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It’s the Season for Final Exams, Proms, and College Entry Notifications

Not surprisingly, anxiety disorders in children and adolescents are on the rise.
LiveWell Counseling can help!

To Matthew, a straight-A honor student, a test score of 98 is not good enough. Anything less than 100 causes the 15-year-old to worry, resulting in stomach pain and nausea. Matthew is not unusual: One in eight American children and adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder. It’s no wonder that this time of year can be especially stressful, with final exams, proms, and college-entry notifications approaching.

“Anxiety disorders are more prevalent than any other mental-health disorder among children and adolescents,” said Susan Barrett, LCSW, a therapist who treats many children, adolescents, and young adults at LiveWell Counseling (CHCCC). “Considering social and academic pressures faced by today’s youth, it’s not surprising. Standardized testing, sports, peer pressure, and the Internet can all cause high levels of anxiety.”

There are several types of anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder causes excessive worry about grades, relationships, performance in sports, etc. Panic Disorder results in frequent episodes of debilitating anxiety arising without cause. Social Anxiety Disorder is an intense fear of social situations and activities, such as being called upon in a class or starting a
conversation. Separation Anxiety occurs when a youth experiences excessive anxiety away from home or when separated from parents or caregivers.

“Anxiety disorders can have physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms,” Mrs. Barrett said. “Physical symptoms include rapid heart rate, dizziness, stomach pain, nausea, muscle aches, and sleep disturbances. Psychological symptoms include racing thoughts, unrealistic fears and worries, and anger. Behavioral symptoms include distress in social situations, obsessive/compulsive actions, and an increase in alcohol and/or drug use.
When anxiety impedes daily functioning, professional intervention may be necessary. CHCCC provides outpatient treatment for children and adolescents, as well as adults, seniors, and families. Following an assessment, an individualized treatment plan is developed. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one therapeutic modality that has proven to be very effective. Through CBT, youngsters learn skills and techniques to help reduce anxiety. Some youth may also require medication to alleviate disruptive symptoms that can interfere with daily life.

Group therapy is also a beneficial form of treatment. Sitting and connecting with others who have similar challenges and receiving new ideas can be so powerful for participants.

“It can be a relief to hear others discuss what they are going through so they realize they are not alone,” said Bart Mongiello, LCSW, CHCCC Director. “Members are equally empowered to be part of the conversation and ultimately be part of each person’s recovery.”
For more information about LiveWell Counseling and the full range of mental-health programming at Christian Health (CHCC), call Karen Hockstein at (201) 848-4463, email, or visit

CHCC provides a broad continuum of high-quality, compassionate care, offering superior senior-life, short-term rehab, and mental-health services. As a non-profit organization, we deliver person- and family- centered care to our community based upon the Christian principles on which we were founded more than a century ago.