Teens and Anxiety: The Academic and Social Differences for Teens with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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The teenage years are filled with excitement, change, demands, and challenges. Oftentimes, teens may experience a normal level of anxiety in response to all of the demands they are expected to meet. However some teens struggle so intensely with anxiety that it holds them back from progressing and participating in school and social activities. These individuals are consumed with worry about a variety of things such as school, fitting in with peers, and the future.

Today, anxiety disorders affect one in eight teens. Research shows that untreated teens with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse. Though anxiety is a very real disorder, it is important for parents and teachers of teens with anxiety to remember that anxiety can be managed and treated through specialized treatment programs, including wilderness adventure therapy. With proper treatment, teens with generalized anxiety disorder can learn how to manage their anxiety and can feel in control, confident,  happy, and calm once again.

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Teens?

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is frequent, chronic, irrational or exaggerated worry and tension, that interrupts life. GAD is more than the normal levels of anxiety most teens experience day to day in work, school, and social environments. For teens with GAD, just the thought of getting through the day can provoke serious anxiety. This is due to the fact that teens with GAD tend to anticipate disaster and worry excessively about peers, family, or school. Other times, the source of the worry is hard for teens with anxiety to pinpoint. Even if the individual realizes their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants, teens with GAD still can’t seem to manage or handle their anxiety in a healthy way.

Generalized anxiety disorder tends to come on gradually and most commonly emerges in childhood or adolescence; GAD is more common in females than in males, and often occurs in relatives of affected persons. GAD can be diagnosed in teens after meeting criteria, nearly everyday for 6 months.