Anxiety in Adolescents and Teens


Anxiety in Adolescents and Teens in New York City

All adolescents and teens experience anxiety at some point or another. It is expected and normal during development. For example, pre-teens may experience distress during times of separation from their parents or others that are close to them. Adolescents may have some fears, such as of the dark, storms, animals or strangers. Anxious teens may be too tense or uptight. Others may need a lot of reassurance. With some adolescents, their worries may interfere with daily activities.

Parents should not overlook their teens anxiety. Anxious adolescents may be quiet, compliant and eager to please, so their needs may be missed. Parents should recognize the signs of severe anxiety so they can prevent complications early.

What Are the Different Types of Anxiety in Adolescents?

Separation Anxiety

Symptoms include:

  • Being overly clingy
  • Extreme worries about being away from home
  • Frequent stomachaches and ailments
  • Obsessive thoughts and fears about the safety of parents and caretakers
  • Panic or tantrums during separation from parents
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Trouble sleeping or nightmares


Symptoms include:

  • Extreme fear about a specific thing or situation (ex. dogs or darkness)
  • Fears which cause significant distress and interfere with daily activities

Social Anxiety

Symptoms include:

  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Fears of new people
  • Few friends outside the family

Other symptoms include:

  • Constant worries about family, school, friends or social activities
  • Fear of embarrassment or mistakes
  • Irrational worries about things before they happen
  • Low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Obsessions or compulsion

How Are Anxious Adolescents Treated?

Anxiety problems in adolescents and teens can be treated. Early intervention can prevent future problems, such as loss of friendships, failure to reach potentials and feelings of low self-esteem. Treatments may include a combination of individual psychotherapy, family therapy, medications, behavioral treatments and consultation with school. If anxieties are so severe that they interfere with the teen’s usual activities, parents should get an evaluation from an adolescent psychiatrist.

Contact Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

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3 East 85th Street
New York NY 10028
T. 212-734-0506

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