Adolescence is packed with right of passage, puberty, and other exciting life events. It is the time children become teens and teeter on the edge of adulthood. For adolescents with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depression and anxiety are only a part of it.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
GAD is a mental health condition that is characterized by an all-consuming worry. It causes distress from a variety of everyday things like academic performance or sports in adolescents. It drives them to the extreme of studying or practicing. In generalized anxiety disorder, the worry isn’t materialized from outside factors like contamination or social interaction. It is manifested internally. Children with GAD tend to seek reassurance in an attempt to calm their fears and worries. Their anxiety can make them rigid, irritable, and restless.
- Worries about things before they happen
- Concerns about friends, school, or activities
- Ever constant thoughts and fears about their safety or the parents’ safety
- Refuses to go to school
- Frequent physical complaints like stomach and headaches
- Sleep problems
- Clingy behavior with family members
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Lack of concentration
- Being grouchy and depressed
- Inability to relax
How are Adolescents Treated for GAD?
The symptoms of GAD may mirror those of other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her family doctor for a diagnosis. Before a behavioral health referral is made, your child’s provider will rule out any other health problems. Once this is done, a mental health expert can accurately diagnose GAD. A mental health assessment will be done with your child. Children and teens can’t just pull themselves together and “get better.” They often require treatment to avoid things worsening over time.
Treatment for GAD may include:
- Therapy– This helps a child learn how to manage anxiety better and master the situations that may lead to anxiety.
- Medicines– Antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication may help the feel calmer.
- Family Therapy– Parent involvement is crucial in the treatment process.
- School Input– Involving the school in related care.
If your child is between the ages of 7-17 and struggles with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or struggles with its symptoms, clinical research studies may be an option. To learn more about the GAD studies currently enrolling here at Core Clinical Research for adolescents, visit us here.