Anxiety disorders have become a widespread occurrence in the past two decades, and the number of affected individuals appears to be growing more and more rapidly with each passing year. However, scientists around the world certainly do not see this as something strange, because there are many contributing factors to the quickly growing number of individuals suffering from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), or any of the other widespread anxiety disorders.

Statistics provided by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and the Child Mind Institute state that anxiety disorders are the number one more common psychiatric disorder in teenagers aged 13-18. 31.9% of American teenagers in this diapason are likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and a whopping 8.3% of these cases might result lead to severe impairment and serious consequences in the affected teenager’s life.

This means that 17.1 million of the 74.5 million children and teenagers in the U.S. are likely to suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. One of the most worrying facts to come from these statistics is that 80% of teenagers with a diagnosable and treatable anxiety disorder are unlikely to consult with a professional and receive the assistance they need.

But what are the main reasons for anxiety in teens today? Countless interviews, tests, and treatment sessions show that one of the contributing factors is a bad family environment, but some side factors have become the focus of attention in recent years, and their adverse impact is likely to amplify in the years to come.

Pressures, Limitations & Expectations

Some people might think that extreme limitations and expectations are the reason for anxiety disorders, but they might be surprised to find out that the exact opposite of this may also turn out to be a contributing factor to the development of anxiety disorders in the teen years. Old-fashioned parents may often disregard the more ‘modern’ approach to the life of their teenage kin, and they may try to impose their values and views that are not fully compatible with today’s world.

Putting children under such pressure may make it difficult for them to adapt to certain situations and environments because this is not the way they were taught, and they may expect to experience severe repercussions if they fail to oblige.

While being too harsh with children and having unrealistic expectations for them from a young age is a major problem, doing the exact opposite can prove to be a significant issue as well. Letting your children choose their development path from an early age may give them unrealistic expectations for the world, and they may develop anxiety disorders and the later stages of their teenage years.

Smartphones, Mobile Consoles & Other Handheld Devices

Face-to-face social interaction is at an all-time low due to the increasing number of tablets, smartphones, and other handheld devices we get to use in our lives. Nowadays, even children who barely learned to read might be using devices like these for an unhealthy amount of time, daily.

While this opens them to tons of exciting information and entertaining content, it may also significantly reduce the amount of time they spend talking in real-life or engaging in social and physical outdoor activities. By carrying out most of their social interaction via the Internet, they might not obtain the necessary social skills to function correctly in the world, and this may lead to the development of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) or other disorders of this sort in the future.

Lack of Outdoor Activities & Meetings

Outdoor activities provide children and teens not just with a way to exercise, but also with a way to get to know people and interact with them face-to-face, therefore helping hone their social skills. However, with the growing popularity of handheld devices and the Internet, these outdoor activities are becoming less and less popular. Even if a teenager or child engages in activities of this sort, they might not gain anything at all due to spending most of their time with their smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device.

Unhealthy Family Environment

Children look after their parents and having an unhealthy family environment can have a very negative impact on the further development of a child’s social skills. Parents must do their best to conceal the internal family issues from their children, and attempt to reduce the amount of stress a child or teen has to endure in their own home. Family fights and a lack of family events and activities may unlock the development of various anxiety disorders.

The Insecure & ‘Extremist’ World of Today

The last decade’s politics have been bizarre, and that tendency shows no signs of abating. Many people are now categorized as “extreme left” or “extremist right,” and we are constantly exposed to depressing reports from media outlets around the world. Teenagers’ minds are like sponges; they absorb every bit of distressing news about the world around them. Maybe having someone their own age to talk to about it would help them put things in perspective and learn that not all news is equally important. Doing so may help them feel better right now, but it may also reduce their risk of having anxiety disorders later on.

Final Words

Bad parenting and the lack of controlled use of technology are indeed two of the top contributing factors to the significantly increasing number of teens suffering or diagnosed with anxiety disorders. The good news is that these disorders are not that scary if appropriately treated, and it is up to the families of those affected to take the required measures to ensure that their closest ones will receive assistance from a licensed professional.