Does society have an impact on the cause of anxiety disorder in teenagers?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that with any condition, it is important to make sure that its complexity and intricate nature is not reduced to one single element. Having said that, I think that society does and can have an impact on the development of anxiety disorders in children and teenagers. The adolescent spends much energy in focusing on the conditions in the world and hearing about so much that exists in the world could very well be a trigger for the anxiety disorder within them. Consider that the disorder "often begins in the childhood years even though the symptoms may not become clearly noticeable until late adolescence or the early adult years." This means that social absorption of worry and anxiety can help to trigger and cause its manifestation in teenagers. It has been noted that "about half of all patients diagnosed with the disorder report that their worrying began in childhood or their teenage years." The constant barage of news and external reality that help to bring out the onslaught of worry and anxiety are magnified in the teenage years, a time when doubt and insecurity are already at unparalleled levels. The threats of the world, brought about in stark and repeated reality through 24 hour news cycles, the blogosphere and the internet can develop these conditions at an even more rapid pace. For example, the threats of terrorism and economic crisis are present and repeated in different forums. A teenager who is on the edge in terms of dealing with anxiety disorder can find themselves absorbing even more worry because of what is being transmitted in the realm of society. It is in this where I think that society does have an impact on the cause and trigger of anxiety disorder in teens.

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