Help with troubled teenagers can stem from many teen issues such as; depression, teens doing drugs, negative peer groups, and more. However social anxiety disorder in teens affects 1 in 3 adolescents across the country.
Social anxiety is a common teenage mental health disorder and known as social phobia. It is normal for teen and young adults to feel nervous in some situations such as going on a date or giving a presentation at school, but with social anxiety disorder it can be more extreme. This can lead to diminished relationships which causes your teen or young adult to become isolated and withdrawn.
Does your teen or young adult experience:
- Fear of judgment
- Fear of rejection (especially by peers)
- Overwhelming self-consciousness
- Anxious about group or new settings
- Panic attacks
Physical symptoms can include sweating, trembling, nervousness, nausea, or blushing, may occur in suffers even in “normal”, everyday social situations.
3 Tips to Help Social Anxiety Disorder with Troubled Teens
Social anxiety has become a growing problem among teens and young adults, especially in the aftermath of months of isolation created by the pandemic. Parents have been searching for help for their troubled teenager struggling with social anxiety including researching behavioral boarding schools that can help when home resources have failed.
If you believe your teen or young adult is struggling with social anxiety, here are some 3 tips to help:
1. Remind your teen or young adult, they are not alone. As noted above, 1 out of 3 adolescents (between 13 and 18 years old) have been diagnosed with social anxiety and many more go undiagnosed or struggle with social fears or phobias. Let them know that other teens with social anxiety have conquered their fears, and you have confidence they can too. Finding a therapist that specializes in social anxiety can be helpful, they may provide support groups to validate that your teen is not alone.
2. Relaxation techniques. Social anxiety and fear creates stress, so it is important to help your teenager or young adult develop relaxation techniques that work for them. This can help them to relax and unwind to take a break from anxiousness. Give them a list of ideas to try until they find the one or more that work for them. For example, exercise, jogging, painting, drawing, yoga, journaling, crafts, or breathing exercises, etc.
3. Facing their fears. This can be scary for our child, but with encouragement and support, we must help them face their fear. The more we avoid something, the longer it will take us to accept it. For example, if your teen or young adult is apprehensive about joining a school club or a new class, ask the teacher if your teen can observe once class first. As your teen gains more exposure as well as more confidence that nothing bad is going to happen, they soon become at ease with this new situation. Teens with social anxiety disorder may take a bit longer adjust, but with time and patience, their life can be normal.
If social anxiety is not addressed in teens it can lead to poor academic performance (skipping classes, school refusal), substance use, social awkwardness, trouble developing or maintaining friends or relationships, and low self-worth especially in social situations. Therefore getting help to learn how to manage your social anxiety is crucial.
It is important to get your teen or young adult help, not avoid situations that make them anxious or give them social anxiety. Gradual exposure to new social experiences will help them build social skills and gradually feel more confident. A therapist (mental health professional) can help guide you and parent involvement is key.
If your teen is struggling with extreme social anxiety and you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for a free consultation. We can help you learn about therapeutic boarding schools that can help your young adult or teenager.