Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?“ in The New York Times Magazine addresses many timely issues I agree with including that anxiety levels and expectations of parents also have a lot to do with adolescent anxiety levels, and their overwhelming feelings of failure, fear and danger. Nuclear family dynamics are splintering with more stressors, like divorce, technology and other factors, than ever. Parents are absorbed in work and survival and generally lack the time and energy prior generations have had to raise their children in a relaxed way and model measured coping skills and resilience to their children.
Parents are coping by leaving more to school and others to teach how to manage basic stressors. Mental health practitioners are playing a bigger role in bridging gaps.
The world is also more competitive today, so to succeed you have to do more. There is more pressure, everything is overwhelming and anxiety provoking. And all this serves to put children and families further at risk. Children simply don’t have time to develop, to play, to find joy, to learn experientially, and are growing up with more anxiety in these circumstances.
There are certainly also biological and genetic predispositions, combining with environmental factors, that lead to anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Early identification, intervention and treatment are critical. Medication may be advisable, but therapy and lifestyle changes should go hand in hand with any treatment. The stigma of mental health disorders also distorts treatment and leads to many being treated by non mental health professionals, which can exacerbate conditions and delay optimal treatment plans. A dynamic approach to family therapy, medication management and mindfulness as well as nutritional, genetic and other environmental factors all play a role in moving ahead.”