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Adolescent Anxiety

Adolescence, a period marked by profound physical, emotional, and social transformations, often brings with it the heightened vulnerability to anxiety disorders.

What is Adolescent Anxiety?

Adolescence, a period marked by profound physical, emotional, and social transformations, often brings with it the heightened vulnerability to anxiety disorders.

Adolescent anxiety refers to excessive and persistent worry, fear, or uneasiness experienced by teenagers. It is a common and normal part of adolescence to some extent, as teenagers navigate the challenges of identity formation, peer relationships, academic pressures, and transitions. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming and disrupts daily functioning, it may indicate an anxiety disorder.

Factors that elevate the risk of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents encompass elements such as low socioeconomic status, exposure to violence, trauma, and biological factors like heritability and temperament. Children with parents experiencing anxiety face an increased susceptibility to functional impairment and the development of anxiety disorders. Over the last decade, growing apprehension has emerged regarding the influence of social media usage and online content engagement on anxiety symptoms and the potential development of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

Treatment for Adolescent Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Adolescence is a time of growth and self-discovery, but it can also bring about heightened levels of anxiety. Light On Anxiety understands the unique challenges teens face, and our Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for teen anxiety is designed to be a guiding light through these tumultuous times. Our experienced therapists engage teens in a collaborative journey, creating a safe space for exploration and self-reflection.

CBT empowers teens by teaching them to recognize and reframe negative thought patterns, equipping them with practical coping mechanisms that extend beyond our sessions. Through this evidence-based approach, teens learn not only to manage their anxiety but also develop crucial skills for a resilient and thriving future.


At Light on Anxiety, we approach medication for teen anxiety with thoughtfulness and care. Our expert medication prescribers conduct thorough assessments, working closely with teens and their families  to determine the most suitable course of action.  We prioritize open communication and collaboration, ensuring that any medication recommendations align with the individual’s unique needs and preferences. 

Integrating CBT + Medication

We strive to create a balanced treatment plan, integrating therapeutic modalities like CBT with medication with clinically appropriate, to not only address anxiety symptoms but also promote overall mental well-being for each teens under our care.

  1. Collaborative Treatment Planning: Our experienced team works collaboratively to create an individualized treatment plan that assists you in meeting your treatment goals as effectively and rapidly as possible.  
  2. Patient Empowerment: We believe in empowering you with comprehensive information about adolescent anxiety treatment options, allowing you to make informed decisions about your treatment journey. 
  3. Monitoring Progress: Regular monitoring and adjustments to your treatment plan are made based on your response and progress. This ensures you are obtaining maximum benefits from the time and energy you are putting into the adolescent anxiety treatment process.  
  4. Ongoing Support:  We offer ongoing support and adjustments to your treatment plan as needed, ensuring a comprehensive and personalized approach to your path to healing.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From Adolescent Anxiety

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Adolescent Anxiety?

Adolescent anxiety presents itself through a range of symptoms:

Adolescents with anxiety often experience persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of their lives, such as academic performance, social relationships, or personal safety. This worry may extend beyond what is considered developmentally appropriate and can significantly interfere with their ability to enjoy daily activities.
Anxiety frequently manifests physically, leading to symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, or fatigue. These physical complaints often lack an apparent medical cause and may coincide with stressful situations or anticipated events.
Adolescents with anxiety may engage in avoidance behaviors to evade situations that trigger their anxiety. This avoidance can impact academic, social, or extracurricular activities, hindering their overall development and well-being.

Some adolescents with anxiety exhibit perfectionistic tendencies, setting unrealistically high standards for themselves. Fear of failure or making mistakes can be a driving force behind this perfectionism, contributing to heightened anxiety levels.

Anxiety often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restorative sleep. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate feelings of fatigue and contribute to a cycle of heightened anxiety.
Adolescents may experience heightened anxiety in social situations, fearing negative evaluation or judgment from peers.
Adolescent anxiety can interfere with concentration and attention, affecting academic performance. Adolescents may find it challenging to focus on tasks or may become easily distracted by worry.
Anxiety can manifest as irritability or moodiness in adolescents. This emotional dysregulation may strain relationships with peers, family members, and teachers.
Adolescents with anxiety often engage in cognitive distortions, such as catastrophizing or overestimating the likelihood of negative outcomes. Distorted thinking patterns contribute to heightened anxiety levels and further impact decision-making processes.

FAQs about Adolescent Anxiety

Adolescent anxiety and depression are distinct mental health conditions. Anxiety involves excessive worry, fear, or apprehension about future events, while depression centers on persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. Both can coexist, leading to a condition called comorbid anxiety and depression, but they have unique symptoms and require specific approaches for diagnosis and treatment.

Anxiety is relatively common in adolescence, affecting around 32% of teenagers at some point. Academic pressures, social challenges, and hormonal changes contribute to its prevalence. Identifying and addressing anxiety early is crucial for supporting adolescents in navigating these formative years.

In adolescence, anxiety symptoms can manifest as excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. Physical complaints like stomachaches or headaches may occur. Social withdrawal, fear of judgment, and perfectionism are common. Identifying these signs is crucial for timely intervention and support, as untreated anxiety can impact academic performance, relationships, and overall well-being in adolescents.

Anxiety can significantly impact adolescence by interfering with academic performance, social relationships, and overall well-being. It may lead to heightened stress, avoidance behaviors, and a sense of isolation. Addressing anxiety through support, coping strategies, and, if necessary, professional intervention is vital for positive adolescent development.

More About Treatment for Anxiety

What is CBT & ERP for OCD?

Light On Anxiety CEO Dr Debra Kissen describes how CBT & ERP helps clients move past OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Learn more about how we can create a custom individual treatment plan to fit your goals.

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