School Avoidance and Anxiety Based Disorders: Anxiety Treatment for Teens

Being a teen is naturally stressful, and anxiety is a natural response to that stress. When this anxiety becomes persistent and overwhelming, however, it can impact a teen’s desire to attend school and his or her ability to perform academically. Anxiety Treatment for Teens including open communication, and wilderness therapy can be of assistance in alleviating stress and anxiousness.

Attending school and performing academically may be a major source of anxiety in your teen.

Anxiety is a normal part of teenage life, and it can be healthy—to a point. Feeling anxious in the right amount helps the body to perceive threats, avoid danger, and allows a person to navigate tense situations. When this anxiety develops into extreme feelings of worry and fear, however, it is cause for concern.

High anxiety manifests differently in individuals and depends on a combination of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, environment, physical activity, diet, drug use and medical history. For teenagers who suffer from high anxiety, school can be the number one underlying source of it. Anxiety disorders can develop around times of transition, such as entering middle or high school, moving, or other life events that accompany adolescence. Moreover, the things that accompany school life are stressful: for example, taking tests, public speaking, meeting people, competing athletically, and dating.

Signs that your teen may have an anxiety disorder related to school:

  • Repeatedly asks to see the nurse
  • Avoids school or skips classes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Continued nervousness and restlessness
  • Seems withdrawn or uneasy
  • Excessively wary and vigilant
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea
Tips for parents:

Communicate openly. Speaking with your teen about their worries and fears related to school will help to reduce them.

Emphasize the positive. While there may be something specific that is causing your teen to avoid school, speak with them about the advantages and positive aspects of attending school.

Support your teen. Support your teen in their academic achievements and in their failings. The anxiety that teens feel to achieve high grades is amplified when they feel like poor performances will not be accepted.

Set reasonable expectations. Pressuring teens to be perfect is not the way to get them to succeed. Build inner motivation, so that your child understands that doing something well is a reward in itself.

Speak with teachers and counselors. Work to build your child’s support system by reaching out to the professionals at school that can help your child to manage his or her anxiety.

Encourage hobbies and interests. Teens need time to unwind from the pressures of performing academically. Hobbies can help with relaxation and help build self-confidence.

Insist on attendance. Avoidance is habit-forming and reinforces anxiety issues.

Educate yourself. Learn about your teen’s anxiety disorder so that you can better help them to treat it.

As a parent, when you feel that you do not have the tools to help your teen cope with their anxiety issues, it is time to seek professional treatment.

Wilderness therapy teaches the coping mechanisms that teens need to manage their anxiety.

Wilderness therapy is a form of treatment that has been shown to be highly successful in treating anxiety disorders in teens and young adults.

Wilderness therapy employs the cognitive behavior therapy model to treat participants by helping them to identify the underlying factors that contribute to their particular issue, and teaches skills to self manage that issue. Relaxation techniques, coping skills, emotional awareness, and cognitive restructuring are all tools that wilderness therapy teaches.

Upon leaving a wilderness therapy program, teens have the ability to return to school life and control their stresses in a healthy and productive way. For this reason, wilderness therapy programs can be an extremely effective method of anxiety treatment for teens. Contact Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980 to learn more.