Teens and young people

Anxiety and teens

 “Navigating high school with an anxiety disorder is exhausting, confusing and terrifying at times…..I went from being an extroverted, outspoken social butterfly to just wanting to be alone and watch Netflix. I’ve always excelled academically, but when my anxiety was really bad, my marks started to plummet. My teachers thought I wasn’t trying hard enough, and they had no idea how much of a struggle it was for me to do my homework every night and concentrate in class. I was distracted all the time because I was constantly worrying. My anxiety told me that I was a failure, and I would never get the grades I wanted. It told me that I was annoying and that none of my friends wanted to hang out with me.”Navigating highschool as an anxious teen. Samantha Goodyear, Huffington Post, 10 June 2014

Anxiety is something we all experience in our lives. However, if you are a teenager experiencing problems with anxiety, you face particular challenges:


  • You have probably been dealing with anxiety for a while – it may have started when you were in primary school. The problem is that the strategies you used to use to cope with your anxiety just aren’t working anymore, now that you are in an environment with more pressure.
  • In high-school we typically encounter more stressful situations and we are under pressure to perform academically (or in sports, dance etc.) This triggers levels of stress that we are not equipped to deal with.
  • Many teens worry about how they are perceived by other people – being accepted by your peer group is so important. For kids who are already struggling with anxiety, the social pressure of the teenage years can lead to debilitating levels of anxiety and avoidance of social situations.
  • With maturity comes more insight – when you were a child, perhaps you didn’t worry so much about your anxiety or compare yourself to other people. But as a teen, you become more aware of the ways in which your anxiety is holding you back and stopping you from doing the things that are important to you. Realizing this fact can be quite distressing.

The good news:

  • It is true, it can be distressing to face up to the ways that your anxiety is limiting you. But this is also empowering. As a teen, you are actually in a better position to be able to change things.  You can take more responsibility for beating this problem. And this becomes something you can do for yourself, rather than something your parents or loved ones are pushing you to do.
  • There are effective treatments for anxiety. You can find out more here. Seeing a psychologist can really help – we work with you to help you overcome your fears so that anxiety no longer holds you back.

More information about anxiety

Here’s some more information about anxiety – what it is, how it can affect people and what we can do to treat it.

Find out more

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