Understanding my teenager through anxiety


Strathmore University’s wellness team, in the People and Culture Department, dedicated the month of May 2023 to raising awareness about mental health, with a particular focus on anxiety. Through their webinar series, titled “The Mental Health Series on Anxiety,” the team aims to educate individuals on various aspects of anxiety and its impact on people’s lives. On May 30, 2023, the team conducted a meeting specifically addressing anxiety in teenagers and provided guidance on understanding and managing their experiences with anxiety.

Despite the prevalence and profound impact of anxiety on individuals, it is often overlooked and underestimated, resulting in many individuals being unable to seek the help they desperately need. The wellness team, led by Rehab Nancy Mukami, highlights the symptoms of anxiety, including irritability, sleep disruption, muscle tension, and feelings of unease, among others. They emphasize that anxiety can affect people from all walks of life and individuals of all ages.

Recognizing the significance of understanding anxiety in teenagers, the wellness team underscores the unique challenges that adolescents face during their transformative years, both physically and emotionally. Teenagers often grapple with the complexities of identity development and encounter numerous challenges that can contribute to anxiety.

Rehab Nancy Mukami, a therapist from BNM safe zone counseling, explains that anxiety in teenagers can manifest in various ways. These manifestations may include self-isolation where they withdraw from social groups and prefer solitude, irritability which is characterized by heightened sensitivity to the slightest interactions leading to annoyance and agitation, becoming stuck on a task, or experiencing angry outbursts and tantrums where the teenager is struggling to regulate their emotions and may react with an intense display of frustration and anger.

The therapist identifies several potential factors that can contribute to anxiety in teenagers. These include sleep deprivation, which can lead to the release of stress-related hormones and cause headaches that can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Childhood traumas can also play a role, as past negative experiences can be triggered by certain situations, creating anxiety in the present. Additionally, the ongoing development of the teenage brain can make them more susceptible to experiencing anxiety. Other factors such as depression and hormonal changes are also recognized as potential causes of anxiety in teenagers.

She mentioned that anxiety can be transmitted from parents to their teenagers, especially if the parents exhibit over-controlling and demanding tendencies. In such cases, parents may find themselves pushing their teenagers too hard, expecting perfection in every aspect of their lives, without realizing that perfection is an illusion, according to the speaker.

The wellness team believes that every disorder necessitates specific treatment and coping mechanisms, advocating for psychotherapy as a healthy and effective approach. According to Rehab, some individuals facing these challenges may resort to unhealthy behaviors like drug abuse, violence, or isolation in search of solace. The counselor suggests that patients should consider engaging in breathing techniques, pursuing hobbies, learning to play a musical instrument, or adopting various coping mechanisms to manage anxiety. By incorporating these strategies, individuals can develop healthier ways of addressing and alleviating their anxiety.

By shedding light on teenage anxiety, the team aims to provide valuable insights and support to teenagers as well as to those who regularly interact with them. By doing so, they actively work towards dismantling the stigma associated with anxiety and motivate individuals to seek the necessary help and support they may require. In this regard, the team serves as a positive role model for other institutions, actively promoting awareness, empowering individuals, and effectively addressing mental health challenges. Through their efforts, they contribute to the creation of a more compassionate and understanding society as a whole.

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu


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