Anxiety in young people
Everybody gets anxious sometimes, and this feeling can be helpful in certain circumstances. It can help you to avoid dangerous situations or encourage you to work harder to finish a project which is due. However, for young people experiencing an anxiety condition, feelings of stress and worry become intense and overwhelming. These feelings can make it hard for young people to do what they need to do, like go to school or work. Anxiety can also affect the way people get along with their friends and family.
One in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition. Anxiety can be caused by a range of factors, including a person's genetic makeup or stressful events like a family break-up or ongoing bullying at school.
Everyone's experience of an anxiety condition is different, but there are some common symptoms. People with anxiety often feel on edge or worried most of the time. They may also feel overwhelmed, frightened or panicked. Physical symptoms include a racing heart, butterflies in the stomach, muscle tension, shaky hands or even feeling nauseous. People with an anxiety condition can also think about things over and over, more than they usually would. This thinking tends to be obsessive and negative, and can cause young people to avoid particular situations they would usually enjoy, like sports or spending time with friends, and can take a toll on their sleep pattern.
While anxiety is an inevitable part of life and can sometimes be helpful, no young person should have to live with constant feelings of fear or worry. If anxiety is making it hard for someone to go about their daily life, then it is time for them to seek support.
Fortunately, there is a range of treatments to help young people control their anxiety, so that it doesn't control them. Getting support from a local doctor or health professional, or from online programs, can make a difference. Some people also find their symptoms are relieved with lifestyle changes like getting regular exercise. The important thing is finding the right health professional and the right treatment for an individual's needs.
beyondbluecan offer you, and those around you, information and ideas about how to talk about anxiety, what help is available and how to support someone you care about who is struggling. There is information online (www.youthbeyondblue.com) or you can contact the beyondblue Support Service by phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or online at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-supportfor web chat (3pm – midnight) or email responses within 24 hours.