Anxiety in teens has had a huge presence in my life. In both the people I see around me and myself I see teens overly wrought about school, social situations, family pressure, economic issues, and lots and lots of other stressors. I believe that no child going should feel so much anxiety over everyday situations, but the rate at which teens and young adults are being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, and Panic Disorder are rising. I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety disorder and so have a surprising amount of other young people I know. I want to get to the bottom of this problem in hopes of preventing its spread in the future. I would also like to create awareness of this issue, and reduce the stigma for people who are currently struggling with Anxiety. I think by helping to end the stigma around anxiety and push more teens to get counseling, and more schools to support that will make change locally.
The feeling of Anxiety pulling you under.
Criteria for GeneralizedAnxiety Disorder from the DSM-5
The challenge with dealing with anxiety in teens is that so much of what causes anxiety are tied to the culture that we are immersed ever day in. The most notable things that have been attributed to the rise in Anxiety in modern teens are:
- Increase of technology
- Presence of social media
- The feeling of never being able to get away from the social scene, as well as the added presence of cyber bulling, or exclusion, or the new way to measure popularity by a discrete metric; likes and follows.
- The rise in gun violence in schools
- Before the 1999 Columbine school shooting, American never knew a world where schools and children were the primary target of gun violence, or any kind of violence for that matter. Since then, school shootings and violence has only risen, given teens reason to feel unsafe in school, as well as all the other stress that schools tend to produce.
- The 2009 economic crisis.
- As teens in 2018, most of us remember the 2009 economic crisis, and the burdens that it put on the average American families. Many teens were growing up influenced by the economic status of the country, and therefore are conditioned to feel stress about finances, and making enough money at adults.
- Hyper-Partisan Increase
- The most recent presidential election was proof of the hyper- partisan ship that exists in America today. The amount of animosity and strong feeling for or against certain Candidates did not exist to this extreme and has created a higher level of tension in the country than in recent times.
Instead of trying to solve all of these issues causing anxiety in teens, we need to turn to the anxiety itself and focus on finding ways of distressing, de-connecting and finding healthy releases.
“11 Facts About Anxiety.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change, www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-anxiety.
Denizet-lewis, Benoit. “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Oct. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/magazine/why-are-more-american-teenagers-than-ever-suffering-from-severe-anxiety.html.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Jr., Jamison Monroe, and Jamison Monroe Jr. “Teenagers’ Anxiety and Depression on the Rise.” Orange County Register, Orange County Register, 1 July 2017, www.ocregister.com/2017/06/30/teenagers-anxiety-and-depression-on-the-rise/.