Teen Anxiety

By Brittany, age 15, North Carolina

Teen anxiety. What is it? And how can you help yourself? Here's how you might actually feel, and then I'll talk about how to deal:

* Anger
* Depression
* Fatigue
* Extreme mood swings
* Substance abuse
* Secretive behavior
* Changes in sleeping and eating habits
* Bad hygiene or meticulous attention to it
* Compulsive or obsessive behavior

Sometimes parents can seem overwhelmed and ask too much. In this age we are brought up believing "FASTER is BETTER". This may not always be the case though. Emotions run high during these years and are constantly being tested, and our downs are being stomped on, or so it may seem. All this may lead to severe teen anxiety. Sometimes things and situations should just be slowed down a bit. If you think you might have anxiety the chances are very high. It's common in most teens even if the case is very mild. In fact, 80% of teenagers are taking some kind of medication. It's normal to have ups and downs in life - being upset because of your latest break up, for instance - so don't mistake it for having severe teen anxiety. (Although if anxiety is present during this break up, it may be harder to deal with.)

You may ask yourself, "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME??" The truth is: There is no one cause of anxiety in teens. Actually, there are 3 common causes which can be explained in detail.

Family Genetics and Home Environment

This means that a person is more likely to suffer from anxiety if a parent or relative suffers as well. Anxiety can be taught by role models such as a mother, father, or close relative. In addition, some home situations are abusive. This will make an individual more likely to expect the worst in a situation.

Fight or Flight Mechanisms

When in trouble a person is triggered by the brain to defend him or herself, or else run away. In many cases the brain triggers this mechanism when it is not intended. Presentations in front of other people or taking a test may trigger this. The brain remembers what it has triggered and when it has triggered this mechanism for future events. This is why it is so hard to overcome stage fright and being in front of large audiences, and for a lot of teens, taking a simple test.

The Chemistry of My Brain

Sometimes neurotransmitters in the brain are kind of faulty. Neurotransmitters control a person's thoughts and feelings. When these transmitters are faulty, they are sending out inappropriate feelings and emotions. This can make a person feel anxious and scared.

I think I have teen anxiety. Where can I get help? Can it be dealt with at home?

Since anxiety is so common, many people don't understand its intensity. They think they should be able to beat it by willpower. But the symptoms can't be wished away. Anxiety is treated in two ways - with medication and with therapy. Sometimes these treatments are combined. Ask a local doctor for help, and ask what he or she thinks will work best.

Hotlines and websites are always available for your help too.



The National Institute of Mental Health's Anxiety Hotline:

Teen and Parent Crisis Hotline:

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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