Teen Anxiety Attacks – Is Your Teenager Having Attacks?

Your Teenager Can Suffer From Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Teen anxiety attacks are more common than you may realize. Many parents see their teen behave in a way that bothers them and wonder “what has gotten into them”.

Teenagers have stress in their lives just like adults do.

Do you remember what it was like to feel embarrassed, awkward or scared or even afraid to go to school for fear of ridicule or pressure of some degree? (Either an exam or just rotten kids bullying?)

This causes some teens to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks just like adults…but their panic attacks might be a bit different than that of an adult. It is important to know what some of the signs of anxiety or depression might be.

Teen Anxiety Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes your child may be having problems with anxiety and you won’t even know it because it may come out as anger or tears instead. Remember that kids don’t exactly know what’s going on in their minds…they may be confused and upset that they feel the way they do.

They don’t know how to tell you what they are feeling because they don’t really know themselves! Plus…“How would you know anyway?! You just don’t understand!” That’s why a teen anxiety attack can be so hard to spot. After all…why don’t they just learn to grow up.

If you think that your teenager is suffering from anxiety attacks or even feelings of depression, you should start looking for the tell-tale signs and symptoms. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pains in the chest or irregular heartbeats
  • Stomach ache (I suffered/suffer with these badly)
  • Sweating, shivering when it isn’t cold
  • Excessive shaking when upset
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Teary and wanting to sleep but often not able to.

Treatments or Remedies

If you notice your teenager suffering or showing signs of anxiety or experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, the best thing you can do is show support and love them!

Don’t assume they know…tell them and show with your actions! They feel very alone and don’t think you understand them.

  • They are frightened and need you more than ever.

They need help and from someone who experienced anxiety as a teen…knowing you care is what they need. As a teen I was withdrawn and frightened. I had never heard of “anxiety attacks”. I was always called a panic merchant and to stop being so shy and silly. I do not blame my parents at all…but I wish they had of known what was wrong with me, so I knew myself.

Traditional treatments are therapy and medication. I am all for therapy. If your teen can relate to their therapist that is awesome! If they do not…take them to another one. I have talked to many adults and they have had good therapists they can relate to and some they can’t…so they find another one.

  • A therapist should understand if their patient is getting the right help from them.

As for medications, well I am not a doctor…just a person who understands what it is like to suffer with anxiety daily. I have never taken prescription medications and I have been able to manage my symptoms through natural homeopathic formulas.

I do have friends that are on medications for serious anxiety disorders (bipolar and mixed bipolar) and I know they could not live without their medications. However they are well aware of the side effects and what these drugs are doing to their health. Some of my friends have also learned to find relief through online help programs.

  • Therefore if your doctor or health care professional prescribes any medication, ask them what the potential side effects are.

Remember your teen is experiencing many changes hormonally so it is not uncommon for your teen to have moods. What is their diet like? Do not underestimate the critical impact that a poor diet has on anxiety and mood levels. Beware of excessive sugar intake especially in rapid uptake form such as soft drinks.

Do they sleep properly, exercise and eat healthy foods? Are they getting the right foods, vitamins and minerals to make sure their dopamine and serotonin levels are balanced?

As a parent, offer support and find a therapist that works well with your child…and hopefully with a healthy lifestyle, medication won’t be necessary.

Please note these are my thoughts. If your doctor advises differently then they know your child’s history and situation…I do not. I am however here to talk to if you wish…and I honestly know how your teen may be feeling right now, albeit a long time ago…


Affiliate Disclosure

My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!

About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.


  1. i have a thirteen year old daughter thats struggling in school and life as a teenager in general. she’s been seeing a therapist for 2 months now a month ago the doctor put her on lamictal thinking this would help her mood swings and 4 days later her doctor took her off beings she was having side effects. then she went to see the her gyn to see if her mood swings would be caused by her hormones,well her gyn put her on birth control pills to see if that would help her mood swings. its been almost a month on the bc pills and she’s still seems irritable alot at times waking up crying . my heart goes out to her and i’m so worried that im missing something.PLEASE COMMENT BACK

    • Jennifer Johnson says

      Hi Pam,

      I will always comment back…I promise. Firstly I have rewritten this article (as I wrote it years ago and I was embarrassed by its triteness…so I urge you to read it again.)

      My heart goes out to your daughter too, as I remember all to well those anxiety-filled teen years. I mention in my article about offering love and support and I was so happy to read the urgency for help in your comment…so I know you are doing that.

      As I wrote in my article, I am not a doctor, so I cannot advise you on anything as I am not legally able to.

      However I am happy to share my opinion and own results and findings.

      I urge you to look at 5 things. Diet, exercise, vitamins, minerals and sleep pattern.

      A healthy diet, is a healthy mind and body. Exercise is a healthy mind and body…and stimulates the “happy hormones”.

      Vitamins and minerals keep everything in balance and sleep is so important to anyone with anxiety.

      There are so many things I want to say…although I have written many articles about all the things I do want to say.

      For example, has the therapist or doctor mentioned to keep a journal to pin point your daughter’s triggers?

      I suggest (and again it isn’t me that has “made this up” it is a tool many anxiety sufferers use) that you have your daughter (or you) write down everything in a journal. Find out what is causing her problem. Is it a person? Is it a food? Is it a place? Is it a smell…perfume, after-shave…etc. This may sound strange, but the smallest of things can be the cause.

      However just going to school and being around lots of school kids can be one huge trigger…as for me.

      So perhaps I have given you a few ideas of how some anxiety sufferers try to manage their symptoms naturally.

      I hope you understand that from my perspective I am not trying to diminish any possible cause or any possible solution. There are always some things which are beyond our control but there are many, possibly most, that we do have some influence over. My goal is to encourage you to focus on the areas that you can control or at least influence.

      This will give the greatest benefit to both you and your daughter.


  2. Hi,
    I to know what ut feels like to suffer anxiety attacks as a teenager….i did the healthy alternative…..the only thing that helped me was prayer…..constant prayer…..God will relief you from the anxiety hand it to him!!….God be with youxx

    • Jennifer Johnson says

      Thanks Dee for sharing and caring.

    • I am sad to hear of your child having problems with panic and anxiety. This is a difficult thing to deal with as an adult much less as a teen-ager when pressures come from all directions. I suffered from teen-age nerves that came out as an eating disorder. Ask her to try to take a deep breath in thru the nose out thru the mouth and while she is doing this think of something good in her life, or something funny that has happened does not matter when it happen just something positive. We are creatures of habit and if she keeps doing this it will help her brain train back on a positive track. My prayers are with you. angie d. xoxoxo

  3. Sarah Edmondson says

    I have a 20 year old daughter who suffers with anxiety and has done for many years. She is extremely bright and socially outgoing but does not seem to be able to accept that things do not always go as one would either expect or want in life and this is then when she starts to fall apart. All through school it became obvious that she could not tolerate being told off (and I have to say that this happened very rarely) but when she was it became (to her) a major crisis and caused her to believe at the time she was failing at that particular subject and that the teacher was “picking on her”.

    Despite this, she came out of school with excellent results and has now started at a top UK university studying Adult Nursing. With regard to this, she has recently been on her first placement on a hospital ward and one day came across a rather cantankerous elderly gentleman who would not do as she asked and started to abuse her verbally. She quite rightly called in her nursing mentor who managed to calm the gentleman and told her that she had done the right thing. Despite this, she came on to me in tears and has since now said she doesn’t look forward to attending each day. I have tried to reassure her that these things will happen and that she should try not to take it personally but she doesn’t seem to take this on board.

    I know it’s very difficult when you are anxious to see that perhaps things aren’t as bad as you think but it has got to the stage where I don’t know how to help her any more. She has had various counselling courses for this (although these have been very sporadic and are very difficult to get on to here in the UK) and has even recently been seeing a university counsellor for a few sessions which she says did help.

    I am concerned that she is going to start alienating those around her who do try to help as to those who don’t properly understand it can seem like, “oh, here we go again, Lucy’s moaning over nothing.” Even to me, her mother, I am starting to feel that way and have begun to dread her phone calls home (by the way she only lives on campus about 10 miles away, so I see her fairly regularly) as I feel that anything I say to her comes across as being trite and she very soon gets angry.

    I have found it increasingly impossible to find anyone who can talk to me about helping her because of her age and patient confidentiality and feel now that possibly I should just let her “get on with it” and try to sort herself out. I feel increasingly frustrated and can at times let that show in my conversations with her, but I know when this happens that we fall out and that doesn’t help anyone. Apologies for the long winded email but this really is just a snapshot of what has been going on for perhaps 12 years and I would appreciate any advice you could give.

    • Jennifer Johnson says

      Hi Sarah,

      I feel I can offer some insight that can help you as I can very readily identify with your daughter’s circumstances and behaviors.

      Looking back, my symptoms and behaviors have been very similar to hers. I am not socially outgoing at all, but to many of my friends and family they argue that I am. I suppose it is all about keeping up appearances.

      However there are two suffers here…I can feel your pain. The first thing to recognize (and on some levels I am sure you already have) is that there is no simple magic fix especially that you can deliver in words of wisdom.

      For years my own mother would try to help me or offer advice (even when I didn’t know what was wrong with me) and I felt she didn’t understand or trivialized my responses. The problem was, she didn’t understand and couldn’t, therefore her help was unhelpful and unappreciated.

      Today she does try to understand, but I know she too probably thinks “here we go again” as I can feel myself still wanting to protect myself and trying to justify my actions. I know and wish I could change that behavior, but when you are feeling this way, it is hard not to show frustration.

      The greatest advice I can give you is to not try to help per se, but to just be there for her. Be understanding without necessarily offering solutions.

      While this may make you feel in the short term that it is not resolving the problem, it is the quiet stabilizing support that your daughter needs right now.

      My husband gives me exactly that. He understands, he supports, he never judges me and he just shows me love.

      You can’t be her savior but you can be her rock. Over time as you seek less to offer solutions and resolutions acceptance will be easier for you and she will learn she can come to you for non-judgmental support.

      What your daughter is silently crying out for (in my opinion) is emotional trust. Even though her emotions may appear irrational even to herself at times, she needs the security of being able to trust the stability of your emotions. The extent that you can contribute this without hurting your own emotions will be the measure of your real assistance to your daughter’s anxiety.

      I have no psychology degree to support my explanations, they are purely based on my own experience and from observing similar behaviors in others. In some way I hope my words can help you.

      I am always here for you to converse with Sarah. So comment (anywhere on my website) as often as you would like. ~ Jennifer

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