Angst: How Teenagers Are Handling Their Anxiety

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Nina Schultz

Slider image by Nina Schultz.

One in three adolescents deals with anxiety. Currently, anxiety is the leading mental health issue among American teens. A big cause of anxiety amongst teens is not only schoolwork but also social media. Other causes of anxiety are puberty, family problems, and gun violence. A new movie titled “Angst”, co-directed by Matt Skerritt and Stephanie Riggs and produced by IndieFlix Foundation,  recently came out, trying to spread the word about anxiety and how people, specifically young teens, can cope with their own anxiety. But what can we further do to decrease the amount of anxiety teens have today?

“Angst” spreads the word about anxiety and how to cope with it. Photo by Nina Schultz.

Many people do not know they have anxiety until they experience unusual symptoms. Some symptoms include dizziness, sweating, hyperventilation, and sometimes nausea. But with the help of modern technology and Google, “most people search their symptoms at some point,” says clinical psychologist Thomas Fergus in an interview for the Washington Post. Fergus adds that in everyone’s life they will have moments where they are anxious, but the “intensity and the severity” makes it a problem. Although one might think they have the symptoms of anxiety, it is a good idea to go to the doctor so they can check. Then they can prescribe the correct medications for anxiety as needed. But sometimes when people go to doctors when having certain symptoms, they are wrongly diagnosed.

Nadia Tasher has dealt with this firsthand. Tasher was suffering from symptoms like rashes, weight loss, and fatigue. Tasher then went to the doctor, was diagnosed with anxiety, and was given multiple prescriptions to deal with it. But Tasher “knew it wasn’t anxiety because when I’d suffered from it before when I was younger, it was completely different,” she said to Cosmopolitan. Tasher then had multiple blood tests done, and was diagnosed with severe lupus, an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks tissue. Although Tasher did not end up having anxiety, it is still important to inform teenagers about anxiety, because they may have anxiety and not even know it.  

At Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy the Upper School students recently watched the movie “Angst.” “Angst” is a documentary about mental health experts discussing the causes of anxiety, and what sociological effects anxiety has on people. The filmmakers’ goal of the movie is to “raise awareness around anxiety.” However, junior Leah Anderson claimed that although it was an interesting movie, “no teachers are taking action on how to decrease anxiety amongst students”.  

There are many ways students can deal with their anxiety when it comes to school and homework. One way is to focus on deep breathing. Slowing down one’s breathing helps relax the brain. Another way for teens to decrease their anxiety is to stay healthy. Not only physically but mentally. For example, staying off of social media is effective for many teens. Although social media can be used in many beneficial ways, many teens tend to form insecurity and a poor self esteem based on what they are viewing and who they are following. Social media can also cause jealousy, and depression, and by staying off of it may help the mental health of teens.

Social media can lead to anxiety. Photo by Jared Schultz.

In all, anxiety in teens is a rising problem that needs to be dealt with, and it needs to be destigmatized. The movie “Angst” is one way that we have began to denounce the negative aspects of anxiety. Adults and teenagers alike often suffer from undiagnosed anxiety, and the first step to fighting it is raising awareness.