As a parent, it’s natural that you want your child to be as healthy and happy as possible.
Obviously, as concerned parents, when our kids get physically sick or injured, we take them to the doctor. But what happens when our children’s mental health is declining?
For instance, it’s not always easy to tell when an adolescent is suffering from anxiety—there’s no runny nose, cough, or fever. Yet, there are still giveaway signs. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
Here are five telltale signs that it’s time to seek help for your teen’s anxiety.
1. Trouble Sleeping
Insomnia is a big indicator of mental distress, especially anxiety. When adults feel anxious, it causes them to have trouble falling and staying asleep. Teens can very much suffer from this too.
The easiest way to know that your child is having trouble sleeping is if they directly tell you—though, that is commonly not the case. Hence, it’s important that you pay attention to how your teen is behaving. Do they seem absolutely exhausted? Do they take frequent naps? Do you hear them moving around during the night? Are they overall sluggish or constantly yawning?
If your child suddenly seems exhausted all the time, it could be a sign that their sleep has been disturbed.
2. Overly Self-Critical
Those who suffer from mental and emotional difficulties tend to be especially harsh on themselves. It’s normal that we’re critical of ourselves sometimes—it’s healthy, in fact. It shows signs of self-awareness.
However, if your teen starts exhibiting signs of excessive self-criticism, this could be an issue. And if this gets to the point where they’re criticizing themselves for everything, it could be a manifestation of their anxiety.
3. Generally Worried or Nervous
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is worry. Anxiety causes people to worry about anything and everything, even the smallest things.
This constant worry can lead to agitation, inability to focus, and nervousness. Your adolescent may begin biting their nails or fidgeting—nervous habits to release the tension. You may also notice they pick their skin or are very easily startled.
Worry manifests in various ways in children, but there are always telltale behaviors that exhibit their inner struggle. If you notice a shift in their behavior or that their worry is getting in the way of their life, it is time to seek help.
4. Difficulties in School When School is in Session
School can become extremely dreadful for teens who have anxiety. Often, a child with anxiety has difficulties making friends and finds this lack of friendship to be isolating and ostracizing. They also may experience anxiety about completing school assignments and may take countless hours doing work because they want everything to be perfect or may avoid tasks completely because they fear failure.
They may also find it hard to raise their hand in class, feel nervous about being called on, or absolutely hate doing presentations. As a result, you may get reports from your teen’s teacher that they’ve become squirmy or disruptive in class.
Your first instinct may be to reprimand your child for their behavior. However, it could very well be a result of their anxiety, and they simply don’t know how to manage it.
5. Avoiding Social Contact
Often, people who suffer from anxiety will feel a sense of uneasiness in social settings.
If your adolescent child avoids contact with peers, you’ll want to pay close attention to their behavior. Furthermore, if they begin to isolate themselves even from family members, it is possible that there is a more deeply-rooted issue at hand than simple moodiness.
No two people will experience anxiety in the exact same way. We all have different triggers in our lives, different reasons for feeling anxious, and different ways of coping with them.
Children, even older ones, often don’t know how to cope with anxiety correctly and may not even be able to realize anxiety is afflicting them. This is why it’s so crucial that you pay special attention to your teen if their behavior starts to seem a little off.
Adolescents who suffer from anxiety need the help of a skilled and understanding therapist to learn how to manage their anxiety and to prevent it from getting in the way of their life. If your teen seems to be suffering, be sure to act immediately. Please, feel free to contact me to learn how I may be able to assist.
Click here for more information on Anxiety Treatment.