It’s normal for all teens to experience anxiety from time to time when they have substantial events approaching such as a big test, an important soccer game, or a first date. Feeling anxious is a normal reaction to big stressors, but for some teens, anxiety is not just present for big moments, but for all the moments in between as well. For teens who are struggling with high-functioning anxiety, it can negatively impact friendships and family relationships, participation in extracurricular activities, and schoolwork.
Impacts of high-functioning anxiety on teens
Teen anxiety is becoming increasingly common with 25% of 13-18-year-olds experiencing an anxiety disorder. High functioning anxiety has evolved into a catchall term for people who live with anxiety but are able to function reasonably well in different areas of life. Teens with high functioning anxiety experience a myriad of impacts both mental and physical.
Teens with high-functioning anxiety get really caught up in their own heads and experience excessive fears and worries. Trying to mitigate these worries can lead them to feel restless, hyper-vigilant, and constantly nervous. Teens can also develop a sense of perfectionism to try and keep the anxiety at bay. Socially, anxiety can cause teens to either appear dependent or withdrawn depending on what their fears are.
High-functioning anxiety can also manifest in physical symptoms. Many anxious teens experience muscle tension, stomachaches, headaches, and fatigue. It’s also common for their bodies to flush, blot, sweat, and startle at any anxious trigger.
Warning signs your daughter may be experiencing high-functioning anxiety
With most teens experiencing some form of anxiety occasionally, how can you tell if your daughter is just processing typical teen stress or if they are living with high-functioning anxiety? The following are some warning signs you can look for:
1. Physical changes: Notice if your daughter is complaining of frequent pain that is not normal for her. This could be in the form of headaches, gastrointestinal problems, unexplained aches or pains, or even her saying she doesn’t feel well without any obvious cause.
2. Emotional changes: Be on the lookout for severe emotional alterations such as extreme irritability or unexplained outbursts. Also, notice if she has developed any new or extreme fears that she is constantly worrying about.
3. Social changes: If your daughter used to be a social butterfly, a warning sign of anxiety could be her avoiding social interactions, extracurricular activities, or spending increased time alone.
4. Sleep changes: If your daughter is experiencing significant anxiety, it can change her sleeping patterns, making it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. She can also experience an increase in nightmares and feel like she is still tired after a full night’s sleep.
5. Academic changes: Rather than seeing a decline in grades, anxiety can actually cause a significant jump in grades because your daughter is working so hard at being perfect. However, anxiety can also cause feelings of being overwhelmed by school and difficulty concentrating while studying and doing homework.
If working through constant anxiety becomes too much for your daughter and family to handle, programs like Solstice East can help.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that specializes in treating teens with anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and unhealthy behaviors. We support a therapeutic culture where acceptance, change, and growth is recognized and embraced. This approach allows our students to heal and gain the skills and tools necessary to lead a happy, healthy life.
For more information about how Solstice East can help please call 828-484-9946.