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Expert advice

09th Feb 2024

Symptoms of anxiety in young people to look out for and what we can do about it as parents

Sophie Collins


A bit of anxiety from time to time is normal, especially for teenagers who are going through many hormonal changes.

When it’s not a common occurrence, a little bit of anxiety can help with motivation at school, in sport and at work.

However, if anxious feelings don’t go away they can seriously interfere with a young person’s ability to concentrate at school, socialise with friends and just generally enjoy life.

The HSE outlines 12 signs of anxiety in teenagers for parents to look out for, as well as what to do if you think it’s a serious problem.

There are many symptoms of anxiety

You may:

  • feel irritable, argumentative or always in a bad mood
  • feel worried all the time that something bad will happen
  • need to be told all the time that everything will be okay
  • be upset with mistakes or changes to your routine
  • feel the need to be perfect
  • have difficulty concentrating
  • have a dry mouth or difficulty swallowing
  • have problems sleeping
  • get headaches or tense muscles
  • be restless
  • have a rapid heart rate
  • feel sick or have diarrhoea

If you experience more than 1 of these symptoms over a couple of weeks, you may need some extra support. You should also get help if it affects your day-to-day life.

If, as a parent, you feel it’s serious, what should you do?

If anxiety begins to take over your life, talk to your GP.

They can refer you to a professional who can treat your anxiety.

Many different forms of therapy are used to successfully treat anxiety. This includes cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT helps people to learn about their anxiety. Through this process, they can learn to manage it.