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    Anxiety and Teens

    How Much Anxiety is too Much?

    Here are some of the signs of excess anxiety:

    • You feel anxious, worried, or afraid for no reason at all. Normally, teens feel anxiety because of something specific -- like a test or going out on a date. But if there's no obvious reason for your feelings, your anxiety level may be too high.
    • You worry too much about everyday events or activities. Some worry is normal. But if you're constantly worrying about things that are not unusual, your anxiety level is too high.
    • You continually check whether you did something right. While it's normal to check something you did to make sure it's right, continuing to check it again and again is a sign that you have way too much anxiety.
    • You're so panicky you're unable to function in certain specific situations -- like taking tests or socializing with friends.

    What Anxiety Treatments Are Available for Teens?

    Finding the right treatment is an important first step in reducing your anxiety. Treatment involves seeing a psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or psychologist. Sometimes the counselors at school may serve as a resource to find the appropriate treatment. Treatment can improve many areas of your life, including your performance in school and relationships with your family and friends. 

    Here are the most common treatments for anxiety.

    Medication . Several types of prescription medications can be useful, depending on the kind of anxiety you have. Generalized anxiety or anxiety in social situations are often treated with the same kinds of medication used to treat depression. These take 4 - 6 weeks to work best. Because of this, your doctor may also recommend another type of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    Specific anti-anxiety drugs, called benzodiazepines (the oldest of which is Valium), can also be added or used alone, depending on the circumstances. Specific anxieties, like panic about tests or public speaking, can also be treated by taking a single dose of a medication called a beta-blocker about an hour before the feared event.

    New medications are being developed all the time. Your health care provider will work with you to find the one(s) that work best for you. Remember, if you are taking medications for anxiety, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions for taking it. Never stop taking any anxiety medication without talking to your doctor first.

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