Why Is Anxiety Common In Youth

Youth anxiety has been on the rise in this day and age. The particular feeling, that stirs up worry, fear and dread, is commonplace within the community of children and teenagers.


While anxiety is a normal, even useful, feeling in some situations, being anxious for extended periods is not healthy. It has been linked with many internalized disorders, phobias and depression. Dealing with anxiety in children and teens is a critical issue.


Hence the team at Ottawa Youth Counselling would like you to know why youth anxiety is so common.


Adolescent Development

youth anxiety in school

As children grow into teenagers and into adults, their bodies are flooded with the necessary hormones to facilitate that growth.


The amount of hormones within their bodies fluctuates wildly, moving from a mild ebb one moment to a veritable torrent in another.


These rapidly changing hormone levels cause mood swings that can’t be controlled and anxiety is a common feature of these surges.



When boys are flooded with testosterone and girls are struggling with menstruation hormones, stress and anxiety are expected.


Changes In Brain Chemistry


As hormones change their bodies, the brains of the youth are also undergoing rapid development. This time in their life also coincides with the time in their lives when they are expected to take on more responsibilities.


Without the skills or experience necessary to handle this increased independence and extra responsibilities, teenagers will fumble and become frustrated. This leads to youth anxiety. 

Parental Expectations


As the youth grow and develop, they begin to take on pursuits that their parents do not like or want. This might be smaller issues like taste in music and clothing or it could be relationships with people they do not like.


Teenagers would want parental approval but they also want to pursue the goals and ideals they consider important. Falling short of their parent’s expectations or even entering into conflict with them can lead to anxiety.

Social Media


The proliferation of internet connectivity via apps like Instagram and Twitter has created social communities online where people can find and connect with each other. An unfortunate side effect of this connectivity is that the youth are given more reasons to feel anxious.

youth anxiety online


Many of the images and videos shared via social media apps paint a picture of affluence and elegance that is unattainable for the average youth.


Even if a good number of these media portray a false ideal, the damage they have on the psyche of kids and teenagers is real.


Youth anxiety has been linked to issues like body image problems and lifestyle comparisons.



Social media also facilitates malicious actions like harassment, cyberbullying and stalking. There are many available exploits and features that allow users to maintain anonymity and perpetrate these actions. This can lead to issues like anxiety and other mental health problems.


Peer Pressure


The friends and social groups teens are a part of form a crucial part of their development. The shared interests and activities help them forge interpersonal and relationship skills that they need in their adult years.


However, the need to fit in with their peers and stay connected with them can create anxiety in children and teens. If their friends are excelling in classes, participating in school sports, and applying for jobs and good universities, this puts pressure on the youth to try their best to keep up. Any slipups or setbacks can lead to fear, worry and anxiety.


On the flip side, peers can also induce each other in a negative way. Friends can pressure each other into alcohol and drug abuse, shoplifting, and other behaviours that teenagers should not be involved in. Fear and anxiety can develop in situations like these.


Ottawa Youth Counselling – Here To Listen and Here To Help


The many demands and pressures of teenage life can lead to youth anxiety. If not handled properly, youth anxiety can lead to many mental health challenges later in life.
Please contact us if need counselling services. At Ottawa Youth Counselling, we pride ourselves on our accessible approach to providing the necessary advice and guidance.  We are a resource to the youth to let them know they are not alone in their struggles and that their burdens can be lightened. Our dedicated counsellors are always available to help the healing begin.