6 Symptoms of Teen Anxiety in the “Age of Covid-19”
Mild anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but sometimes it can indicate a more serious disorder. At times, all teens experience some level of anxiety that can be helpful in handling overwhelming situations. Anxiety is the way our bodies signal us to be alert to a changing environment and possible danger. But due to Covid-19 and the ensuing disruption in all areas of their lives, Teen anxiety is on the rise more than ever before.
According to a recent Penn State University study, Generalized Anxiety or GAD, the most common anxiety disorder, (previously present in nearly 1 in 3 Teens), has increased in severity by 45% compared to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Before Covid, excessive anxiety in Teens could affect their relationships, extracurricular activities, and schoolwork and often led to unhealthy or isolating behaviors. But Covid isolation itself increased anxiety for everyone, and with in-person school resuming this fall, the resulting anxiety some Teens have developed may have become habitual. Unaddressed, self-esteem and productivity can plummet, and may sometimes develop further into depression. If you think your Teen might have an anxiety disorder like GAD, here’s what to look for:
Excessive anxiety & worry that is difficult to control, occurring most days for at least six months and one or more of the following symptoms causing significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning:
1.Restlessness, 2. Fatigue, 3. Difficulty concentrating, 4. Irritability, 5. Muscle tension, 6. Sleep difficulties
Other, often hidden physical symptoms associated with GAD are headaches, neck aches, nausea, and vomiting.
If this picture fits your teen, a mental health professional can easily complete a more formal assessment and help you decide if treatment is appropriate.
Arlette Kassel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Santa Clarita, and can be reached at 661-464-0629, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.arlettekassel.com
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