Nov 19, 2021 5 Symptoms of Adolescent Anxiety

Anxiety can affect people at any age. Many parents assume that mild anxiety is simply part of growing up for teenagers. After all, teens have a lot on their plates. From juggling schoolwork to navigating their first romantic relationships to figuring out their next steps in life, it’s expected that adolescents will feel anxious from time to time.

However, many adolescents deal with more serious anxiety that persists for months to years. Furthermore, teens who live with mild anxiety could also benefit from professional support at times. If you’re wondering whether or not your teen is dealing with anxiety, keep an eye out for these common warning signs.

1. Physical Health Problems

Has your teen complained about stomach pains, headaches, or digestive issues? These problems might not just be physical health issues. They might be symptoms of underlying anxiety.

Furthermore, many parents think that struggling to get enough sleep is simply part of being a teenager. While an occasional night of tossing and turning isn’t cause for concern, it’s important to pay attention to your teen’s sleep schedule. If it seems like they can never get enough sleep, or that they still feel exhausted after getting plenty of sleep, anxiety could be playing a role.

2. Trouble Concentrating

Do you find that your teen’s attention tends to slip away during conversations? Perhaps you’ve noticed that they’re always reaching for their phone during dinner, even if you’ve asked them not to. You might feel like you always have to repeat yourself when you’re talking to them. Sure, some of these behaviors could be chalked up to normal traits of adolescents — but sometimes, a lack of ability to focus can actually indicate anxiety. If your teen is ruminating on other problems and intrusive anxious thoughts, it could account for their lack of concentration.

3. Academic Struggles

Perhaps your teen always got good grades. But recently, you’ve noticed that their grades have been slipping. Maybe their teacher has even expressed concerns. For an anxious teen, it can be hard to keep up in school. They might feel discouraged from participating in classroom discussions or extracurriculars because anxiety makes it difficult to speak up. Or they might simply feel overwhelmed by their workload, and as a result, they don’t get all of their assignments done.

4. Expressing Fear and Worry

Has your teen started frequently sharing their fears about the future? Maybe they’re worried that they won’t get into the college they want to attend. Perhaps they’re scared of losing friends, being bullied in school, or what the next phase of life has in store for them. These are all very common concerns for teenagers. But for a teen with anxiety, these worries can eclipse everything else in their lives. They might be reluctant to open up to you about their fears, and when they do, they might be on the verge of tears. These worries can easily spiral into full-blown anxiety.

5. Irritability

Yes, it’s perfectly normal for teenagers and their parents to disagree from time to time. Sometimes, a mild disagreement can turn into bickering or even a loud argument. Learning how to express yourself in a healthy way is just part of growing up, and teens will always push boundaries with their parents. However, if your teen always seems to be irritable, it could be a defense mechanism to cover up their anxieties. They might feel angry and frustrated because their worries have put them on edge, and they don’t know how to communicate this.

Do you suspect that your teen is dealing with anxiety? Working with a therapist can help them break away from the intrusive thoughts of anxiety. Solution-focused therapy for anxiety can be particularly effective for teens. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your teen’s first session.


Delia Counseling Services provides quality solution-focused therapy for individual adults and teens 13 years and older who are struggling with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, relationship concerns, and life transitions. We serve the Yakima, Washington area including zip codes 98902 and 98901 and beyond.

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