Treatment – Teen Anxiety
Teen anxiety is heartbreaking for everyone involved. For your child, it can be psychologically crippling. Kids suffering from teenage anxiety feel trapped by irrational fears and constant worrying.
For parents, seeing your child suffer can be traumatic. The Newport Academy teen anxiety treatment team empathizes with your experience. We can help both you and your child develop the skills and self-understanding to overcome the disorder.
Temporary Teen Anxiety vs. Teen Anxiety Disorder
Teen anxiety affects practically every kid at one time or another. Being anxious before a big test or nervous on a first date is a normal part of growing up. However, there is a significant difference between a temporary phase of anxiety in teens and a real disorder.
As a parent, it’s never enjoyable to watch your child experience any form of anxiety. But a temporary phase of teen anxiety tends to pass quickly. In contrast, an anxiety disorder sticks. Your child literally becomes stuck in the negative cycle of fear for days on end. But there is a viable solution.
Understanding the challenge of teen anxiety
It is hard to see your child plagued with anxiety. It is even worse when your child experiences panic attacks. An anxiety disorder often generates an imaginary threat. To your child, this fear seems real and never-ending.
Parents therefore should be well-informed about anxiety in teens. Hence, they will have the understanding to know when a child needs outside support.
Five Things to Know about Teen Anxiety
To begin with, there are five things all parents need to know about anxiety in teens and by having this information ready, you will be ready to provide your child with what they need.
1. Teen anxiety is very common
We all know someone who suffers from anxiety. Probably many people. After all, 1 in 5 American teens are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point.
2. Anxiety in teens has nothing to do with strength or courage
Your child is not a coward because he or she has an anxiety disorder. Some of the most influential people in history suffered from anxiety. Who would question the strength or courage of President Abraham Lincoln, writer John Steinbeck, actor Marlon Brando, poet Emily Dickinson, or Dr. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis? All of these remarkable people suffered from anxiety. They found a way to succeed despite the disorder.
3. Everyone experiences some degree of anxiety
We all have anxious moments, even the most composed and relaxed among us. What’s important to understand is that there are many different degrees of anxiety.When anxiety symptoms in teens are severe and their anxiety levels are consistently high, it’s essential to get help.
4. Teen anxiety defines a feeling, not a personality
Teenage anxiety is not a character flaw or a personality trait. Rather, it’s a persistent negative experience for your child. Show them love, and try not to judge. A child going through anxiety or panic attacks needs your care and support.
5. There is a solution to teen anxiety
The treatment team at Newport Academy assures you that there is a solution. Your child can have a productive and fulfilling life beyond an anxiety disorder. Yes, anxiety in teens might feel like a lasting reality, but we promise you it is not. Breathe a little easier—there is an answer.
“It is a privilege to work with adolescents as they share their highest hopes and worst fears, as they begin to discern who they are and who they could be, and touch upon the most meaningful questions of living. Newport Academy grants me the privilege to listen, to treat, and to guide them during their stay.”
—Dr. Prakash Thomas, Psychiatrist
The Differences Between Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks
Most parents don’t know the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks. A teen may mistake an anxiety attack for a panic attack. They may be fearful and overwhelmed. They may seem overly agitated as their heart pounds wildly.
In contrast to a panic attack, however, an anxiety attack is a reaction to a specific stressor. A stressor is an external issue that creates anxiety. For example, having to take a big test, or a stranger’s angry outburst that triggers a painful memory from the past.
An anxiety attack tends to go away when the stressor goes away. Although relatively common, an anxiety attack implies a need for a deeper look.
Panic attacks = red flags for anxiety disorder
Panic attacks, on the other hand, are more jarring and pervasive. They tend not to be a reaction to a specific stressor. Rather, panic attacks often seem unprovoked and unpredictable. During a panic attack, a teen is seized with irrational terror.
Panic attacks are so debilitating that your teen may feel like they are going to die. They might be convinced that something terrible is going to happen. If this is the case, you can comfort your child, letting them know that it’s going to be okay. Everything in life passes, and this will, too.
After calm is temporarily restored, it’s time to act. Panic attacks are often a sign of a deeper problem, such as unresolved trauma. The good news is that panic attacks and teen anxiety disorder are treatable.
Keep reading for the signs of a panic attack. Being informed can potentially alleviate some of the pain for your child.
10 Signs of a Teen Panic Attack
The signs of a teen panic attack are very much like those of a teen anxiety attack. The differences are the lack of a trigger for a panic attack and the severity of the symptoms. By knowing the red flags in detail, you will know how to respond when they suddenly arise.
10 signs of a teen panic attack
- Heart palpitations or an accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking brought on by chills and/or nervousness
- Nausea, abdominal distress and stomach cramps
- Hot flashes and the sensation of burning up inside
- A tightening of the throat, an unexplained choking sensation
- Feeling dizzy and unsteady, lightheadedness, possible fainting
- Excessive sweating of the palms, a clammy bodily sensation
- Numbness of the extremities or a tingling sensation
- Alert exhaustion where the fear keeps the teen awake
- Irritability and anger, lashing out to compensate for the fear
Parents need to know these signs and treat them like potential red flags of anxiety disorder in teens. If you have ignored such behaviors in the past, chalking it up to your teen “just acting out,” you are not alone. Many parents draw this conclusion. But it’s often not correct.
Are your teen’s nails bitten down to the quick? Does your teen have sores due to excessive picking and scratching? Do they burst into tears for no apparent reason?
If you see these signs, you should probe deeper, and learn about what kind of help you can access for your child. Once you recognize the problem, you can take the first steps toward healing for your teen and your family.
“When teens operate on a day-to-day basis with a high level of fear and worry, they can begin to experience panic attacks that seem to come on out of nowhere.”
—Newport Academy Senior Clinician Heather Senior Monroe
The red flags of teen anxiety disorder
The challenge parents often face is that a teen doesn’t tell them what is happening. Faced with psychological pain, teens often go mute. They don’t want to talk about it. And who can blame them? It is a terrifying experience.
How can you tell when average, everyday stress has crossed the line into an anxiety disorder? Here’s what to watch for so you can recognize an anxiety disorder, even if your teen isn’t talking about it.
Six Signs of Teen Anxiety Disorder
- Performance dip in school, poor report cards, poor testing results
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, noticeable drop in social interactions
- Trouble sleeping at night, exhaustion for no apparent reason, always worn down
- Loss of appetite and eating disturbances, inability to enjoy meals once favored
- Substance use disorder, using drugs and drinking as forms of self-medication
- Avoiding people, places and things that trigger the anxious feelings
This is what happens when a teen anxiety disorder goes untreated. We cannot stress the importance of accessing help at this time. The Newport Academy treatment team can provide you with the tools you need and bring relief to you and your teen.
According to a report by the Child Mind Institute, 80% of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder are not getting help. Parents are the key to changing this troubling statistic.
“When I came to Newport, I couldn’t do anything on my own. I was barely crawling. I didn’t know what it was like to actually care for myself and have respect for myself until I went to Newport. They didn’t just pick me up and tell me to walk again, they taught me a new way of walking—how to walk with my head held high.”
—Meg, Newport Academy Alumni
Education is a powerful tool for transformation. Newport Academy wants you to gain the knowledge you need.
Read on for an overview of the different types of teenage anxiety disorders.
The Different Types of Teenage Anxiety
Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5, there are many different types of anxiety disorders. Fortunately, some of these anxiety disorders are extremely rare in young people. Below are the specific types of anxiety disorders that most commonly affect American teenagers.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Teens with generalized anxiety disorder are very hard on themselves. GAD is characterized by excessive worrying and low self-esteem. The most common teen anxiety disorder, it is also very treatable.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety is a fear of being in social situations, like a school dance. Many teens experience some level of social anxiety. Teens with social anxiety are often afraid that they will say or do something that will cause them to feel embarrassed or humiliated in front of their peers. Thus, social anxiety disorder can impair school performance and increase isolation.
- Panic Disorder: A single panic attack is not a panic disorder. Rather, multiple panic attacks lead to such a diagnosis. Panic disorder can be paralyzing for a child and scary for a parent.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: When a teen is unable to shed the fear of leaving their home or parent, this is known as separation anxiety. The teen is afraid to leave the comfort zone of home, a parent, or another safe figure. Separation Anxiety Disorder prevents growth and hinders a teen’s freedom.
- Specific Phobias: Some kids fear spiders, some are scared of the dark, others are afraid of dogs or planes. When a specific phobia leads to fearful behavior or anxiety attacks, the condition needs to be addressed. It’s important to look at how frequently the teen is focusing on the phobia, and how often it comes up in daily life.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD in kids is often connected to anxiety in teens. Is your teen continuously repeating certain routines and rituals? Then they should be evaluated. Anxiety in teens often lurks behind such compulsive actions.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD): PTSD in kids can be a root cause of teen anxiety. Traumatic memories bring on post-traumatic reactions. For example, PTSD can be triggered by memories of a bad childhood injury or the tragic loss of a loved one.
What does my teen have to worry about?
Worries brought on by teen anxiety are not always rational. At the same time, rational worries that typically produce normal anxiety are hugely magnified in the mind of an anxious teen. Such reasonable worries increase in severity. They can lead to a much greater psychic disturbance.
In truth, there are many issues that teen anxiety can revolve around. By knowing these potential issues, you will know what to talk about with your anxious teen.
11 typical examples of teen anxiety issues
- Parental Approval—Am I good enough? Do my parents care for me? Am I an embarrassment?
- Family Stability—Am I the reason my parents fight? Are they going to separate because of me?
- Academic Achievements—Can I get the grades I need to succeed? Will I finish the big term paper on time?
- Testing Ability—Will I do well on my SATs? What happens if I panic during the math midterm?
- Sports Performance—Will I make the team? What if I strike out, and we lose? Will they all hate me?
- Social Group Identification—Does anyone even like me? How do I fit in? Is everyone talking about me behind my back?
- Peer Pressure—Do I have to drink to be cool? Parkour scares me, but everyone is doing it now.
- Teenage Dating—Why don’t I have a girlfriend? He won’t ask me to dance. Will she turn me down?
- Can I get into a good college? What should I do with my life? Will I fail again?
- Apocalyptic Imagination—What about all these new viruses? Is the big earthquake coming? Nuclear war?
- Magical Negative Thinking — Am I being cursed? Computers are going to take over our minds.
Many of these teen anxiety worries seem reasonable. Some of them may be far from it. But do not make the mistake of treating a teenager like an adult. The teenage brain is still developing. Irrational fears are dangerous for teens. The crippling emotions that anxious teens experience are real.
Yet, there are specific steps you can take to help your teen right away. Newport Academy empathizes with and encourages your desire to take immediate action. We want to help you ensure your child’s peace of mind.
Proactive steps on your part could mean one less day in pain for your child.
“Anything that increases awareness helps with anxiety.”
—Newport Academy psychiatrist Dr. Michel Mennesson
Five Proactive Ways to Help Your Anxious Teen
- Focus on rest and nourishment: A growing mind and body need sleep and good nutrition to feel peaceful. Without these basics, it’s difficult to restore and maintain inner calm. Is your teen practicing basic self-care? Look for ways you can help.
- Connect with family and friends: Teens struggling with anxiety have a fundamental need to connect with loving people in their life. Approval and support are essential to a child’s well-being. When a teen is in crisis, such love becomes even more important.
- Spend time in nature: Anxiety in teens is often worse indoors. Your teen needs to get out of the house. Turn off televisions and computers. A stroll in a park or a walk on the beach can do wonders.
- Highlight the positive: Help your anxious child recall good times from the past. Highlight positive moments happening right now. Promote excitement about future dreams being realized.
- Access treatment professionals for expert guidance: Anxiety in teens is hard to handle alone. Many teens attempting to battle anxiety need professional guidance. More teens are accessing such support. Newport Academy can provide the help you and your child need.
It can be hard to admit, but some things are beyond parents’ realm of expertise. If your teen is struggling and it seems as though you don’t have the answers, it may be time to reach out for help. Proven treatment techniques and the guidance of expert clinicians will help your child heal. We will also teach your child the tools they need to be self-reliant and build healthy habits.
Getting help may be the single most important step you can take. The teen anxiety treatment team at Newport Academy can aid you in taking that first step. We want to be part of providing a better quality of life for your teenager. With family workshops and family therapy, we support not only your child, but you as well.
“Newport Academy really focuses on the family. Family therapy and the individual attention that I even got as a parent is really what made a huge difference.”
—Denise, Parent of Newport Academy Alumni
We Want Your Teen to Succeed and Be Happy
At Newport Academy, we work diligently to help you get what you want for your child. Your teen’s future success is important—not only to you, but also to us. Our clinicians care, and that is why they do their job so well. We have a vision for the teens that seek our help.
We meet your teen where they are on day one. We allow them to go at their own pace in a loving yet disciplined environment, so they can learn to be happy and comfortable in their own skin.
You love your child. Give your teen the gift of security and well-being.
How can I help my child with teen anxiety?
Being proactive is key. The first step is to open the door to positive discussion of the challenge. You can also create a home environment that helps reduce your child’s anxiety.
- Find a safe environment and talk in person.
- Talk with a teenager about teen anxiety and not to
- Avoid lectures. Begin by asking questions and then listening. Show care and love with good eye contact and a calm voice.
- Recognize and praise recent accomplishments. Let your child know that they are valued in the family—always and forever.
- Find a balance between routine and flexibility. A schedule can provide structure. A routine offers security. But be sure to strike a balance that works for your teen as well.
- Plan ahead for everyday transitions, like departures and arrivals. For example, give your teen extra time to get ready for school. Avoid surprises if possible.
- A lack of progress should be met with genuine care and concern. Overcoming anxiety is a process. Each teen is different. Each person’s strengths, challenges, and environment are different. Comparisons are not based in reality.
- Try not to impose high expectations on a teen struggling with anxiety. They may very well trigger anxiety attacks or, even worse, panic attacks. Reducing external pressure is essential.
- Access the resource of professional teen anxiety treatment that works
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for teen anxiety. Effective treatment modalities are known to stabilize even the most difficult situations. Professional help eases suffering.
Our goal is to uncover and heal the root causes of the problem so your teen can find calm and peace. The jarring days of constant worrying will pass. Your child deserves to be provided with all the resources that you can give them.
Your teen can be a productive and happy kid again. We see such successful outcomes every day at Newport Academy. We are confident that we can help, and there is hope.
The Newport Academy Treatment Program Can Help
“At Newport Academy, we can use unique and cutting-edge treatment approaches that would take the state years to employ. Because we’re not dependent on state funds, we have the ability and flexibility to tailor programs that best suit the needs of our residents. I am so impressed with the caliber of the professionals on my team, and their willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure that clients receive the best, most effective, and most individualized treatment possible.”
—Helene D’Jay, LPC, Newport Academy Clinical Director, East Coast Campus
Individual Therapy (Psychotherapy)
Several different forms of individual and group therapy help foster sustainable healing:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT brings clarity and valuable insight for a teen in crisis. CBT identifies the emotions that often result in a sense of isolation and the self-defeating thoughts and assumptions that make life more difficult.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT provides specific skills like mindfulness and emotional regulation. These skills can be used right away and become stronger with practice.
- Experiential therapies are particularly powerful for teens with anxiety disorder. These include art therapy, music therapy, Adventure Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Therapy. These modalities help teens explore their emotions and build strength through creative expression, overcoming challenges, and developing supportive relationships.
- Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation have been shown to be effective in combating teen anxiety. Research shows that mindfulness meditation and regular yoga practice help decrease anxiety and increase coping skills.
At Newport Academy, we create a personalized treatment plan for each teen that includes a variety of these modalities.
Do we use prescription drugs to treat teen anxiety?
Prescription medication is rarely the answer to anxiety in teens. Though doctors often prescribe anti-anxiety medications, there are ways to work with anxiety that are just as successful and have no dangerous side effects.
In some cases, drugs can be helpful to stabilize an anxious teen. Newport Academy uses them only in conjunction with psychotherapy and holistic treatment modalities.
Teen anxiety disorder may be brought on by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Short-term use of prescription medication can address such an imbalance. The goal is to give your teen the space to do the real work.
Our teen anxiety treatment team believes that long-term mental health goes beyond any medications. Rather, developing new behaviors and greater self-understanding is what creates emotional stability.
The Calm Sanctuary of Residential Treatment
It is scary and exhausting to face a child’s anxiety attacks or panic attacks. You don’t have to do this alone. Newport Academy provides the highest-quality care using evidence-based methods. Our staff and clinicians are among the elite in their respective fields.
First, we help your child break the cycle of teen anxiety. Afterwards, we treat the underlying causes of teen anxiety. Residential treatment allows teens to heal without the distractions of everyday life.
Furthermore, there is scientific evidence that residential treatment works for anxiety. We often hear from our alumni that their time with us changed their life.
The life-sustaining environment of Newport Academy is fostered by love and support. Imagine a bright and compassionate community that cares. Your child will be safe.
Residential treatment provides a nourishing, empathic environment. Your child will no longer face the fears and worries of teen anxiety alone. Newport Academy fosters true long-term recovery from teen anxiety.
“It is our mission to provide the most comprehensive, impactful treatment for teens to sustain long-term recovery. We enable young people to move out of the darkness and into the light, into happy, fulfilling lives.”
—Jamison Monroe, Jr., Newport Academy Founder & CEO
Teen anxiety and substance use disorder
Teens suffering from anxiety sometimes self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They might feel that this is the only way to numb the pain and fear they’re experiencing.
At Newport Academy, we also specialize in treating substance use disorders. Teens can address both issues at once. Our professional staff has a track record of experience and success.
We offer a solution for anxious teens with substance use disorder. We can help your teen find the path forward. The goal is to leave behind both teen anxiety and drug or alcohol use.
Kindness and compassion will help struggling teens
Sometimes, as parents, it is hard to remain calm and accepting. You are tired and, often, you are scared.
At Newport Academy, our staff’s clinical expertise is matched only by their compassion. We provide unconditional love that supports your teen’s self-worth and self-acceptance as they do the work of healing.
We empathize with your need to make sure your child is safe and secure. You can trust us to provide the answers and solutions that you are looking for—and the caring that your teen needs to succeed in treatment.
Give your teen the life-changing gift of a compassionate recovery program.
Know the Facts.
“For so many of us, the real gift is finding a solid community. We share our experience, strength, and hope. And when we need support and camaraderie, we are there for each other. Isn’t this really what it’s all about? As a result of sharing the love, we are stronger, happier, and have a solid foundation for each day.”
—Chelsea Reeves, Director of Alumni Services at Newport Academy
What Makes Our Residential Treatment Program Different
1) Personalized Treatment
Teens suffering from anxiety sometimes self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They might feel that this is the only way to numb the pain and fear they’re experiencing.
Our priority is to offer the most effective personalized treatment available. Your teen’s individualized treatment program will be multifaceted and diverse. We incorporate evidence-based clinical and experiential therapeutic modalities. We tailor an individualized care plan to meet your teen’s needs, strengths, and challenges. Everyone is different, and we understand that.
Upon admission, your teen will be assigned an eight-person Treatment Team. This team develops a customized program to promote your child’s growth and sustainable healing.
Always in close contact, the Treatment Team includes the following professionals:
- Individual Therapist
- Family Therapist
- Medical Doctor/Pediatrician
- Registered Nurse
- Registered Dietician/Nutritionist
- Clinical Director (oversees and manages the Treatment Team)
These caring and talented professionals are the best in their respective fields. They are the foundation of our program. They are the reason Newport Academy continues to excel beyond other residential treatment programs.
2) Our Philosophy Is Love
We help teens by providing a safe, accepting, and nurturing environment. Indeed, we pride ourselves on providing unconditional love for every child who comes through our doors. This love fosters the groundwork in which deep issues can come to light. Teens feel safe enough to explore and resolve the underlying issues that lead to anxiety and other mental health challenges.
Unconditional love is the foundation of our transformative process. We care for your teen until they learn to love themselves.
Take a moment to meet our team
“Newport Academy is built around honesty, integrity, and courageous teamwork. It’s a privilege and honor to work with caring individuals who put their heart and soul into what they do. Newport Academy provides an approach that is experiential, creative, loving, and dynamic. It is an honor to witness adolescents and families change as they get the help they need.”
—Marcie Beasley, MA, LMFT, Newport Academy Clinical Director, West Coast Campus
3) We Achieve Results
The success of your teen is very important to us. You are trusting Newport Academy with your child, and we highly prize and value that trust. Therefore, we will go the extra mile and more to help.
Our program tracks 15 different treatment goals regarding family, academics, and behavior. These goals address the following:
- Anxiety and stress
- Feeling stuck in a cycle of fear
- Teenage depression
- Drug and alcohol use
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
- School performance
- Family dynamics
We have achieved an unparalleled success rate since our founding: 85% of our teens complete the Newport Academy program. As a result, the vast majority goes on to truly thrive. Your family can be whole again.
We realize that the hardest part of seeking treatment is to
get started. We’re here to help make that part easier, 24
hours a day, 7 days a week.
Learn more about Newport Academy’s comprehensive approach to treating teen anxiety. Browse our website or call us at 877-959-0904. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We treat teenagers struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, and substance abuse. To achieve a track record of excellence, Newport Academy has a 4–1 staff-to-client ratio. Experience has shown us that Newport Academy’s treatment programs work. But the most important thing is for you to find the help your child needs. If Newport Academy is not the right fit, then we will help you find a solution that works for you. We want your family and all families to begin the journey to healing and happiness.
Learn More About What We Treat
Teen Depression is more common than you think. The life of a teenager can be hard. First, physical changes and increasing social pressures equal hard challenges. When you add in the quest for an identity, kids have a lot on their plate. Is it surprising that so many suffer from teen depression?
Addressing the need for teen mental health treatment is tough for any family. Every parent wants their children to be healthy, whole, and happy. That’s why the Newport Academy Treatment Team’s approach to teen mental health challenges begins with love, support, and acceptance.
Diagnoses We Treat
Other Teen Disorders
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder
- Delusional Disorder
- Psychotic, Psychosis
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Brief Psychotic Disorder
- Schizoaffective Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Thought Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
- Gender Identity Disorder
- Gender Dysphoria
- Parental Alienation
- Parent-Child Relationship Issues
- Family Relationship Issues
- Anger issues
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Anxiety Attacks