Is Your Teen Anxious? Anxiety Disorder Treatment for Adolescents at Victress

 

Adolescence is an exciting time in one’s life. During this unique period, new identities are formed, and more independence is gained. New friendships develop, as well as new interests and hobbies. Unfortunately, it is also during this time that mental health problems pop up.

The most prevalent mental health concern for adolescents today is anxiety disorder, with many cases going untreated. Fortunately, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), offered at Victress, A Wellness Center, is an effective and evidence-based treatment for adolescent anxiety. With CBT, a Victress therapist and adolescent can identify anxiety triggers and develop coping strategies with tools like reframing and meditation techniques. Working on anxiety-related memories during therapy sessions while recognizing cues and situations that cause anxiety for the adolescent can significantly reduce symptoms.

Beginning treatment for anxiety during adolescence can also significantly improve the condition before it becomes more severe in adulthood due to the differences in the adolescent brain versus the adult brain. Emotional experiences are activated at higher levels in the adolescent brain than in the adult brain. Additionally, the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions does not reach its peak functionality until adulthood. However, big changes in the brain are still occurring during this adolescent period, leading to imbalances. Brain imbalances can significantly affect decision-making, especially in emotionally charged situations, leading to anxiety disorders.

Adolescent anxiety is generally associated with the emotion of fear. Fear memories are developed during this time but unlike adults, adolescents are less capable of turning those memories off, and even when they can, the memories normally return. This inability is due to how the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus all connect differently in adolescents.

One way to counteract these fear memories is through reminder cues that bring up the memory, followed by a delay and then an attempt to release the memory. Recent studies reported by Scientific American have shown that this is a promising technique and fear is significantly less severe the following day when the memory is once again retrieved.

As new therapeutic solutions develop around these fascinating differences in the adolescent brain, Victress will stay on the forefront of this research to most efficiently treat our clients.

Here are some tips for parents with pre-teens or teens suffering from anxiety:

  1. Schedule an intake session at Victress for CBT treatment by calling 708-428-2527 or e-mailing [email protected]
  2. Encourage your pre-teen or teen to engage in physical activity, ideally outdoors.
  3. Offer nutritious meals and snacks.
  4. Recommend taking technology breaks and getting off of social media.
  5. Ensure your pre-teen or teen is getting enough sleep.
  6. Practice breathing techniques together when pre-teen or teen is feeling anxious.

 

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