Teen Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Teens with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) will experience unnecessary fear and anxiety with respect to normal everyday activities for long periods of time. This excessive worry and anxiety may cause severe emotional agony, which has multi-factorial effects at school, in the workplace, and in relationships. GAD has some added physical effects like nausea, sweating, shaking, headache and pain.
Usually, 9% of people will develop GAD in their lifespan. Studies show that women are twice as likely as men to develop GAD. GAD rarely starts before adolescence. Children with anxiety may therefore develop GAD as they mature and reach adolescence.
Causes of Teen GAD
GAD is caused by several genetic and environmental factors. There are also specific medical conditions and medications that can cause teen GAD. A mental health professional or clinical psychologist is usually competent to accurately assess and diagnose teen GAD.
Symptoms of Teen GAD
- Difficulty concentrating
- Falling asleep, but mind is worrying
- Shaking and jerking
- Air deprivation
- Easily frightened
- Anticipating the worst outcome for any situation
- Extreme concerns and worries about everyday work
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hot flashes
- Frequent urination
Anxiety vs. GAD
Every person will experience a normal level of anxiety with some physical, behavioral or emotional responses and reflexes in the face of danger. Anxiety is an emotion that is designed to protect and alert us in times of danger. A healthy level of anxiety acts as a motivational tool to help us to focus on the issue and accomplish the work with efficacy and determination. In reality, a person requires some amount of anxiety to perform at their best, to develop a new skill, or as a means of protection.
But sometimes, this normal healthy level of anxiety is heightened. It can become a problem if:
- The anxiety is deep enough and lasts for several days or months
- The anxiety interferes with daily activities
- The anxiety is negatively impacting school, work or relationships
How to Treat Teen GAD
Psychological Treatments: Professional psychologists can arrange “Talk therapy” to help the teen to control their emotions and thoughts. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been found to be the most effective for treating GAD in teenagers. CBT helps to overcome the fear so that the teen can be comfortable to share his or her thoughts.
Medication: There are many courses of medication available that can help to treat GAD in teens along with talk therapy and psychotherapy. Only mental health practitioners can prescribe medications, after making a conclusive diagnosis and deciding on an adequate course of therapy and treatment.
Teen GAD at Hillcrest
Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is a licensed, residential mental health facility in the tropical foothills of Agoura Hills, specializing in the treatment of teen GAD, and guided by expert mental healthcare professionals and therapists who are committed to the long-lasting and sustained healing of each client, both during and post-treatment. At Hillcrest, teen residential treatment is dynamic, multi-layered, varied and eclectic. In addition to individualized therapeutic programs designed specifically to suit each client’s condition and temperament, a range of extracurricular activities and hobbies are also offered to ensure healthy and fun outlets for each client depending on their skills and talents.
Hillcrest’s individualized approach allows for personal attention and care of the highest of standards for each client. By recognizing the unique nature and experience of each client, and valuing the distinct abilities and character traits that your loved ones bring to the Hillcrest program, positive healing attributes are maximized and strengthened, allowing each client to flourish while at Hillcrest, and moreover, to learn to nurture those positive characteristics to achieve independence and constructive impactful change upon re-entry and re-integration into the outside world.