Youth Anxiety Center
Advancing the Understanding and Treatment of Anxiety in Teens and Young Adults
Frequently asked questions from Youths with Anxiety
It is important to understand that feeling anxious is a normal emotion and that we all experience feeling anxious at some point in our life. Experiencing anxiety isn’t always negative and can be positive. For example, it can prevent you from doing something dangerous and motivate you to do something you need to do such as homework. If your anxiety interferes with your daily activities in a negative way, causing you to avoid situations, things, people, or places, then you should seek advice on what to do.
Remember that caring for your mental health is as essential as caring for your physical health. Like physical health, some mental health conditions are temporary and easy to treat, while others are more complex or serious. Seeking care early to treat anxiety is an important first step to improving your mental health.
Who should I talk to if I’m concerned about my mental health?
If you are feeling anxious, fearful, or worried on a regular or daily basis, remember you are not alone. Anxiety is one of the most common health issues in children and young adults today. You should share your thoughts or concerns with someone as early as possible. It can be your parents or another adult you feel you can trust and talk to openly.
How do I know if what I’m feeling is just a stage?
If you are experiencing frequent or long-lasting severe mood swings, excessive fears or worries, the inability to concentrate, extreme behavior changes, disturbing physical changes, or self-harm, you should seek the advice of a professional.
When should I seek treatment?
You should seek professional help if your emotions or feelings of anxiety are negatively impacting your ability to function normally at home, school, or other places in the community. Mood swings are normal for all of us but should not be to the point where they are affecting you daily.
How do I know if my therapist is a good match for me?
When you go in for your consultation or your appointments with your therapist, you may be hesitant or anxious to speak openly at first. However, as time goes on, you should feel more and more comfortable talking with them and asking questions. For some people, this takes just a few minutes but for others, it could take a few sessions. Your therapist will be experienced in helping you identify things that are on your mind and will answer as many questions you may have or feel necessary. It’s also important that there are no language or cultural barriers, and that your therapist can schedule appointments when you are available. If you do not feel comfortable with your therapist for any of these reasons, it is perfectly okay to ask for another therapist to help you treat your anxiety.
How long should I be in treatment?
The length of time you will need treatment will de¬pend on the severity of your symptoms, the degree to which you have been unable to comfortably do things that are meaningful and important to you, and the pace of im¬provement you are experiencing. You may start to feel better and see results quickly, or it may take some time and require some patience. Remember to be good to yourself and take the time you need to heal because your mental health is as important as your physical health.
Should I talk to my friends, family, or teachers about going to treatment?
First, you need to know that there is no shame in seeking treatment for any anxious feelings you may be having, or any concerns about your mental health. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Secondly, whether you want to share information about your treatment with others is totally up to you. It all depends on how you feel. If you would like to keep this information to yourself, that is your decision which should be respected.
NewYork-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center