All over the world, we are experiencing a major mental health pandemic. Children, teenagers and adults suffer from more and more problems anxiety and depression. So much so that the suicide rate is indeed alarming. In Spain, the incidence among young people aged 15 to 19 is 2.65 per 100,000 inhabitants, rising to 5 per 100,000 in the next age group, 20 to 24 years. So discover anxiety in teenagers This can be an important step to prevent them from continuing to drag them into adulthood or exacerbate their problems.

Important, that family and teachers be able to recognize Early signs of anxiety in teenagers. But also the fact that adolescents themselves learn to recognize these signs and know how and when to ask for help. It’s also important destigmatize psychological help. Fortunately, today the stigma is not as great as it was a few years ago. Actually, younger generation They have it quite normalized. However, the work of awareness is not yet complete.

Just like the need to fight for quality psychological help. There are many countries that demand better public health services. In Spain, for example, there are barely enough psychologists to deal with the high incidence of depression or anxiety in adolescents and other age groups. Other countries, such as the UK, are complaining about exactly the same problem. For this reason, awareness and activism are needed to stop this pandemic, which has not received as many resources as others, despite the fact that the consequences can be just as dire.

Consequences of anxiety in adolescents

A recent study conducted in Singapore found that young people in this country, on average, lose 24 days of classes per year due to problems such as anxiety or depression. In addition, his performance in school has declined by 63% because of all these mental health issues.

What could become something punctual could lead to generalized anxiety disorders, in which anxiety remains constant almost every day for at least 6 months. Except, may persist into adulthood, also causing problems with communication and finding work. This becomes a vicious cycle as these problems can lead to other mental disorders such as depression.

And all this, not counting the fact that we have already mentioned the increase in the number of suicides. The situation affects both boys and girls, although the latter is particularly severe, according to a 2020 article published by two English doctors.

The mentioned article also focused on the possible reasons for this increase in problems with depression and anxiety in adolescents and young adults. It is noted that they millennials the first to show this increase in mental health problems. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this generation spent years living with rising youth unemployment loss of social mobility and reduced housing affordability, which delays maturation as an independent adult.

On the other hand, the same experts argue that social networks also played an important role in the emergence of anxiety problems in teenagers. This is something the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with, which places it as one of the main causes of these mental health problems. Also, add high expectations and pressure to succeed And fear into a world that has recently proven to be even more dangerous.

Girl chatting on her smartphone
Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

The first step is to find out what it is…

Of course, in order to detect anxiety, the first step is to know what it is. In fact, anxiety in adolescents and in any age group is natural evolutionary response that occurs in threatening situations. It comes from the so-called reaction fight or flightwhich can be very well understood if we think about our ancestors.

We can imagine one of the first Homo sapiensfacing the lion. At this point, you must evaluate whether you have a chance to run away or, conversely, you have no other choice but to fight. In both cases, you will need additional energy, which should be directed mainly to the muscles of the limbs. That’s why when we worry we feel like muscles tense. In addition, it increases the heart rate and respiration rate to ensure good blood supply and oxygenation of the body in the face. fight or flight. In general, all the physical effects of anxiety are due to this adaptive response.

At the present time we usually do not have a lion in front of us. but it could be a car that skips a zebra or a storm. In these cases, anxiety reactions are positive. Even when we are under stress, up to a point it can be good. The problem arises when we view situations as threats that are not, for example, purchases. In addition, people with generalized anxiety tend to overthink and overthink things. everyday situations that are not really serious. Thus, you may experience anxiety even in the absence of stimuli.

… and the second to discover it

If we already know what anxiety is, how can we recognize it? As adults, we tend to be more familiar with mental health issues. However, in the case of the smallest, it is important that the adults who are close to them remain anxiety. So how can we detect anxiety in teenagers?

First, as we saw in the Singapore study, if school performance falls for no apparent reason, that may be the cause. Instead of scolding a child for their academic success, it is important to try to understand the reasons. But that is not all.

Other signs of anxiety in teenagers are: recurring fears in everyday situations, humor changes And avoidance of certain activitieseither at school or in society. In addition, they may show sleep problems or physical symptomssuch as headaches or abdominal pain. In cases where no physical cause is found, it may be due to anxiety. Finally, it is important to be very aware of possible substance use, as this can also accompany anxiety.

Anxiety in teenagers: what to do?

The first step, of course, is to talk to them. They need to know that they are not alone and that they can talk about what is bothering them. But it’s not enough to talk. It’s also important psychological help. Anxiety is usually treated with cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the one with the most scientific evidence and with which the best results are obtained.

In some cases, you may also need psychotropic drugsbut they must accompany therapy.

mother's voice, teenagers

Awareness and literacy

The authors of the Singapore study argue that awareness and literacy of parents and other adults important. This means that it is important that they know how to recognize and respond to anxiety in adolescents.

For this, projects such as mentoscopy. This is a multimedia project developed in collaboration with Spanish Government Ministry of Science and Innovation and Spanish Federation of Science and Technology (FECYT). Its purpose is to disseminate information about mental health in adolescence.

For this reason, they use the channels that the younger ones are most familiar with. That is, they remove the positive part of those social networks, the abuse of which can lead to mental health problems. Instagram reels, TikTok videos or podcast episodes These are some of the formats in which information pills are provided on a variety of topics related to adolescent anxiety as well as other mental health topics. These are useful formats for the little ones, although they are also intended for teachers, family members or healthcare professionals. The goal is exactly the one stated in the Singapore study. Raise awareness and literacy.

Thus, this could be the first step to prevent this mental health pandemic from spreading among the youngest, while continuing to expand year after year into the next age groups. If we cut off the root of the problem, many great evils can be avoided. AND mentoscopy In this regard, he does a vital job.

Source: Hiper Textual

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