Anxiety is a familiar feeling everyone experiences at one point or another in life. Like happiness, anger, and sadness, anxiety is part of a natural range of emotions that comes with being alive.

It’s the brain’s natural way of responding to challenging, fearful, stressful, and/or unfamiliar events. When faced with such situations, the body’s natural alarm system goes off, inviting the brain to take action. The brain in turn releases some adrenaline which sets the whole body on high alert. This hormone increases blood flow to the muscles, dilating the pupil and making the heart pound in preparation for the three standard options available in such situations – fight, flight, or freeze.

Although it’s common knowledge that anyone can become anxious, it’s grossly under-recognized and often misdiagnosed in children and teens. This is because some children and teens find it difficult to talk about their feelings at this stage of life. Some might not even understand what they are experiencing. Also, the different forms in which anxiety might manifest could confuse parents.

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety are:

A feeling of nervousness or panic.

Being dreadful or feeling overwhelmed.

Feeling out of control.

Low appetite.

Troubled sleep.

Difficulty in concentration.

Weakness and grumpiness.

Increased heartbeat.

Unusual sweating.

Frequent urination.

Wobbly legs.

Increased body temperature.

Aside from these, anxiety could manifest in other forms such as stomach ache, slight fever, or even a phobia. This is why a careful and informed evaluation is needed to ascertain what these chaps are battling.

Many situations make young people anxious. Children might get anxious when moving to a new house, on their first day at school, while preparing for an exam, or when asked to speak on the podium. Teens and young adults too have their fair share.

Teens undergo lots of physical and psychological changes during adolescence, which could amplify this feeling. They could be set on edge when going to College or even thinking about getting their dream job in the future.

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. It could help young people prepare for challenging situations by making decisions or taking actions to keep them safe. It could also motivate them to put in their best to achieve a set goal. It becomes harmful, however, when anxiety becomes intense and recurrent. This is when it can be classified as a disorder.

An anxiety disorder results when anxiety becomes extreme to the point that it causes some significant distress and/or impairment in reasoning and functionality. This disorder is widespread amongst young people. It is reported that 7% of children have anxiety disorder and 1 out of every 3 teens experience an anxiety disorder in adolescence.Some data also suggest that 15 – 30% of young people would have the disorder before age 18. 

It was also observed that most anxious young people tend to avoid situations or tasks that could trigger anxiety. This is one major red flag every parent should watch out for. When children and teens begin to avoid school, stick to being alone, or refuse or indulge in activities that once brought them joy, anxiety disorder is more likely. It should be about time for parents and guardians to seek professional assessment and help for these young minds.

HELP FOR YOUNG MINDS FIGHTING ANXIETY

For young people trying to fight off anxiety, determination and support are necessary. Parents and other family members must support these chaps to get out of the dilemma. They also should be adequately enlightened about the right strategies to help overcome anxiety.

The currently available treatment for anxiety disorder is Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), where therapists expose the patients to the things that make them anxious, howbeit in a controlled manner. This seeks to make patients develop adaptive strategies to their fears rather than run away from them. However, this treatment is expensive, cumbersome, and doesn’t always work, especially on children.

Some scientists are researching ways to prevent anxiety from an early stage in life in light of these  A team of psychiatrists led by Kate Fitzgerald, a professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics at the University of Michigan, are working on increasing the cognitive capacities of childhood haven studied the important causative factors for childhood anxiety. This, she believes, would lessen anxiety in children’s early years and later in the future.

While researchers are on the search for prevention techniques, parents can help them get better. Firstly, parents need to acknowledge their children’s anxieties and help them get through them. They could do this by giving building up a closer relationship with their children. By letting them know, they are always approachable and ready to listen to their stories, parents would make it easier for children to express themselves.

Also, these young chaps should be encouraged to face their fears. This should be done carefully because it could be disastrous to push them to it. Parents can help their kids set goals on things they are anxious about and encourage them to meet those goals.

It’s also crucial to avoid using harsh words on these poor chaps. Rather than help, it could destroy success made so far. Positive and encouraging words can work wonders. Parents should always use them.

Healthy habits and regular exercise can also help ease off anxiety. Eating healthy foods, indulging in sports activities, and sound sleep helps reduce stress which is a significant cause of anxiety. This is also very important.

Anxiety has the potential to cause lots of harm in the lives of young people. There’s no better time to nip this menace in the bud than now. Young people need to take back control of their lives, and we should do all we can to see to it.

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