Question of the Week: “School has been in session now for a few weeks. I thought that my son’s anxiety and stress level would have subsided by now. How can we talk about it, or better yet figure out what is going on?”
First, let’s discuss the differences between stress and anxiety in regards to adolescents.
Stress is acute and often seen for short periods of time, and is connected to external sources such as school, family problems, transitions from grade to grade, and meeting new teachers. Typically stress is short lived. Once your child has had experience coping with the stressful or uncomfortable situation, the symptoms of stress should subside.
Anxiety, on the other hand, may be present without the existence of external factors. The stressful situation goes away, however, the emotional response (fear or worry) remains. Anxiety can present both visible and nonvisible symptoms to parents. Symptoms that may be observed can be; shortness of breath, visible upset headache, clamminess, racing heartbeat, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and often times a withdrawal from activities.
What can you do when you believe your child is experiencing anxiety symptoms?
4 Simple Steps you can take to address adolescent anxiety
- Seek professional help, specifically from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who can employ a specific skill set necessary to effectively treat anxiety.
- Be available for your child. Listen. Seek first to understand. It is important not to try to “fix it”, but instead be a reliable source of emotional support.
- Encourage your child to do things that will help alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety. Walking the dog. Enjoying a hobby. Running, playing outside, even yoga are great for anxiety symptoms.
- Recognize that anxiety is very common among children and teenagers. Working together with a skilled professional will help you tackle the difficulties that anxiety can present for your child, and aid in learning to cope and overcome many, if not all the symptoms anxiety can present.
To learn more about adolescent anxiety or our services, please visit us at Pace Counseling Group