Have you noticed that your teen seems more anxious than usual in social situations? Do they avoid activities with friends and stay away from family gatherings? They might be struggling with social anxiety. If you’re wondering what you can do, Ascend is here with some answers. Read this blog to learn more about helping teens with anxiety.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a form of anxiety disorder that affects how an individual feels in social settings. Someone who has social anxiety might experience extreme feelings of worry in advance of and during social situations, such as parties, classes, extracurricular activities, or in stores or restaurants.
While everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time, those with social anxiety disorder feel a near-constant sense of worry or fear about how they will be perceived by others.
Some of the symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Avoiding social situations out of fear
- Missing school or work
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope with social situations
- Excessive worrying in advance of social events
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or rapid heart rate in social situations
Overcoming social anxiety is about more than just willpower. Many teens need additional support and handy coping techniques to get through the day.
Social Media & Anxiety
Your teen’s relationships with social media can be complex. They might use apps like Instagram and Snapchat to stay in touch with friends and family, or they might be part of an online community that shares their interests. Teens who struggle to connect with others in real life can feel more connected online. However, some teens can face feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, or stress related to their use of social media.
There is also evidence that those who struggle with social anxiety are at a higher risk of developing device management issues, compulsively spending more and more time online.
Tips for Teens with Social Anxiety
If a teen in your life is struggling with social anxiety, there are a few ways you can help. First, maintain an open, honest, and ongoing conversation with them about their use of social media and their relationships with others. It can be tempting to think of social media as a harmless or inconsequential part of your teen’s life. However, their interactions on social media can damage their self-esteem and lead to even more anxiety.
Other ways to help teens with anxiety include:
- Promoting balance between their online time and real-world connections
- Helping them practice mindfulness about the time they are spending online
- In-person meetups with people who share similar interests
- Sessions with a therapist who has experience with device misuse
- Lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
If you think your teen needs a little more than a weekly meeting with a therapist, consider a residential treatment program that’s specifically designed to help teens with anxiety disorders, device mismanagement, and depression.
Help for Teens with Anxiety at Ascend Healthcare
Our approach to mental healthcare involves evidence-based therapies, clinical care, and family support. We help teens in our care develop healthy coping skills so they can successfully manage the symptoms of social anxiety.