Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental diseases for adolescents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7% of children ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the umbrella term that refers to phobias, panic disorder, separation anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorders.
Researchers and doctors state that the anxiety among children and adolescents currently may intensify for various reasons, including increasing pressure to succeed in school, growing up in the age of social media, and living in a world where mass shootings often dominate the main headline.
Unfortunately, despite the number of American youth dealing with a high level of anxiety, only 1 out of 5 was treated because of this disorder, according to the Children's Mental Health Report. Anxiety experts warn that lack of care and teen anxiety treatment can damage future mental health because children and adolescents with anxiety disorders are at risk of depression, behavioral problems, drug use, and even suicide later on.
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Youth anxiety also increases an individual’s risk of educational underachievement in young adulthood and functional impairment in areas such as health, social relationships or work in adulthood. Psychologists also know that the earlier anxiety is addressed, the less likely it is to lead to more serious mental health issues that aren’t always quite as easy to treat successfully.
In addition to conducting research and developing treatments, psychologists are also working to increase awareness among policymakers and the public about the risks of untreated anxiety and the need to reduce the stigma associated with seeking psychological treatment. Success in these areas is only possible when basic scientists, applied scientists, educators, clinicians and policymakers build on each other’s work.