Many people experience clinical anxiety that affects them on a day-to-day basis. In fact, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that anxiety affects 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Symptoms of anxiety include worry, fear, tension, feeling restless, racing thoughts, irritability, and feeling distracted. You may have heard the word “trigger” used when talking about anxiety. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what triggers anxiety in children and teens.
What Does “Trigger” Mean?
When talking about anxiety, the word “trigger” refers to situations, thoughts, or memories that activate your child’s anxiety and often leads to an increase in symptoms. While each child is different, triggers could lead to panic attacks, difficulty accomplishing tasks, or relapses in a former negative behavior.
Verywellmind says there are two types of triggers: internal and external. Internal triggers refer to triggers that occur inside your child. This could be a physical sensation, memory, thought, or emotion. An example of an internal trigger could be the child thinking of making a mistake or something going wrong. In this example, the thought would be intrusive and unwanted, and it would lead to an anxious response. External triggers refer to triggers that happen outside of your child’s body, such as people or specific situations. An example of an external trigger could be when a child who is anxious around large groups of people walks into a busy, crowded classroom. In this example, walking into the crowded classroom would lead to an anxious response.
What Are Common Anxiety Triggers In Children and Teens?
Now that we understand what a “trigger” is, we can take a look at some of the common triggers of anxiety in children and teens. Child Mind Institute says, “Younger children are prone to be anxious about external things — like animals or insects, the dark, monsters under the bed, or something bad happening to mom and dad. But teenagers are more likely to be worried about themselves — their performance in school or sports, how they are perceived by others, the changes in their bodies.”
Common Anxiety Triggers In Children:
- Separation From Caregivers
- New People
- Family Conflict
- Sibling Conflict
- New Environments
- Uncertain Situations
- Changes in Schedule
Common Anxiety Triggers In Teens:
- Academic Performance
- Social Stress
- Making Friends
- Preparing for High School Graduation
- College Preparation
- World Events
- Family Conflict
- Peer Pressure
If your child is experiencing anxiety and you are looking to help them identify what their triggers are, it is important to work with a professional counselor who can help them examine situations or feelings that activate their anxiety response. Our counselors at Garrett Counseling in Huntsville, AL and our other locations are experienced in working with children and teens experiencing anxiety. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or by clicking here to schedule an appointment!