Teens And Mental Health: Sources Of Anxiety In Today’s Youth

A lot of today’s youth report struggling with mental health issues – especially anxiety. Many of us may wonder, “They’re so young; what do they have to worry about?” Well, the truth is that there’s a lot. Here are some reasons that are making the youth feel anxious.

The Pressure To Be Happy


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As Bobby McFerrin (and not Bob Marley) says, “don’t worry, be happy.” This saying is often the piece of advice people offer to us during stressful periods of our life. If only it were that easy. Worry isn’t something we can immediately turn off with a switch. But here’s the thing: you don’t always have to be happy.

When adults always tell the youth to cheer up, it actually puts a lot of pressure on them. Teens will start to feel as if they have to be okay all the time. They may think that they have to be happy all the time. When they begin to experience anything else besides joy, they start to panic because they don’t know how to deal with other emotions. Remember, “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. said.

Biological Reasons

Unbeknownst to many people, anxiety doesn’t just stem from experiences or one’s behavior; biology can also make you a worry wart.

“Mental health issues can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors, and can have a minor or major impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC said. Just like how we can’t always control our anxiety, we can’t control how our bodies are pre-programmed. Unfortunately, some people are more likely to become more worrisome than others. If one of your parents suffers from an anxiety disorder, you become more likely to develop one as well.

Additionally, a teen’s hormones will be all over the place. You can blame that as the cause of your pimples, mood swings, and anxiety. As they go through puberty, they’ll feel added pressure as they don’t know how to deal with things yet.

Lastly, brain development also has something to do with the youth’s worries. As parents expect their teens to take on more responsibilities, they aren’t always ready for it. They still have to go through a lot to mature. It’s normal to make mistakes – but teens won’t realize that immediately. Frustration over failures and naivety can lead to anxiety.

Negative Body Image


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Many companies, such as Dove and JCPenney, have gained attention for their body positivity campaigns. Despite these movements, a lot of people still hold unrealistic beauty and body standards. Magazines airbrush their models, celebrities endorse unhealthy diets, and the internet keeps coming up with successors to the thigh gap trend.

Because of these high standards, teens feel pressured to look a certain way. Otherwise, they fear their peers shunning them. This issue is a massive blow to their self-confidence and opens up the road for anxiety to develop.

This problem isn’t limited to only female teens either. Young men also feel the need to be fit, muscular, or buff. They’re also starting to become more conscious of what they wear.

High Expectations

Similar to how the youth feels like there are high standards for beauty, they also feel pressure from high expectations from other aspects of life. Parents often want their kids to succeed in school. They also need to excel in extra-curricular activities. Add all this to the pressure of having to maintain a thriving social life. It can all become too much for a teenager to handle.

Teens may then feel anxious about having to achieve all of these. Likewise, they may feel guilty if they fail to meet other people’s expectations. All of this can also lead to further sleep deprivation, causing them additional stress.

Sleep Deprivation



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Different age groups need different amounts of sleep. Studies show that adults need roughly 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Additionally, we all know that kids need more hours each night, clocking in at about 9-11 hours for school-age children. In between that, we have teenagers. For them, they still need about 8-10 hours per night.

One reason why teens become stressed and develop anxiety is that they haven’t adjusted to the fewer hours of sleep they get per night. Moreover, they often don’t even get 8-10 hours. This problem is due to having heavy school workloads, joining extra-curricular activities, and trying to maintain a social life with peers.



“Depression is real and painful. Just because you can’t see or touch it doesn’t make it any less real.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC explains. Many of us adults forget what it’s like to be a teenager. Admittedly, we’ve had our fair share of anxiety during our youth. From high expectations to biological factors, there are many reasons for teens to feel anxious. However, we can’t let that get in the way of us succeeding. Knowing and understanding the causes of our worries is the first step to becoming more self-assured and kicking anxiety out the door.

BetterHelp is an online avenue which contains a selection of “friends” that you can talk to when you are feeling down. Check this article to know more.

Why Too Much Self-Isolation Can’t Be Good For Your Mental Health

A person can have different mental health issues throughout their life, but the typical initial reaction when things start falling apart is to self-isolate. They turn off their phone to prevent loved ones from reaching them; they avoid going to school or office where concerned folks will undoubtedly notice how problematic they may be. In this individual’s head, being around them entails harming the people who may already feel hurt or disappointed because of the psychological diagnosis.

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The reality that such mental health patients fail to realize, though, is that isolation has never been a solution for anxiety, depression, and other disorders. If we are honest, it can be a triggering factor since you are with your troubled self only 24/7. You do not interact with anyone – not even strangers in the supermarket. You stopped doing all the things that used to keep your blood running. There is a tough chance as well that you might not have opened your curtains in a long time.

Self-isolation is terrible, no matter what your psychological state is right now. In case that seems difficult to believe for you, here are a few reasons why.

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1. You Won’t Be Able To Face The Real Problem

The first snag you might hit after deciding to try self-isolation involves the fact that you are practically stepping away from your problem instead of facing it. Some folks may have advised you in the past to wait until you are calm before speaking up, but having a mental disorder is an exception to that rule.

“Experiencing irritability, hostility, anger, and being sensitive to rejection are all common symptoms when depressed,”  explains Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD. The source of trouble is inside your head, you see. If you remain mum about it, you are inadvertently letting it consume you. If you don’t reach out to your family, it may take forever before you take action by yourself. That is why it matters for you to avoid being alone as much as possible.

2. You Tend To Listen To “Critical Inner Voices” More

“Most people have a loud inner critic which makes their life more stressful.”  David Klow, a licensed therapist said. However, the positive side of being on your own is that you manage to look into yourself and recognize the different facets of your life. Its negative side, however, is that the longer you stay in isolation, the more you might pay attention to the “voices” that emphasize your flaws. Due to that, you might feel more like you deserve to be away from your loved ones now than ever.

What you may not have the capacity to understand after days or weeks of isolating yourself is that these inner suggestions cannot all be true. Most of them are products of your restless mind. Hence, you need to go out sometimes to get reality checked.

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3. Your Physical Health Is Likely To Suffer

Several studies in recent years have revealed that prolonging self-isolation may lead to the deterioration of your body. We are not merely talking about occasional muscle ache or back pain, you know. The issue can be as worse as the increase of your cholesterol or blood sugar level.

In truth, when you are all by yourself, and you rarely leave the house, you tend to stay in bed or couch for hours. Exercising may not cross your mind; dieting may be the least of your worries. There is no other human being to drag your butt out of the door to inhale fresh air either. All these things and more can be detrimental for your physical health.

4. The Existing Mental Health Issues Might Worsen

The scariest thing that may take place if you insist on self-isolation is the progression of your mental illness. After all, you have probably not decided to hide from everyone without your condition as the primary reason. When you combine the likely outcomes of isolating yourself, though, there’s no other end product than the worsening of your depression, anxiety, et cetera.

Considering the previous ideas did not faze you, this last possibility should make you reassess your actions. Otherwise, your efforts to keep your family and friends from getting hurt may become futile.

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To Wrap Up

Shutting the rest of the world out once or twice a week is acceptable. It allows you to avoid hearing the noises outside and getting stressed because of them. When you plug in again, therefore, your feelings won’t possibly blow up at once. “Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC said. So take note of that.

Despite that, you should remember that doing self-isolation for days on end can never be healthy. If you do so, it will be as if you are welcoming negative thoughts and diseases to enter your mind and body instead of getting rid of them. That can’t be good, especially when you want a fulfilling life.

Call on BetterHelp for online support. If you don’t want to go out, it’s okay. You can at least talk to the counselors at BetterHelp so as not to feel isolated.

Good luck!