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Teen Health

Anxiety and Teens

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What Anxiety Treatments Are Available for Teens? continued...

Cognitive-behavioral therapy. You'll need to see a therapist for cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. The therapist will help you identify what types of thoughts and beliefs cause your anxiety, and work with you to reduce them. It's important to see a therapist who has experience treating anxiety in teens, and to plan to see that therapist frequently. Keep in mind that any therapy can succeed only if you work on getting better. The therapist just helps by suggesting ways that may help you change and get better.

Biofeedback. This therapy uses electronics to measure how your body responds to stress. It's based on the idea that when people are given information about their body's internal processes, they can use this information to learn to control those processes.

During biofeedback, you'll be connected to a machine that tells you and your therapist when you are relaxing your body. With sensors placed over specific muscle sites, the therapist can read the tension in your muscles, your heart rate, your breathing pattern, the amount of sweat produced, and/or body temperature. Any one of these readings can let the therapist know if you are learning to relax. Biofeedback can be fun -- it's almost like playing a computer game.

Relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety and negative thoughts and help you manage stress. Common relaxation techniques include deep abdominal breathing, meditation, listening to calming music, and activities like yoga and tai chi.

Start Your Own Relaxation Program

To reduce normal levels of anxiety, set aside a period of about 20 minutes each day to devote to relaxation. Remove distractions as much as possible. Turn off the sound on your computer and the ringer on your cell phone.

During the 20-minute period, remain as still as you can. Focus your thoughts on the immediate moment, and eliminate any outside thoughts that compete for your attention. Try to notice which parts of your body feel relaxed, and which feel tense.

As you go through these steps, try to imagine that every muscle in your body is becoming relaxed and free of tension. Picture all the muscles in your body beginning to go loose and limp.

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