The New York Post is calling our young adults "The Anxious Generation." Time magazine wrote an article October 2016 called, "Why the Kids Are Not Alright." According to the National Institute of Mental Health 25% of teens 13-18 years old have an anxiety disorder.
What in the world is going on and why? No one knows for sure but many believe the increase in pediatric anxiety is partly due to living in an electronic generation with overexposed kids-the troubles of the world are at the tips of our kids fingers. Not to mention the fact that studies show those that spend more than two hours a day suffer from anxiety and depression more than those who use electronics less. In addition, more and more of our kids are over scheduled with very little down time. Many sporting events occur on Sundays so family church is a thing of the past. The divorce rate is up, people are stressed about the state of politics and kids have to go through drills just in case their is a school shooting. Good grief. It stresses me out to write about it.
So what are signs that your child is anxious? If they worry excessively, cry excessively, are fearful, have sleep problems, loss of appetite, irritability, belly aches, headaches and seem tired perhaps there is a problem.
What can you do? For a more formal detailed rendition of this, check out my article in Luca magazine. Here it is in a nutshell:
1. Go see your kids doctor. They can assess your child for medical problems, vitamin deficiency, thyroid issues etc. and help point you in the right direction.
2. Seek talk therapy. Find a good counselor or psychologist that your kiddo can talk to.
3. Go back to the basics: improve sleep, eat better, play outside, exercise, and limit electronic time.
4. Consider supplements-multivitamin, vitamin D3, and omega 3's have all been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety. Talk to your doctor about what is right for your child.
Whatever you do, please don't ignore it. There is help. Studies show that kids/teens with untreated anxiety are at risk for poor school performance, poor relationships, and often go on to have substance abuse.
For more on the topic check out my Arizona Midday segment October 4, 2017.