Looking out for symptoms of anxiety in children/teenagers can be very crucial. Getting a clear diagnosis and getting the correct support at a young age can help the individual in managing their anxiety and having a better understanding of their own mental health.
In today’s article, let’s take a look at 7 signs that a young child/teenager has anxiety.
Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. Do not use information in this or any other article to self-diagnose or diagnose other people. If you feel that you or someone close to you may possess some of the characteristics mentioned in this or any other article on our blog and need help then please, consult a licensed mental health professional. This article is not a substitute for professional advice, but for general guidance.
1. Waning Academic Performance —
Keep a close eye on the child’s progress reports and report cards. Low grades might be a sign of an anxiety disorder. This is especially true if your child’s grades have just started to decline.
An anxious adolescent may delay and miss their work frequently. They may eventually start skipping classes or maybe even avoid going to school altogether. Anxious students frequently have trouble focusing their attention. As a result, they might not be able to achieve their academic goals.
Keep in mind, however, that many anxious teenagers do well in school. Their academic achievement frequently matches that of non-anxious teenagers. However, they frequently take longer to finish their work.
2. Mood changes —
If a child goes from being highly joyful to being severely stressed frequently, they may have an anxiety disorder. If they have severe and frequent mood fluctuations, you should consult a professional. They’ll discuss why you’re feeling this way and what might be causing it. Irritability and extreme mood fluctuations, such as uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria, can be signs of anxiety in youth.
3. Social Withdrawal —
Teens who suffer from anxiety, especially social anxiety disorder, may opt to isolate themselves. They may do so to avoid the burden of social interactions.
Anxiety is typically exacerbated by social seclusion. When a person is isolated, he or she gets more internalized. As a result, they get preoccupied with unpleasant thoughts.
Anxiety can make it difficult for a person to perceive the world through the eyes of others. As a result, anxiety sufferers may find it challenging to form new sympathetic relationships.
See if you notice any significant changes in the child’s social habits. Some specific behavior to look out for includes:
- Not interacting with friends that often.
- Not participating in extracurricular activities.
- Spending a lot of time by themselves.
4. Struggling with fatigue or lack of energy —
Depression and anxiety are two illnesses that can leave one feeling drained even after a full night’s rest. it’s possible to have both of these disorders at the same time. It’s easy to confuse depression with exhaustion and vice versa.
5. Sleep Disturbances —
To support optimal health, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that youth aged 13 to 18 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep regularly. According to pediatricians, screens should be turned off 30 minutes before sleep, and all electronics should be removed from the bedroom.
It’s no secret that academics, changing brain structure, extracurricular activities, and screen time may all disrupt a teen’s sleep routine. As a result, determining whether exhaustion is caused by anxiety or a hectic schedule can be difficult. Look out for the following warning signs:
- Finding it hard to fall asleep.
- Difficulty in staying asleep.
- Frequent nightmares.
- Not feeling fresh after waking up.
6. Repeated actions or checking things many times —
The child might be doing so out of fear that something bad might happen. The child may have obsessive thoughts that are not wanted. These feelings are often associated with fears, such as touching things that might be dirty.
To cope with these fears, he or she engages in compulsive rituals such as constant handwashing, constantly cleaning surfaces, etc.
7. Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable once —
Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure in ordinarily pleasurable activities) causes people to lose interest in the activities they used to like and to have a reduced ability to sense pleasure. It’s a hallmark sign of major depressive disorder, but it can also indicate the presence of other mental illnesses like anxiety.
How to Help a Teen Struggling with Anxiety
Finding out if your adolescent suffers from anxiety is merely the first step. From here, you must act quickly before it is too late. Waiting for your child to grow up and ‘get over it’ is a bad idea. This is a risky mindset because anxiety might impact his academic performance and lead to drug addiction. Both of these events have the potential to have a significant negative impact on his future.
As a result, if you suspect your adolescent is suffering from anxiety, seek professional help if the symptoms persist. Speak calmly to him/her and offer plausible options. Let him know you’re rooting for him/her.
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Susan Newman Ph.D. (Sep 30, 2016) 13 Possible Signs of Childhood Mental Illness. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from
Katie Hurley, LCSW. 6 Hidden Signs of Teen Anxiety. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from
Stanford Children’s Health. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Children. Retrieved August 4, 2021, from