What are symptoms of anxiety in adolescents?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

There are a number of common types of adolescent anxiety. Many symptoms of anxiety, both the physical and emotional, are common to all types of anxiety, although the triggers may be different.

  • Phobias: defined as an excessive fear, a phobia can range from anything things (e.g. spiders) to situations (e.g. going to school). The symptoms of anxiety will be triggered by the proximity of the source of the phobia.
  • Panic attacks: the sudden appearance of symptoms of anxiety (usually the physical ones), usually triggered by the experience of one of the other types of anxiety.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: This is more than teen social awkwardness; it is the feeling of genuine anxiety at the thought of, or during, social interactions. Additional emotional symptoms include extreme fear of embarrassment, poor social skills or low self-esteem.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: characterized particularly by extreme fear of contamination, constant doubt and inability to control one's thoughts.
  • Stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder; these are usually triggered by a specific event. Additional symptoms include hyper-vigilance, a sense of helplessness, and ongoing fear.

Some common physical symptoms of the different anxiety disorders are stomach aches, sweating, difficulty breathing, muscle tension, fatigue, headaches, trembling, or startling easily. In addition, you're likely to see some emotional symptoms, such as increased irritability, moodiness, avoidance, withdrawal, excessive worry, or becoming highly emotional. A key indicator that the presences of any of these symptoms is more than general teenage angst is whether they are occurring out of proportion to what the challenge of a situation warrants. Teens are constantly put in new and potentially scary situations, so do try to distinguish between expected teen jitters and true anxiety.