Thursday, 4 August 2016

high anxiety

There is an anxiety epidemic afoot and people born after 1980 are particularly prone to suffer from it. It currently plagues my 16 year old son.

Anxiety tends to manifest itself around the age of puberty and, if not treated, risks not going away. One issue might be social media with the increased peer pressure to be connected and to be seen to look good combined with the speed at which our world runs today. Whatever the combination of reasons, anxiety disorders are now among the most common mental health conditions affecting the young.

One of my concerns has been over medicating because ultimately this is about learning to control your fear and training the brain. Currently my son is on a drug called Celexa (Citalopram) which he takes every day in order to be able to function.

We were told by the staff that high school that kids suffer from anxiety at a rate of 1 in 4 which is a very high number. This can vary from throwing up before class to not being able to stay in the classroom at all and pacing the halls (which is what happened to my son in his freshman year). He had to repeat the year due to class time lost.

Our world is getting smaller and moving ever faster and that’s not helping matters but I also know that being in a teen during any period of our history is not an easy thing. As brain development flows from the hippocampus towards the frontal lobe we learn to rely more on lived experience than our instinct but that requires time. I tell my son this so he understands his brain development is not complete therefore his capacity to fight is impaired and that he is not alone.

I remember my father giving me advice when I was that age and not being able to process it all but it stayed with me regardless and guides me today. I can only hope that some of my own advice sinks in along with the help of the medication and he is able to overcome this challenge.

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