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LegsAnxiety is a normal part of life and is very common in the teenage years. Feeling anxious before an exam, job interview or before a big presentation is totally understandable and this anxiety usually goes away on its own. Anxiety can be described as feelings of tension, worry and pressure. While feeling anxious is a valid emotion to have during stressful times, if you think your teen is suffering from anxiety that is persistent and has been ongoing for a significant amount of time, there are a range of treatment options that can help.

Anxiety disorders can significantly impact everyday life, making simple tasks daunting. It is also important to remember that anxiety and anxiety disorders can go beyond emotional symptoms. Your teen may complain of physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, dizziness, a tight chest, sweating and nausea. You may notice that they are obsessing about certain things or that small things appear to be the end of the world. They may avoid situations that make them anxious, such as school or certain social situations. Trouble sleeping, loss of appetite or sudden changes in school performance are also things to look out for.

Anxiety disorders can be complicated to diagnose. Not all teenagers will experience the same symptoms associated with anxiety. There are also a variety of anxiety disorders that teenagers may experience, such as social phobia, panic disorder, separation anxiety, agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder. It is incredibly important to address anxiety disorders during the teen years as poor mental health while they are still developing may impact on their future mental health.

Anxiety is not necessarily caused by one specific factor but rather a combination of factors. Some of the things that may cause or trigger anxiety include

  • Environmental stressors – such as exam periods, breakups and family issues
  • Medicines - medication side effects and withdrawal from illicit drugs
  • Hereditary factors – such as a family history of mental illness (especially if it is an anxiety-related mental illness)

The treatment for anxiety will vary from patient to patient depending on the level of severity. For teens that are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety disorders treatment can include exercising, meditation, prioritising good sleeping patterns and eating well. Furthermore, acknowledging and confronting the root cause of the anxiety is also beneficial. Some of these root causes for teens may include tension between the teen and their parents, peer pressure and academic stress.

If your doctor prescribes medication to treat your teen’s anxiety, your community pharmacist can answer any questions you or your teen may have about the medicines they are taking such as side effects, premature discontinuation, build up of tolerance or drug interactions. It may take more than one try to find the right medication for your child and it may also take a little while for the medication to be fully effective. Your community pharmacist can also speak to your child about the risks of taking alcohol and drugs with their medication. With proper treatment, the majority of teens experience an improvement within a few months.

Speak to the friendly team at Capital Chemist Curtin, located at the Curtin shops for advice and support.