in front of others.
80% of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report.
ViewPoint Center can help
Anxiety disorders are a serious medical problem and the threat to young girls is real. Often these disorders co-occur with other serious disorders such as depression, attention difficulties, and eating disorders. These problems negatively impact all aspects of your daughter’s life and happiness.
At our mental health hospital for teens, the ViewPoint Center we work with many 12-17 year old teens struggling with anxiety and co-occurring disorders. Though a diagnostic assessment and treatment process, your teen will learn how to deal with her anxiety disorder with the utmost care and individualized clinical approach
Call ViewPoint Center today at 801-825-5222.