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How Anxiety Manifests in Teen Boys

People often worry about different aspects of life, especially teenagers adjusting to internal and external changes. It’s one thing to have concerns about when everything seems hectic and complicated. It’s another thing entirely when those worries start consuming your existence. Male anxiety can present different symptoms than those seen in females. Teen anxiety can be hard for parents and loved ones to recognize as a medical condition that is more than teen angst.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a term that describes the body’s reactions to different circumstances. Think of it like an internal alarm system that pops up when you sense any threat. That’s what prompts the so-called “fight or flight” response when you think you are in danger. It can take a few moments for your brain to recognize whether there is a real threat. Once it gives the all-clear, your nervous system knows it can relax.  That’s different than what happens in individuals with an anxiety disorder. They have a mental health condition that puts them in a state where they constantly experience emotions like worry, fear, nervousness, or dread. The intensity of those feelings can get to a point where you are continuously preoccupied with perceived threats to your well-being. 

Is my Son Anxious?

Teen anxiety can be extremely overwhelming, especially in males. The symptoms might come on suddenly or build up gradually before an individual recognizes something is wrong. People tend to think of anxiety as something that causes avoidance of stressful situations. Male anxiety can present as an angry reaction. Teenage males with anxiety may be more prone to diving into conflict because of that emotion. Other symptoms of anxiety in males can include:

  • Headaches
  • Problems sleeping
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Increased drug and alcohol use
  • Anger
  • Irritability

Signs of teen anxiety can vary depending on the specific disorder. 

  • Generalized Anxiety — Individuals with generalized anxiety may worry excessively about school, whether family members are safe, and what will happen to them in the future. Teen males with this form of anxiety may complain of having chest pains or being tired all the time. They may start missing school or avoiding other social obligations. 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) — Teen males may obsess over dark thoughts or act out compulsive behavior like counting items or doing things in a specific order. 
  • Phobia — A teen male may develop a phobia tied to specific situations or things that don’t actually present a danger, like a fear of heights or the sight of a dog. 
  • Panic Attacks — Anxiety in males can also show up in the form of an intense physical reaction called a panic attack. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, pounding heart, dizziness, or tingling sensations throughout the body. 

What Can Be Done To Help Teen Males With Anxiety?

Your teenager may not realize that the feelings they are experiencing are possible symptoms of an anxiety disorder. They may be hesitant to let someone know what’s going on. It may be hard for you to understand what may be going on underneath what may seem to be confusing behavior.  It is a good idea to have them evaluated by a mental health professional if you suspect they may have an anxiety disorder. They can offer advice on the best course of treatment to provide your teen male with some relief. At Destination For Teens, we work hard to make sure our teen clients receive the best care possible. The dedicated professionals who work with them provide individualized care to give them the best chance at becoming healthy. Your teen may benefit from:

Find out more about Destination For Teens and how we can assist teen males with anxiety by calling 877.466.0620