Teen Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment

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Damp palms before a driving test. Nervous pacing in a locker room before a playoff game. A sleepless night before the SAT. That’s nervousness.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a different beast. A legitimate mental disorder that creates persistent, overwhelming and unrealistic feelings of failure, anxiety and worry, GAD doesn’t simply fade away like nervousness. It needs specific anxiety treatment to be affectively addressed. Patients with GAD are often consumed with thoughts of disaster that may be impossible for them to control. GAD can rule a teen’s life if left untreated, making activities like going to school or hanging out with friends impossible. Also, the worry and anxiety GAD causes often appears to have no source.

Like many mood disorders, it can be easy to dismiss GAD. That would be a mistake. Sovereign Health understands how totally GAD can disrupt a teen’s life, and our residential anxiety treatment program for adolescents at Rancho San Diego will give them the tools to overcome and deal with their anxiety, giving a full life back to them.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Chronic and excessive worry and fear are the hallmarks of GAD. A teen with GAD worries about one thing: Everything. Upcoming events, social standing, relationships, classes, their health, the health of others, their appearance … merely getting through the day can make a patient dealing with GAD exhausted.

Generally manifesting between childhood and middle age, GAD affects women nearly twice as often as men. Studies have shown adolescents with GAD struggle in school, miss important social events and run a higher risk of substance abuse. Often, GAD co-occurs with other mental disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and eating disorders.

Younger people with GAD often don’t realize they have the disorder – like many adolescent mental illness, GAD clouds reasoning and perception. This is why anxiety disorder treatment is so important.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

According to Mayo Clinic, the following signs could indicate GAD:

  • Expressions of worry and anxiety about many things
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Restlessness, irritability and tension
  • Becoming easily tired

Red Flags of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Clingy behavior with loved ones
  • Refusal to go to school, attend certain events or participate in activities – even if these are things the patient used to enjoy
  • Frequent complaints about headaches, muscle aches and stomachaches
  • Needing reassurance and approval from family members

What Causes Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Like every other mood disorder, there’s no clear cause of GAD. The disorder seems to be caused by several variables, including genetic, familial, social and environmental factors. Some studies have shown chemical imbalances in the brain may cause GAD in some adolescents, for example. Also, an adolescent who has been subject to long-term abuse, such as bullying or sexual abuse, will be at greater risk for developing GAD. Personality may play a role – Mayo Clinic warns individuals who are timid, have a negative outlook or habitually avoid risks may have a higher risk for GAD than others.

Trauma can create risk factors for GAD. A messy divorce, the sudden death of a beloved family member or a car crash can trigger anxiety, even years after the event happens. Some studies have also shown anxiety is inheritable – an adolescent with anxious parents is much more likely to become anxious themselves, suggesting in some cases anxiety might be a learned behavior.

Like all other mood disorders, GAD can be dangerous if left untreated. Aside from the severely diminished quality of life GAD causes, it can drive adolescents into substance abuse and other risky behaviors for relief. This combination of disorders, known as a dual diagnosis, can be very difficult to treat.

GAD is usually diagnosed via a mental health screening performed by a primary care provider. After this, anxiety disorders treatment can be sought and the best possible program for the individual can be found.

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

As bad as GAD sounds, it’s also treatable. Sovereign Health’s holistic philosophy of treatment means we make use of both traditional and alternative therapies to help our adolescent patients move past their problems. Psychotherapy teaches our patients new ways of looking at themselves and their surroundings. Group therapy sessions, meanwhile, allow patients to explore their anxieties and fears in the company of peers with the same struggles.

Rancho San Diego’s center for anxiety disorders is a comfortable, pleasant environment in a quiet canyon east of San Diego. Patients have many opportunities for outdoor recreation in the sunny climate as well as yoga, equine therapy and other activities available. It’s also a secure anxiety disorder treatment center with around-the-clock crisis intervention, ensuring our patients are safe and cared for at all times.

Why Choose Sovereign Health For Anxiety Recovery?

At Sovereign, we pride ourselves on being a leading provider of mental health care for adolescents. Here’s why:

  • We treat our patients as individuals – and tailor our effective treatment plans accordingly
  • We use effective, evidence-based treatments in conjunction with alternative therapies
  • Our facility at Rancho San Diego is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest health care accreditation organization
  • We maintain a friendly, camp-like environment for our patients to recover in

A healthier life can start today. Call our 24/7 helpline for more information on our anxiety disorder treatment center.

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"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack

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