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Teen Anxiety: Signs to Watch Out For

Teen Anxiety: Signs to Watch Out For


Teen Anxiety: Signs to Watch Out For


Everyone has feelings of worry at some point in their life. It is a normal reaction to the demands, stresses, and daily annoyances of life. However, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to anxiety as an emotional condition because lots of changes are happening for them: physical development, psychological transformations, and shifting relationships, as well as varying goals, interests, hopes, and aspirations. All these changes create huge potential for teen anxiety.


Identifying the Signs

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 40 million American adults, or 18 percent of the population, are affected by anxiety. For teens, anxiety can be all-consuming: they seem to worry about many things all the time. Teens may feel uneasy during stressful times such as exam periods and competitive sports, or about going off to college. They may feel nervous in the company of new friends, or when relationship problems arise.

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate normal worrying from anxiety, because teen anxiety signs can mimic normal teenage behavior. It is also important to remember that the condition can have no trigger, making it more confusing and challenging for both you and your affected teen child. To make matters tougher, many teens keep their feelings private and are reluctant to talk about their emotional struggles. Nevertheless, it is imperative to take action if you recognize the following teen anxiety signs in your child.


  • Frequent complaints of physical problems – Intense anxiety affects not only the mind, but the body as well. Take note if your teen child constantly complains of physical pain and discomfort, such as headaches, stomachaches, or tiredness, when there are no medical causes.
  • Sleep problems – If your child feels tired after waking up or throughout the day, it means he or she is not sleeping properly. Difficulty falling asleep or being awake throughout the night could be an indication that your child has an underlying worry or anxiety issue.
  • Changes in eating habits – A significant change in how your child eats that is unrelated to a fitness regime, whether it is undereating or overeating, could be a red flag that should not be ignored.
  • Excessive worry – It is normal for teens to be concerned about different aspects of their lives, but if they are consistently or excessively worried most of the time, they are most likely experiencing anxiety.
  • Low self-esteem – More noticeable in a social setting, anxious teenagers seem withdrawn or uneasy. They appear preoccupied with worries or unrealistic concerns about social acceptance and competence. Self-deprecating and overly critical statements are signs of anxiety.
  • Social withdrawal – A teen flooded with anxiety may act extremely shy. The intense self-doubt and worry overpower the desire to engage in pleasurable activities or new experiences. Instead, the teen may refuse to attend or participate in extracurricular and social activities, avoid friends, and withdraw from the world.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder – An anxious teen with obsessive or compulsive tendencies may repeat certain behaviors in an attempt to mask or numb the feeling. Frequent hand washing, hoarding things, checking door locks, and rechecking chores to make sure they are satisfactorily completed are some signs that your teen may need counseling.


Even the most loving parents may feel powerless to help a teen child struggling with an anxiety disorder. Seeing your child slowly sinking due to irrational fears can make you frightened as you confront your own feelings of sadness, frustration, and guilt. At this time, you know that something beyond your parental love and care is necessary to help your child.


Knowing When and Where to Seek Help

Adolescence is a time when young people feel worried about many things, including house rules, school activities, and other “growing up” challenges. There is a fine line between worry and anxiety, but parents and other people should suspect problems upon noticing one or more of the signs above in a teenager’s life.

If fearfulness is limiting your teen child’s activities, or the symptoms of anxiety have been weighing them down for more than six months already, seek professional help immediately. Your child may be resistant to seeking treatment, which can be another symptom of the anxiety. Finding treatment options is vital not only to ensure your child’s healthy development, but to send a clear message of love, care, and support for your child.

At Carolina Counseling Services — Pittsboro, NC, you’ll have the support of independently contracted counselors who can help set your child free from the claws of anxiety. Your child will be matched with the right professional who will create a plan of care to meet their unique needs and focus on what matters most: recovering and bouncing back from teen anxiety. It’s worth making a call to Carolina Counseling Services — Pittsboro, NC, to request an appointment.


Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Chatham, Alamance, Durham, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Randolph, Wake, NC
Areas: Pittsboro NC, Gulf NC, Hickory Mountain NC, Hadley NC, Siler City NC, Wilsonville NC, Fearrington NC, Mandale NC, Bear Creek NC, Albright NC
Zip Codes: 27312, 27344, 27207, 27228, 27256, 27559


Gail Gustafson, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 9+) Adolescents and Adults, Individuals, Couples and Families. PTSD/Trauma, EMDR, Adoption, Drug/Alcohol/Substance Abuse addiction, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-polar, Life Transitions, Grief and Loss, Parenting, Family, couples and marriage counseling.
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare/ Tricare Prime Tricare Select/Extra/Retired, Medicare and Cash (Credit Cards Accepted, HSA and FSA )
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services - Pittsboro, NC
68 Fayetteville St.
Pittsboro, NC 27312