According to the National Institute of Mental Health 25% of teenagers will at one point or another be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and 6% will be considered severe. Eighty years of research suggests either an increase in anxiety among teens or a better recognition of a condition that’s existed all along. Either way, I’ve never seen quite as many teens suffering a broad range of anxieties, and I’ve been at this now for over twenty-five years. In this Fox4 Therapy Thursday, I discuss what might be behind this wave of anxiety and what parents can do to help.
We discuss what anxiety is, how changing expectations, social media, culture, and politics, are driving some teens to unrealistic and excessive worry; when parents should let teens struggle through the normal angst of adolescence and when to start looking for help.
We get into more treatment options in the Facebook discussion with Abby Eden, that aired after the broadcast. It’s been watched over 14,000 times now. In it I mention what is becoming my very favorite treatment option for anxious teens and adults: Acceptance, Commitment Therapy (ACT). In a coming blog post, I’ll discuss why we’re moving more and more toward ACT as the treatment of choice in our office. For now, these resources can get you started on a discussion about teen anxiety.