Anxiety in Young Adults
Those who experience anxiety disorder are dealing with more than just normal daily worries and stresses. Anxiety can be a complicated and difficult issue to live with because it can cause people to struggle with keeping their routine. Someone who has anxiety finds that their life is often interrupted by overwhelming feelings and thoughts that prevent them from accomplishing certain and sometimes maintaining important relationships.
Unfortunately, anxiety is actually a very prevalent problem and one that is becoming more common among young adults either in high school or college. There has been a significant increase in the number of teens and young adults with anxiety and depression since the 1940s. Anxiety can be especially problematic for people at this age because they are still developing socially and becoming more self-aware.
Current statistics show that 25 percent of teens in the U.S. will fit the criteria for an anxiety disorder at some point in their life and anxiety is the most common mental disorder in adults with 18 percent of the population suffering from the problem. The U.S. also has a higher incidence of anxiety than the rest of the world so teens and young adults in America are particularly struggling with this issue. There are a few different theories as to why teens are now dealing with anxiety more than ever.
What Causes Anxiety for Teens and Young Adults
People experience anxiety for a variety of reasons but why does the trend seem to be increasing especially among young people? Some theorize that the way modern culture has changed may contribute to issues like depression and anxiety when children reach high school age. As technology and American lifestyles continue to change it could be negatively affecting young people’s mental health.
Isolation is a significant factor in the development of problems with anxiety as young people grow up and lack a support system. People need plenty of face to face social connection and a sense of being part of a community in order to feel mentally stable. As young people grow up they may be disconnected from their friends or their family.
Teens need even more social connection than adults because they are still developing and learning how to behave socially. Interaction with other people can help them reduce stress and develop good mental health. Without the support of loving parents, siblings and close friends many teens can start to become isolated and socially anxious.
In addition to environmental factors, some young people may be more prone to anxiety because they have a genetic vulnerability. They may have parents, grandparents or other relatives that have mental health problems. Genetic traits related to anxiety may not appear until adolescence when these issues become more visible.
Recognizing and Treating Anxiety Issues Early
It is important to take action as soon as symptoms of anxiety begin to appear in a young person. Ignoring the problem or assuming that it will resolve itself when they get older may cause the symptoms to worsen as the anxiety becomes more complex and interferes with their development. Even young teens may need professional support if their anxiety is starting to cause problems at school or with their peers.
If you notice any of these symptoms in a teen or young adult then it may be time to reach out to a therapist for help:
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Fear of social situations
- Poor performance in school
- Low self-esteem
- Behavioral problems
Anxiety can be different for each individual but if you suspect that a young person in your life is struggling then you should try to open a discussion with them. Ask them how they have been doing and whether they are adjusting well at school or at home. If they seem to be having issues with anxiety then consider helping them make plans for treatment.
For parents who have teens dealing with anxiety, it is a good idea to find a qualified therapist to talk to them and give them some advice and guidance. You can also help by making an effort to spend more time with your kids, provide support in any way you can and encourage them to join clubs or teen activities where they will feel accepted. Teens need support from both family and peers when they are coping with symptoms of a mental illness.
If you or someone you love has symptoms of anxiety, don’t hesitate to look for help from a psychiatrist or a treatment center. Young people can overcome many of their issues with anxiety and go on to lead normal and happy lives with the proper support and resources. Your best option is to call a local mental health center to find out more about anxiety and ask about their approach to treatment.