Overcoming Adolescent Anxiety

- Jessica Nagel, Psy.D.

The most comprehensive national survey data suggest that 32% of adolescents (ages 13-18) have an anxiety disorder1. Social anxiety, symptoms of which can be visible as early as age 5, accounts for nearly half of these diagnoses, with 12.1% of adolescents meeting criteria2. Why then, do we hear so little about adolescent anxiety and why can it be so difficult to find resources and treatment options, especially groups?

For one, we often see a lack of resources where difficulty and struggle is the norm. Children and teens with anxiety tend to fly under-the-radar at school and at home where clinical anxiety is confused for normative worry surrounding testing, social situations, and applying to college, among other stressors. If we accept, as many schools and parents have, that intense anxiety is now a standard part of the child and adolescent experience, we’ll continue to see this common and very treatable problem overlooked.

Another obstacle to child and adolescent anxiety treatment: ANXIETY. As a provider, I recognize that it can often be difficult to get young people to attend therapy. This is especially true of teens with an anxiety diagnosis – doubly so for social anxiety – who tend to be avoidant of situations which cause them extreme stress or fear. These symptoms, if unchecked or overlooked, can interfere or even prevent individual and group treatments, despite proven efficacy3 (and, in my opinion, the opportunity for fun and enjoyable peer interaction).

At my upcoming Community Night, Overcoming Adolescent Anxiety: Seeking Help for Your Child, I’ll explore these ideas further, helping you to better understand child and adolescent anxiety, common symptoms, and next steps. From at-home behavioral strategies to the range of clinical treatment options, we’ll discuss the many ways you as a parent or educator can help to combat anxiety and the evidence-based treatment options that are available to you and your child.

Looking forward to seeing you there,



Community Nights are free, open to the public and designed to offer resources and education on a variety of topics that are relevant to New York area individuals and families. Our staff-led workshops address common challenges related to school, development, stress management, relationships, and life transitions. Because the specific strategies and behaviorally-based interventions presented in each workshop may not be widely accessible to those who need them, we are pleased to be able to offer these resources free of charge to our community.

Interested? Register for any upcoming Community Nights workshop here.

1Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., Heeringa, S., Hiripi, E., . . . Zheng, H. (2004). The US National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R): Design and field procedures. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13(2), 69-92.

2Ryan, J. L., & Warner, C. M. (2012). Treating Adolescents with Social Anxiety Disorder in Schools. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America21(1), 105–ix.

3Albano, A. M., Marten, P. A., Holt, C. S., Heimberg, R. G., & Barlow, D. H. (1995). Cognitive-behavioral group treatment for social phobia in adolescents: A preliminary study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 183(10), 649-656.


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