11 Feb 2020
I am worried that a loved one has an anxiety disorder, how do I know? Signs of anxiety explained.
11 Feb 2020
Many people’s formative years were a blur of school, extracurricular activities, relationship drama, gossip, arguments with parents and figuring out their place in the world. In the current social climate, add social media, increased competition and a bombardment of negative news – you have a recipe for lots of anxious young people. This post is the second part of my series about young adults and anxiety. My first blog, “What Causes Anxiety?” (Link first blog here) is about causes of anxiety in young adults and factors that amplify these symptoms in people today.
Young adults are experiencing anxiety-related disorders more than ever before. Between 2007 and 2012, anxiety disorders in young people increased by 20% (McCarthy, 2019). Unfortunately, most young adults with anxiety disorders do not receive adequate treatment for their symptoms (Piacentini & Roblek, 2002). Caregivers, parents, friends and family that may be concerned about a loved one may find the following list of signs useful to identify a young person troubled by anxiety:
- Trouble Sleeping – A young person may have difficulties with their sleeping patterns. These include: getting to sleep in the first place, issues staying asleep throughout the night and sleeping in late.
- Worrying Thoughts– This may seem obvious — but constant worrying thoughts about various things are a telltale sign of anxiety. These thoughts could be about anything. Some common anxious thoughts are about school, work, friends, the future or appearance.
- Difficulty Concentrating– Issues with concentration are symptomatic of worrying thoughts and are a sign of anxiety. Worrisome thoughts get in the way of a young person’s ability to stay focused. Staying focused, worrying about what people think, and fears of mistakes get in the way of completing tasks.
- Agitation and/or Irritability – A manifestation of anxiety is a short-fuse with everyday issues. Some examples are: small disagreements, waiting in lines, a comment on Instagram can precipitate tears, irritability or even an angry outburst.
- Aches and pains. Sometimes anxiety can manifest in the body as physical symptoms. Some common complaints of a young person experiencing anxiety are headaches, sore neck and digestive issues (not wanting to eat, stomach ache).
Do not spiral into fear- anxiety is a treatable mental disorder. Stay tuned for my next post about possible treatment options for young people that show any or all of the above signs.
McCarthy, C. (2019) Anxiety in Teens is Rising: What’s Going On? American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/emotional-problems/Pages/Anxiety-Disorders.aspx
Piacentini, J., & Roblek, T. (2002). Recognizing and treating childhood anxiety disorders. The Western journal of medicine, 176(3), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071700/
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