Anxiety disorders can be especially serious for young people, because young people are still developing. If left untreated, anxiety disorders in teenagers can have long-term consequences for mental health and development. Everybody feels anxious sometimes. In fact, some anxiety can even be a good thing.
Your Adolescent - Anxiety and Avoidant Disorders
Anxiety disorders in children
Everyone experiences anxiety. It is a natural and important emotion, signaling through stirrings of worry, fearfulness, and alarm that danger or a sudden, threatening change is near. Yet sometimes anxiety becomes an exaggerated, unhealthy response. Given the array of changes and uncertainties facing a normal teenager, anxiety often hums along like background noise. For some teenagers, anxiety becomes a chronic, highpitched state, interfering with their ability to attend school and to perform up to their academic potential. Participating in extracurricular activities, making and keeping friends, and maintaining a supportive, flexible relationship within the family become difficult.
Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. Half of girls and almost one-third of boys have an episode of depression or anxiety in their teens but rates drop sharply when young people reach their 20s. The study is published today in The Lancet medical journal.
Back to Health A to Z. It's normal for children to feel worried or anxious from time to time — such as when they're starting school or nursery, or moving to a new area. But for some children, anxiety affects their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and social life. See more self-help tips for parents of anxious children.