Nervousness VS Anxiety

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Anxiety can be treated in many different ways. Lots of the time, it is treated with some type of anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication (Photo courtesy of Annaleisa Wile).

Anxiety and nervousness amongst teens have become very common in the more recent years, but the issue arising is knowing the difference between the two. Anxiety is the abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate.  Anxiety is also doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it. Nervousness is the quality or state of being nervous.

“Anxiety is more of a mental and emotional disorder,” said Brashier English teacher Rosemary Abercrombie.

Anxiety is a psychological disorder that causes you to act a certain way without an immediate way to change yourself. Nervousness can be changed and improved in simple ways of behavior. When you get nervous before a big test and haven’t studied as much as you would like, you could change that habit in the future to provide a less stress-filled environment for yourself. But, if you have test anxiety, this can cause every single test you take to become progressively worse, even if you have prepared yourself. Many people with anxiety struggle with an overwhelming sense of test anxiety. Some students choose to go to other classrooms to take assessments to cope with immense stress. Others may choose different ways of testing, like an instructor reading test questions to them, accepting added help, or even a modified version of the assessment. Nervousness and anxiety are very different and are handled in completely different ways. 

“It is important to learn how to breathe, to have different coping mechanisms, and learn to have different thought processes when dealing with anxiety,” said Brashier counselor Natasha Greene.

Treatments for anxiety are very broad and diverse. Anxiety does not currently have a complete cure. Usually, the disorder goes into a type of remission and will not fully go away. With work in many different ways to fight it, many can mostly overcome it. Anxiety treatments include, but are not limited to, self-care, different types of therapies, medications, therapists, and so much more. These few treatments focus on cutting out toxic habits, such as smoking, drinking, suicidal ideations, self harm, negative thoughts and actions, and many other specific situations. The treatments also teach you to incorporate good habits and ways to handle your anxiety. Just as with nervousness, learning to cut out toxic habits are just as important to improve nervous tendencies. 

Annaleisa Wile
Multiple types of medications can also be prescribed to deal with anxiety as well as nervousness. For nervousness, more herbal medicines can be prescribed (Photo courtesy of Annaleisa Wile).

Currently, 45% of teens say that they are stressed. In the most recent generations, teens have become more and more stressed. For many teenagers, this stress has resulted in an increase in anxiety, panic attacks, and nervousness. The problem is very visible in teens in high achieving areas like school. Some causes of stress in schools are social stressors, expectations from teachers, overscheduling, not enough sleep, and mismatching teaching styles. For all of these reasons, teens are more stressed now than ever before. 

With anxiety and nervousness, there are many long term effects, including increased stress hormones, breathing and respiratory changes, faster heart rate, impaired immune function, changes in digestion, etc. Without treatment, many of these side effects can strengthen. 

“There’s more problems for young people to face these days. There’s more peer pressure, bullying and the internet that they can attribute to anxiety,” added Abercrombie.

Many teens deal with anxiety currently and many adults have an issue with helping them to the best of their abilities. Many adults are not aware of the triggers and symptoms that come with anxiety. Adults may even choose to punish a teen with anxiety because of their outward behavior even though they cannot help it. There are many resources for parents and teens struggling with anxiety, including family therapies, support groups, one’s own church and personal faith, and so much more. Another option to consider is, online counseling which can create a less stressful and less forced atmosphere for the teen in need. 

“[I believe] if you pray and ask a higher power to take this anxiety or nervousness away from you, then it will go away,” added Abercrombie.

Unfortunately, some teens do not have the ability to go through the processes of counseling or get help as needed. Under the age of 18, in most states, you must have permission from a parent permitting you to seek help. Many parents restrict their children from seeing health professionals for this illness because of the stigma against getting medical attention. So, what resources can teens use without the permission of parents to help their anxiety? Teens can always use school-related resources such as counselors, nurses, and other administrators. They can also use online techniques to relieve some anxiety when needed. Other options for teens are seeking help through friends, family, church or faith leaders, and so much more. 

“Teenage anxiety and stress in school is real,” said Brashier counselor Glenn Wile. “It is important that as parents and teachers we recognize the warning signs in children and support them by seeking the resources available. Together we can help students to cope with their fears and learn strategies in order to feel better and be even more successful.” With this stress, anxiety and nervousness teens must learn to not downplay or over dramatize their emotions but, learn to cope with how they feel for a better future.