One of the most common mental health concerns I come across as a school psychologist at a high school is anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) approximately 25% of 13-18 year olds suffer from anxiety and almost 6% of 13-18 year olds have “severe” anxiety disorder. Anxiety can significantly impact a student’s academic achievement, school attendance, and social/peer relationships.

Many students get diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is characterized by chronic, excessive worry about events or activities, such as everyday events, health, family, school performance, or world affairs. When they worry, they experience at least one of the following physical symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and/or difficulty sleeping. Some children with GAD also experience gastrointestinal discomfort .(Source: http://www.copingcatparents.com/generalized_anxiety_disorder

The good news is that GAD can be alleviated in children and teens. The treatment/therapy that has shown the most promise is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT involves teaching children how our thoughts, behaviors and feelings are interrelated, and that by changing thoughts about anxiety provoking situations, they can change how they feel and react to it.

Source: http://nationalsocialanxietycenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/cbtgraph21.jpg

Parent Resources

Following are links to resources for parents, to help identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety and review treatment options: