Teen Issue – Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders
Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!
Have you had a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life yet? Maybe yesterday gave you a good opportunity to do it.
Happy Mother’s Day! Did you have a special day with the people in your life yesterday? Mother’s Day is a day of mixed emotions for me. I lost my mom to breast cancer thirteen years ago. I love spending time with my family, but I miss the annual Mother’s Day flower shopping and lunch with her.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
This month I’ll be focusing my posts on Mental Health issues, not only to raise awareness, but provide resources to learn more about it and to find help if you need it. While one in five people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.
This week I will be focusing on a very common type of mental illness, anxiety. You tend to hear the word anxiety used a lot in general terms. It is kind of like saying she has a cold, What kind of cold does she have? Is it a cold or is it a disease? With colds, you rest, drink liquids, and maybe take some medicine. In a few days you feel like you are back to normal, that is anxiety. With a disease, you may still rest, drink liquids and take medicine, but the condition is either managed or doesn’t go away. That is an anxiety disorder.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Even if you feel anxious when faced with a problem at work , before taking a test or making a big decision, that is a natural response and just about everyone has it from time to time. It doesn’t mean that you have a mental health disorder.
Anxiety Disorders are mental health disorders characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fears that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside worry, and restlessness. Those disorders have names like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias, Social Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They are typically diagnosed by a Mental Health Professional.
Teens and Anxiety
Like I said, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Sometimes that response can feel very overwhelming; and even more so for teens. According to raisingchildren.net.au, here are some ways we can help teenagers face anxiety
Acknowledge their fears – don’t dismiss or ignore them. Actively listen to what they have to say.
Gently encourage them to do things they are anxious about – don’t force them to face them. Let them know it is ok to have strong emotions about things and to be unsure how to feel about them
Don’t make a fuss if they avoid a situation because they are anxious – let them know it may not be the right time to do it, but they can do it in the future
Help them understand their feelings – share stories with them about things you might have been afraid of or challenged by. And remind them they are not alone, that other teenagers and even adults feel anxious too.
Teens and Anxiety Disorders
Unlike being anxious about something, if your teen is suffering from an anxiety disorder, there are many resources out there to get help.
Mental health professionals can meet with your teen and diagnose what mental health disorder they may have and start a treatment plan for them. There are many different treatment options, but is one type of talk therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) where a person learns new ways to think and act in situations that can cause anxiety, and to manage and deal with stress. The therapist provides support and sometimes medication to help them get relief from their anxiety.
What teens can to do to get help?
With all of the changes that a teenager experiences, it is sometimes hard for adults to know that there is something wrong. If you are a teenager and you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone about it. It might just be normal anxiety and just talking about it may help things not seem so bad.
If the issue seems to keep you from doing things that normal teenagers would do, like the character Aza in Turtles All the Way Down, the book I reviewed last week, then you may want to talk to your parents about going and talking to someone who can help you.
Feeling anxious is not fun, but anxiety can be just a normal reaction to stress you are feeling. Too much anxiety or abnormal body chemistry can lead to an anxiety disorder that can be treated or managed. Reach out for help when you are feeling anxious. There are people around you who want to help.
New Website Coming Soon
Looking forward to showing you what the refreshed website looks like. Here is a preview of the home page. We are planning to go live on May 21, 2021.
Be sure to stop by and check it out. There will be news about the launch date of book two of The Way Series, Shawn’s Way, on the new site.
Have a great week!
Featured Image Photo by Karl Edwards