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Anxiety On The Rise Amongst The Youth

With the youth being constantly connected to social media, its common that their self-esteem―and worldview ―becomes connected to responses to social media posts.

Anxiety is on the rise amongst adolescents and the numbers have been rising steadily over the years. The National Institutes of Health report that anxiety disorders in children and teens went up 20% and combined this with the rate of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers doubling over the past decade leaves us with many concerning questions.

As we look at the factors that could be contributing to this rise in addition to genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events, take the following into consideration:

·         Pressure to succeed

Today's youth feel the pressure to succeed in every facet of life, something that previous generations did not. Higher expectations from life may also lead to feelings of disappointment.

·         A world that feels insecure and threatening

There has been an increase in shootings and at school and public places. it is reasonable for anyone to feel afraid and insecure from just watching or reading the news.

·         Social media

With the youth being constantly connected to social media, its common that their self-esteem―and worldview ―becomes connected to responses to social media posts. It becomes hard for them not to compare their life and social connections to what they see others posting on social media.

Other than the above factors, there are some who worry excessively about everyday activities and have unexpected and disproportionate reactions to normal developmental experiences. Whatever may be the cause, this rise in anxiety is a real problem for our youth. Moreover, when this continues for a long time, it can lead to serious mental health problems - depression, substance use, and even suicide.

Who can help?

Some of the signs of anxiety include recurring fears and worries, changes in behavior such as irritability, avoiding activities or social interactions, trouble sleeping or concentrating, substance use or other risky behaviors, chronic physical complaints, such as fatigue, headaches, or stomach-aches. As a parent or family member talk with adolescents about potential stressors and help them find ways to cope. Moreover, its important to be mindful of the expectations we set for our children and teens as there is more to life than achievement.

Know anxiety is treatable!

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable andas with most problems, the earlier it is diagnosed the easier it is to treat. Cognitive‐behavioral therapy (CBT) and anti-anxiety medications are the most effective treatments  for anxiety disorders. CBT focuses onchanging the way we think about fear, increasing exposure to feared situations, and repeating positive or reassuring statements to oneself. It stresses on relaxation strategies such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and positive self‐talk. Selective anti – anxiety medications which are not dependence forming are the most frequently used medications for treating anxiety.

Apart from therapy and medications, anything that supports general wellbeing is an important part of anxiety disorder treatment―regular sleep, exercise, meditation, relaxation apps or yoga can be helpful.

The most important thing is to be aware of your mental health, ask questions, and do not hesitate to ask for HELP!


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