Teen Emotional Issues

Anxiety Disorders

What is an Anxiety Disorder? Wikipedia defines Anxiety Disorder is a group of disorders characterized by excessive worrying, uneasiness, apprehension and fear about future uncertainties based on either real or imagined events. An Anxiety Disorder exists when the excessive feelings begin to interfere with everyday life such as: school, work or relationships with others. Many Anxiety Disorders start in children and teens.

Some anxiety is good. It can help a person focus on something important or respond to a threat or danger. Anxiety can help a person cope in a stressful situation such as: studying for an exam or preparing for a speech.

There are many symptoms of anxiety and generally they center on irrational or excessive worry, fear or dread.

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive or abnormal worry, fear or dread
  • Intense, irrational fear
  • Exaggerated worry or fear
  • Overwhelming feeling of apprehension
  • Overwhelmingly anxious
  • Increased breathing or difficulty catching breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tensed muscles
  • Sense of intense focus


Anxiety Disorders are named for the types of symptoms exhibited.

Examples of Anxiety Disorders:

  • Panic Disorder – sudden attack of terror usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness; a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)persistent, upsetting thoughts (obsessions) and use of rituals (compulsions) to control the anxiety these thoughts produce
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – living with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it;
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – response to a traumatic event that caused great fear of harm or death to them self or others
  • Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) – overwhelming anxiety and extreme self-consciousness in everyday social situations; an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them
  • Specific Phobias – an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger


The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 8% of teenagers ages 13-18 have an Anxiety Disorder.

Often other problems, such as: alcohol or substance abuse, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) co-exists with Anxiety Disorders. Co-existing conditions (sometimes referred to as Dual Diagnosis) complicates treatment because they can hide the symptoms of anxiety or make them worse. If a teenager does have a co-existing condition with an Anxiety Disorder, sometimes the other illness must be treated first in order for the Anxiety Disorder treatment to be successful.

Anxiety Disorders can be treated successfully using therapy, medication or a combination of both. Medication will not cure an Anxiety Disorder, but may help with symptoms while working in therapy.

The most effective therapy technique is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is used to teach a person to recognize symptoms of anxiety, negative thinking patterns, coping skills, stress management and ways to change behavior.

Triumph Youth Services has been successful in treating Anxiety Disorders in teen boys and young men through a small, highly structured family environment for youth, education, therapy and a trained staff. The family-like community promotes a social environment that takes on both therapeutic and healing properties instead of maintaining negative behaviors.

Our staff members are trained and encouraged to be effective leaders by serving as teachers or coaches who hold the young men responsible for working on problems and to act as limit setters and good listeners. This includes consistent group counseling and peer mentoring, which are crucial for helping teens develop problem solving skills, learn to recognize anxiety and situations that may trigger anxiety and change behavior.

Triumph Youth Services provides a daily Life Skills Group with the goal of teaching a new set of responses to social situations, as well as how to integrate his behavior with others in the environment.

Call Triumph Youth Services. We are here to help.



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