Teen Girls and Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety affects about 20 percent of children and adolescents over time. An estimated 10 percent of teenagers struggle with some type of anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, only one in five teens will seek treatment for anxiety.
Anxiety is the body’s normal reaction to stress or danger. Although mild or brief anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, anxiety can become a problem when it persists for over 6 months and affects school, work and relationships. In addition, many teens turn to substance abuse as a way to cope, which can exacerbate anxiety disorders.
If your teen girl is struggling with substance abuse and an anxiety disorder, you’ve probably recognized some of the following signs:
- Withdrawing from activities because they seem scary
- Changes in school performance
- Poor sleeping patterns (insomnia)
- Fidgety/restlessness (shaking, trembling or constant shifting)
- Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness
- Changes in diet (eating too much or eating too little)
- Sudden and frequent panic attacks
It’s no secret that girls mature emotionally faster than boys, which makes them more sensitive and vulnerable to anxiety. Like depression, girls have a higher rate of anxiety than boys. Their behavioral problems can often be due to their anxiety or another co-occurring mental disorder.
Common Co-occurring Disorders
Although symptoms of anxiety can vary, they are usually excessive and due to some irrational fear of a situation, person or event. Anxiety commonly co-occurs with other conditions such as:
- Substance Use Disorder (SUD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Major depressive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It’s common for teen girls to isolate themselves and self-medicate or try to ease their anxiety with substance abuse. Alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, and even promiscuous sex are often used to escape the symptoms of anxiety or avoid emotions from underlying issues.
If your teen has turned to substance abuse as a way to cope, we can help. Our board-certified treatment team has experience healing teen girls who are struggling with substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Learn more by contacting Teen Treatment Center today at (844) 319-5239. We're available 24/7.
3 Common Types of Anxiety in Teens
Generalized anxiety disorder is the constant worry, fear or preoccupation about several things that lasts for at least 6 months. Although there is no reason to worry at all, the fear and anxiety can keep your teen from completing important tasks in school, work or social functions.
Panic disorder focuses specifically on the out of control feelings that occur during sudden and repeated panic attacks. They can occur anytime and often they occur during intense worry that something bad will occur. If a teen girl is struggling with panic attacks, she will try to avoid the situation or place where panic attacks have occurred in the past.
Social anxiety refers to the fear of going out in social environments and being negatively judged. The social environment can be anywhere that makes a person feel uncomfortable. Teen girls may have severe anxiety because they may fear how they will look in a social setting whether it’s school, church, a special event or any other public place.
There are other anxiety disorders, but the above are the most common in teen girls specifically. Specific phobias, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, selective mutism, and substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder also fall under the class of anxiety disorders.
Effective Ways to Treat Anxiety and Substance Abuse
The most effective treatment for teen girls with anxiety and substance abuse issues is at an accredited teen rehab facility with licensed therapists. At Teen Treatment Center, we help teen girls thrive in recovery with an individualized, integrative treatment approach such as:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a great method of psychotherapy for treating anxiety and underlying issues. CBT can help teen girls deal with any thoughts and feelings that may lead to maladaptive behaviors such as substance abuse, promiscuity, acting out and/or self-harm.
Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) can also be a very helpful method of therapy that can help teen girls control their impulsivity, self-destruction and self-harming behaviors. DBT is mindfulness training designed to help a person understand their emotions and how they can better develop healthy behaviors.
We also utilize the following evidence-based treatment methods and services:
- Individual and group therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Family therapy
- Academic support
- Recreational activities
- Life skills training
With professional guidance, teen girls struggling with anxiety can begin to work on their underlying issues individually with a therapist as well as address issues that improve the family dynamic.
To find out how Teen Treatment Center can help your teen girl overcome anxiety, substance abuse issues and other mental or behavioral problems, call us today at (844) 319-5239. Our admissions counselors are always available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.
All consultations with our admissions counselors are confidential and free.
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