Anxiety therapy for teens and preteens
Anxiety is a natural response to perceived danger. It is
important to understand that anxiety is not just mental; it
is also biological. Anxiety is like an internal alarm system
that signals the body’s physiology to get ready. This is
also known as the fight, flight, or freeze response.
However, while anxiety is an essential part of survival,
this alarm system is not meant to be active all the time. If our inner alarm system is always going off, we suffer mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is important to understand that feeling worried all the time is not simply a part of a person’s inner nature or a personality trait. Anxiety therapy can help you feel better and more in control of how you respond to challenging situations and life in general.
Anxiety in teens and preteens
It is common for teens and preteens to struggle with anxiety. Adolescence is a time of great change and there is a lot that can cause a preteen or teenager to be anxious. Fitting in at school, performing academically, and getting along with family can all cause stress and worry. In addition to their personal issues, there may be stress occurring in the family such as divorce or separation, illness of a family member, or moving to a new city, which all bring reasons to worry. If your child is naturally anxious, a stressful family situation can make things even more difficult.
Anxiety disorders are extremely common in children and adolescents. According to the CDC, 7.1% (approximately 4.4 million) children aged 3 to 17 years have been diagnosed with anxiety. These children and teenagers can feel as though their emotions are out of control. Worry and fear can take over and make it difficult to concentrate. It can cause an acceleration of distress, leading to panic attacks and/or depression.
Children and teenagers sometimes need help navigating and managing their emotions. Their anxiety and fears can be general or specific. Worries can be related to any part of life. They can be worried about everything from relatively benign issues such as doing well on a homework assignment to conflict with friends, change, illness, or death (their own or someone else’s).
Signs your child or teen is struggling with anxiety
Children and adolescents are unlikely to realize they have a disorder that is treatable. They display distress through behaviors and complaints. If your child or teen is experiencing anxiety, these are some of the external signs you may observe:
Getting angry or irritable easily
Not sleeping, having bad dreams, and waking up in the night
Not eating properly
Constant worry and expressing fear
Clingy behavior – not wanting to be alone, needing to be near the parent for reassurance
Gastrointestinal complaints (tummy aches, using the toilet often)
Why therapy helps
Therapy is helpful for children, preteens, and teenagers struggling with anxiety. Management of our emotions and even our thoughts is a skill that can be learned and practiced. One of the most common, effective, and medication-free therapeutic approaches for anxiety and depression is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Cognitive Behavior Therapy is especially effective for preteens and teenagers because it teaches coping skills early on in life and gives them the skills that will help them as they move forward in life.
When children and teens understand how to manage their own emotions and stress response, they are given an important advantage that will help them be successful in relationships, academics, and careers as they mature into adulthood. This is because when we are able to control our anxiety and manage our emotions not only are we happier, but we are also able to focus on important things such as school.
Preteens and teenagers who experience high anxiety are at greater risk to develop depression and engage in self-harm behaviors. They may also struggle with self-esteem and self-worth. It is important to seek treatment for your child if he or she is experiencing anxiety.
Therapy in Miami
Intuitive Counseling provides therapy for children, preteens, and teenagers in Miami, including the surrounding areas of Coconut Grove, Pinecrest, and Kendall. If you do not live in Miami or if it is difficult for you to travel to the office, online therapy is available for those living in Florida and California. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call or fill out the contact form and click Submit.