Adolescent Anxiety



Children and adolescents experiencing anxiety of any form can be incredibly inhibiting for them.


Anxiety is experienced by children and adolescents for a number of reasons: Feeling threatened, experiencing or having experienced high levels of conflict, fear, feeling helpless, having their basic needs unmet, experiencing severe health issues, peer pressure, isolation and being bullied and could be experienced after an incident of trauma or long periods of trauma.


Impact of Anxiety:

Often it can limit or inhibit the enriched experiences parents wish for their children to have so that they can learn and grow within themselves. Anxiety can inhibit an adolescent’s ability to build strong and secure bonds with peers and thus social skills that they require to develop and forge more opportunities for themselves are again lost. Most importantly anxiety can inhibit a child or adolescent to build high self-esteem, self-worth and acquire the confidence they need to go out and enjoy the things they often only imagine or dream of doing. Severe anxiety can cause low concentration, poor memory and can at times develop high levels of stress for the child or adolescent because they can feel themselves getting behind in school and this is where parents offer struggle with school refusal with their children.



Teenagers - Surviving Your Parents



As mentioned above, anxiety can impact on a child's ability to make friends, and impair their ability to feel heard and understood as very important people. All parents want their children to grow up healthy, confident, strong and happy within themselves and this is where psychological therapy can support your child and or adolescent.


Psychological interventions or psychological treatments such as understanding their anxiety and its triggers, as well as play therapy, role playing and imaginal and or exposure therapy can go a long way toward helping children manage and alleviate their anxiety. For adults, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be an effective intervention for anxiety. It is therefore imperative that if you see any signs of anxiety that it is addressed as soon as possible.


Some signs of anxiety from three different parts of our functioning:

  • Behavioural Symptoms

  • Cognitive Symptoms

  • Physical Symptoms


Behavioural symptoms of anxiety

  • Agitation/restlessness

  • Pacing

  • Pressured speech

  • Fidgeting with ones hands

  • Avoidance of feared situations or objects


Cognitive symptoms of anxiety

  • Confusion

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Mind going blank

  • Recurrent thoughts


Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • Blushing

  • Sweating

  • Shaking/trembling

  • DizzinessTachycardia, rapid heartbeat

  • Muscle tension

  • Nausea

  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or legs

  • Diarrhoea

  • Headaches

  • Butterflies in the stomach

  • Nail biting



Author: Michelle Barratt

           Clinical Psychologist





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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.