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Welcome to the The Cap – our very own recap series of the topics and trends impacting teens and tweens today dedicated to keeping the common parent in the know.
📮 In today's Issue, we cover:
What is it ?
Anxiety is defined by persistent and excessive worry or dread that doesn't go away even after the stressor has passed. Anxiety is different from stress.
Teenagers typically stress about certain things such as a team tryout, upcoming exam, college applications, changing friendships or a romantic relationship. But, if the worry and distress your teen feels in a given situation is unusual, excessive, or goes well beyond the reactions of other people, it may be anxiety rather than stress.
Some anxious children have been struggling with anxiety for a long time. Others weren’t anxious before and suddenly become anxious as teens. Social anxiety and panic attacks, for example, are two kinds of anxiety that often start in the teenage years.

🚨 Why it matters
Teenage anxiety rates have increased considerably in recent years. Recent research indicates that 1 in 3 teenagers between the ages of 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder with 80% of kids not receiving proper treatment.  There are many reasons contributing to the rise in teen anxiety. Modern stressors like climate change, pressures to succeed, social media, body image, uncertainty, politics, civil unrest, violence (and school shootings for those teens in the US) can combine to create a very overwhelming sense of the world for teens today.
It is critical to spot anxiety in teens to help them learn how to cope with anxiety in a healthy way and seek proper treatment. Left unchecked, anxiety can lead to depression and substance use as teens may rely on alcohol, weed and other drugs as mechanisms to cope and escape. 
"If you have a joint in your pocket all the time and you're smoking during the day to get through your day at school, that's no different from having a bottle of vodka in your desk drawer at work." - Dr. Jerry Bubrick

🎒 The Cap
It can be hard to tell the difference between “normal stress” and anxiety in teens because they're good at hiding their feelings.  Not only are teens dealing with raging hormones, but their brains are are also evolving and they more often than not lack the ability and life experience to put their worries into perspective or cope with their fears.
🚩 Here are some red flags that your teen could be anxious:
  • a change in behavior such as irritability and angry outbursts
  • recurring fears about routine parts of everyday life
  • repeated reassurance-seeking
  • chronic complaints of headaches or stomach aches
  • avoidance of social situations altogether - even going to school
  • reverting to childhood comforts out of nowhere

☀️ The Good News
Anxiety can be treated. If you suspect your teen has anxiety, talk to your pediatrician and have them screen your child and recommend you to the right mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective. Sometimes a combination of both therapy and medication is called for.
The most important thing is to be aware of how your child is feeling. Talk with them and ask questions. If necessary, ask for help. Anxiety is unavoidable in our lives. Learning positive coping mechanisms when anxiety is triggered will help your teen manage their every day into adulthood.

Sources on Teen Anxiety:

Founders of The Common Parent: Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer (Cat & Nat)
The Cap Contributors:  Catherine Belknap, Natalie Telfer, Kelly Kresen, Josee Telfer, Cath Tassie and Allie Coughlin
Special Thanks to Lisa Damour

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The contents of The Cap and The Common Parent platforms, portals and emails (the "Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, therapy, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your situation.