What are the Symptoms of Teen Anxiety?

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Anxiety is a mental health condition that can severely impact a person’s life – including adolescents. While everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, an anxiety disorder can make it difficult to function. A person with an anxiety disorder often has excessive, intense fear around day-to-day situations in life.

Luckily, treatment is available, even for extreme anxiety. In this article, you’ll learn the specific symptoms associated with anxiety and the treatment options available to help your loved one live a happy, healthy life. 

Anxiety Symptoms in Adolescents

Anxiety symptoms can include a combination of the following physical symptoms and emotional symptoms:

  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Excessive worry
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Panic attack (can be recurring)
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Avoidance of anxiety triggers
  • Unexplained physical aches and pains
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Crying

The above symptoms can come and go throughout the day or week. Sometimes symptoms can re-occur for months or even years (known as chronic anxiety) if not addressed by a licensed therapist. 

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

When anxiety occurs in adolescents or younger children, it’s often the result of a combination of genetics and environmental factors. While we are still learning about the exact causes of anxiety, it’s believed that genetics can play a significant role in increasing the risk of an adolescent developing it. 

Additionally, if a home environment is stressful, or if a traumatic event occurs (such as parents divorcing), this can put the adolescent at a greater risk of having anxiety. 

Types of Adolescent Anxiety Disorders

There are several specific types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Feelings of persistent dread and fear
  • Panic Disorder: Frequent and unexpected panic attacks
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety related to separation from parents
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety and fear in social settings
  • Phobias: Aversion of fear of specific objects or situations
  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety that results from substance abuse

The exact type of anxiety disorder your child has will be determined by a licensed medical professional when they enter a treatment program. The approach to treatment will vary slightly based on the type of disorder. 

Sometimes co-occurring mental health disorders can also occur with a teen anxiety disorder, including depressive disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and others. These can be addressed in treatment. 

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Regardless of the type of anxiety disorder an adolescent has, the approach to treatment will often include a combination of the below:

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is an important part of addressing the symptoms of anxiety and helping adolescents live healthy, functional lives. This can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Both therapies can help teach coping skills for managing the symptoms around anxiety and help individuals gain awareness of triggers for their anxiety.


There are many medications available for helping adolescents manage anxiety. However, not everyone will need medication. 

Get Treatment For Anxiety Today

At Zenith Behavioral Health, we provide evidence-based treatment solutions and intensive interventions for youth and adults with chronic psychiatric and behavioral disorders, including OCD, anxiety disorders, and other mental health disorders. We accept multiple forms of payment, including AHCCCS Medicaid and other types of Medicaid insurance to pay for our Arizona mental health treatment programs. Our primary goal is to offer a safe and secure environment while advancing each individual’s path toward wellness and recovery.