March 15


Developing teen brains are vulnerable to anxiety – but treatment can help

By Margaret

More than 30 percent of teens are thought to suffer from an anxiety disorder, prompting developmental neuroscientists to take a growing interest in precisely why the teenaged brain is so susceptible to anxiety that is chronic and pervasive enough to interfere with everyday life. Part of the problem is that the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala — connections that help keep emotions like fear in check — tend to be fairly slow-growing. Unfortunately, almost 80 percent of teens with anxiety disorders do not get treatment, despite the existence of multiple effective avenues of treatment.

Key Takeaways:

  • The life stage where mental illnesses are most likely to occur is at adolescence and it is estimated that 30 percent of teens are burdened with an anxiety disorder.
  • The statistics show that almost a third of American teens have anxiety disorders and every year a fifth of the adult population experiences anxiety disorders.
  • The film, Eighth Grade, uses a relatable character to show how anxiety disorders are impacting teenagers, and how they really look and feel.

“Kayla is the anxious teen protagonist in the recent movie “Eighth Grade.” From the acne peeking out through her makeup to the frequent “likes” that punctuate her speech, she seems to be a quintessentially awkward teen. Inside her mind, though, the realities of social anxiety meet the typical storm and stress of adolescence.”

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