Ways to Outsmart Anxiety: Treatment Options for Teens and Parents
Posted by Michele Rosenthal
Guest Post by: Mary James
Anxiety is technically defined as the psychological state of intense trepidation or worry. Science has actually informed more of anxiety over the years. In fact, anxiety has been shown to have its roots in physiology and even genetic procurers, although anxiety may be exacerbated by genetic factors.
Anxiety or Fear
There are some distinctions between these two phenomena. Anxiety is actually the dreading feeling of something intimidating or unmanageable oftentimes linked to environmental stressors. Fear, on the other hand, is less specific in nature and may be attached to a looser range of external phenomena. Anxiety, nonetheless, could be attached to aging, existential dread, upcoming tests, or social interaction.
Trait and State Anxiety
Trait anxiety involves an early onset of anxiety and anxiety typically linked to long-standing temperamental factors. State anxiety, contrastingly, is associated with one phenomena and is usually much shorter lived. It’s important to realize, though, that whichever type of anxiety one may be suffering from, there are some strategies people can take to lessen or increase their anxiety.
Nix the Caffeine
High school students usually have two factors that heighten anxiety – high, state anxiety linked to tests and social pressures alongside high caffeine intake. While some stress can’t be avoided and may even be beneficial for focusing and successful completion of tasks, too much anxiety can prove debilitating. Especially with the twin physiological roller coasters of puberty and stressful experiences, caffeine oftentimes proves overstimulating for youngsters. Caffeine overworks the adrenal glands and leads to an increased output of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. For some young people, caffeine elimination might not prove helpful enough, in which case therapy might have benefits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The crux of cognitive behavioral therapy is the therapist guided elimination of maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. Especially with stressed teens, there’s a marked tendency to cover everything they do with a negative brush – negativistic bias. Therapists operating under the cognitive behavioral therapy banner have a number of ways to ameliorate this negativity. One such method is in vivo exposure in which the patient is gently guided through the environment or stimulus causing the fear. In vivo exposure is oftentimes graduated – e.g., the patient, if afraid of spiders, will first notice a pictorial representation of a spider, then go to the zoo exhibit of spiders, and so forth until the fear is surmounted.
Parental Anxiety Management
There’s an increasing amount of evidence demonstrating that parental anxiety management may be effective in curbing family anxiety levels, which certainly affect teenagers and their schoolwork. The best strategy, according to research, is coupling cognitive behavioral therapy with parental anxiety management. Parental anxiety management treats family psychopathology and perhaps the teenagers underlying anxiety exacerbating factor. Studies further show that parental anxiety management and cognitive behavioral therapy together are most effective when parents are enforcing undue expectations on the teenager and causing anxiety.
In conclusion, anxiety should be addressed from both physiological and therapeutic dimensions. It should also be asked: what is causing the underlying anxiety.
About the author: Mary James is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Internetserviceproviders.org focuses on telecom bloggers and technology bloggers.