Anxiety (Secondary School)
Anxiety in secondary school and beyond can cause many of the same issues as in younger children, such as problems with sleep, school avoidance, or panic attacks. Physical symptoms such as palpitations or feeling sick are also common. and are caused by the excess of stress hormones in the body. In addition there may be new issues such as self-harm, eating disorders, or depression and some of these issues may continue into adulthood. Exams are also a huge source of stress and anxiety.
For some tips on helping with exam stress see "Supporting your child during exam time"
The good news is that children and young people can learn techniques to allow them to cope better with anxiety and stress which will stand them in good stead as they grow up. Some ways of dealing with anxiety can be self taught (or learnt with parents), or might sometimes need the help of a counsellor. Many schools have counsellors who are used to dealing with anxiety, as it is probably the commonest problem in this age group.Have a look at our guide on counselling, including online counselling with
Kooth. There is lots of useful information both for parents who want to help their children and for young people themselves in the sections below.
Young adults might also be offered medication to help if anxiety is very severe. This page from the charity MIND tells you more about ways of treating anxiety in adults and self-help ideas.
Feeling anxious is a normal response to stresses such as exams or family problems but anxiety becomes a problem when it stops you doing or enjoying things, starts to make you feel unhappy or even causes physical symptoms. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are useful if you need to cope with a short-term threat or stress (like running away from something or getting through a exam) Too much stress however can cause symptoms like feeling sick vomiting, dizziness, a fast heart beat, tight throat, difficulty breathing and even diarrhoea.
Coping with anxiety and stress is all about finding what works for you. Exercise works for lots of people but it might be different for you. Look through the categories below to find websites, videos , books and Apps which might give some ideas. If you're struggling , have a look at the counselling and helpline sections too.
Relaxation CD: Rays of Calm
by Christiane Kerr (CD/audiobook) One of a series of CDs recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatry.