Anxiety in Teens

In today’s classroom, one in eight students will suffer from anxiety. Many people do not notice it, while the students dealing with it struggle to handle it. This poses the question, what causes anxiety, and how can students deal with it?

Anxiety is common and everyone has it every now and then. Maybe you get anxious giving a presentation in class, or a test you didn’t study for in next bell and you don’t know what to do. The best way to explain having anxiety (more so an anxiety attack) is that you have that feeling, and it’s almost constantly looming. Think of a child scared to go to sleep because they saw something that frightened them, and that is how some people describe the way their anxiety affects them. Everyone is affected differently, but it’s how they react to it that makes the difference.

Humans have had what’s called the “flight, fight or freeze” mechanic since the beginning of time. Say a bear was coming to attack you, and your options were to fight, leave or freeze. The human body still reacts that way, but the threat isn’t physical. When having an anxiety attack the body thinks you are under attack, and sends out adrenaline for three to five minutes, causing the flight, fight or freeze reaction. But, you have to contradict that instinct, you can’t handle something ‘irrational’ like a fear from anxiety by trying to do something ‘rational’. In a sense you have to let the bear attack, you have to let the anxiety ride out in order to avoid suffering from it.

Most anxiety or stress comes from a discomfort rather than actual danger, and once you are uncomfortable you begin to anticipate, and the anticipation and make it worse. Children with anxiety are at a high risk to perform poorly at school and can become for susceptible to other mental illnesses.

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Every person handle anxiety different, but it’s always important to make sure it is handled. Teachers are more often than not willing to work with you if you are feeling anxious, so you should talk to them and let them know what’s going on so you can make a plan. Anxiety is scary , but it gets a lot easier to handle once you figure out how.

Since the 1950s, anxiety has been on the rise. Increasing amounts of stress, social media and pressure have been some of the leading causes. The pressure to learn and adapt in the modern world is high, so there are understandably high expectations set. With the selectivity of colleges, students feel so overwhelmed with their workload that they are easily affected by mental illness. School is no longer so much a place to learn, but a place where children have to compete in order to succeed. Over commitment between school, social life, family obligation and sports turns life into a balancing game. Teachers have noticed that students in high level classes deal much more with anxiety and migraines. No one wants to put themselves under this stress, but the pressure to succeed makes it seem like it.  

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