The teenage years are often fraught with anxiety. The new demands placed upon children entering puberty and the hormonal changes they will experience can create a maelstrom of symptoms that can make adaptation to the adult world difficult. While most teenagers are able to successfully transition from childhood to adolescence with minimal turbulence, others struggle greatly. It is not uncommon for those entering adolescence to experience clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the needs of these individuals is likewise different from those who don't struggle with these disorders.
Social anxiety disorder, in particular, has an average age of onset of roughly 13. Given the desire to fit in with peer groups at this crucial juncture in an individual's life, it is no wonder that social anxiety disorder is so prevalent among teenagers. It is, in some ways, a quintessential teenage mental health condition. But what separates normal teenage moodiness and social struggle from clinically diagnosable social anxiety disorder? How can you determine if your teenager needs extra mental health support?
These are some common symptoms of social anxiety disorder among teenagers. If your teenager struggles with any of these, it may be worth seeking additional help for them:
- Withdrawing from school activities
- Decline in academic performance
- Excessive concern with the opinion of peers
- Eating disorders or self-harming behaviors
- Social isolation
- Excessive moodiness or irritability