Adolescent Anxiety & Depression

Table of Contents

Michelle Barratt Psychology is a Toowong and Redland Bay / Wynnum – Manly Clinical Psychology Practice, and aims to provide treatment for Adolescent Anxiety & Depression in Brisbane at the highest standard. The practice values implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support all children and adolescents feel safe, heard and understood, but also strives to offer effective treatment that will empower clients to learn new skills to support them in the future. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don’t hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.


Adolescents grappling with anxiety or depression often face significant challenges. In Brisbane, seeking an anxiety psychologist is pivotal in addressing these issues. Anxiety and depression in teenagers, stemming from various causes such as feeling threatened, experiencing conflict, or feeling helpless, can profoundly affect their mental well-being. These conditions can severely limit an adolescent’s capacity to form robust, secure relationships with peers, impair their social skills, and diminish their self-esteem and confidence. Specifically, teenage anxiety may lead to decreased concentration, impaired memory, and heightened stress, contributing to school avoidance. This underscores the importance of Anxiety Therapy for adolescents, providing essential support in these critical years.

Effective psychological interventions, including understanding anxiety triggers, along with therapeutic approaches like play therapy, role-playing, and imaginal and exposure therapy, are instrumental in helping teenagers manage and alleviate anxiety. Prompt, professional assistance is crucial upon noticing signs of teenage anxiety or depression. Anxiety manifests in various forms, including behavioural, cognitive, and physical symptoms.

Furthermore, anxiety’s impact on a child’s social interactions is significant, affecting their ability to make friends and feel validated as important individuals. Every parent aspires for their child to thrive—healthy, confident, strong, and content. This is where the guidance of an anxiety psychologist in Brisbane becomes invaluable. Through tailored psychological treatments, such as understanding and addressing the roots of anxiety and employing strategies like play therapy, role-playing, and exposure therapy, children can learn to manage their anxiety effectively. For adults, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is another practical approach to tackling anxiety. Addressing any signs of anxiety promptly is vital for the mental well-being of both children and adults.

Some signs of anxiety from three different parts of our functioning:

  • Behavioural Symptoms
  • Cognitive Symptoms
  • Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Shaking/trembling
  • DizzinessTachycardia, rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands or legs
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Nail biting

Impact of Anxiety

  • Agitation/restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Pressured speech
  • Fidgeting with ones hands
  • Avoidance of feared situations or objects

Cognitive symptoms of anxiety

  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mind going blank
  • Recurrent thoughts

Adolescent Depression

Research reveals that a significant number of adolescents, some as young as 6 or 7 years old, experience depression and anxiety, conditions that don’t develop suddenly but rather insidiously over time. As a parent, you might notice your once cheerful and active child becoming a sad, withdrawn, and disorganised teenager, showing signs of teenage depression and anxiety. These conditions can be challenging to identify, as adolescents are often naturally withdrawn and prefer solitude, such as staying in their room or eating alone. However, parents must be vigilant and seek the help of an anxiety psychologist in Brisbane if they observe a substantial change in their child’s behaviour.

In children and adolescents, symptoms of depression and anxiety can manifest as a lack of self-worth, poor decision-making in school or social settings, changes in sleeping patterns like difficulty falling or staying asleep, changes in appetite, significant weight loss or gain, and fluctuating emotions including pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability, and anxiety. Other indicators include appetite changes, variable emotions throughout the day, a diminished capacity to enjoy activities they once loved, withdrawal from hobbies and social interactions, and decreased pain tolerance. Additionally, they might exhibit poor concentration, reduced motivation, low energy, social impairment, and references to death or suicide.

If you notice any of these signs, particularly thoughts or expressions related to self-harm or suicide, it is imperative to promptly seek professional support, such as consulting with an anxiety psychologist in Brisbane. Remember, early intervention and therapy can significantly help adolescents navigate these challenging mental health issues.

How an Anxiety Psychologist Brisbane Can Help

Psychological therapy for children and adolescents in Brisbane, mainly when the young person is open to seeking help, has proven effective in fostering self-awareness and understanding. Teenagers often need a platform to express their emotions and accept that certain life situations or behaviours may harm their well-being. They can explore their thoughts and feelings in this safe, non-judgmental environment. Given the unprecedented external stressors and pressures facing today’s youth, having access to a trustworthy and confidential anxiety psychologist in Brisbane can be invaluable. This therapeutic space allows them to build confidence, understand their needs better, and develop coping strategies that enhance their overall functioning and self-esteem.

Psychologists work with teenagers on various aspects such as problem-solving, time management, social, organisational, and communication skills. The goal is to enhance these skills, making them as effective as possible in teenagers’ lives.

If you’re concerned that your teenager may need additional support, including for issues like depression, anxiety, ADHD, or self-harming behaviours, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contacting an experienced anxiety psychologist in Brisbane can be a crucial step. You can call or use the contact form below to arrange a Parent Appointment. This meeting can help you understand the best support for your child or provide advice on the following steps to support your teenager.

Author: Michelle Barratt

Anxiety and depression in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) manifest from a young age and are typified by severe and pervasive impairment in social interaction, impairment in both verbal and nonverbal communication and often include stereotypical behaviours, interests, and

Often present is the development of secondary mood disorders, notably anxiety disorders and/or depression. Also identified in this population is an overrepresentation of drug and alcohol abuse, obsessive-compulsive symptomology, impulsivity, fixation on
death themes, suicidal ideation, and suicide.

Why is anxiety common in this population?

Anxiety, in particular social anxiety, is very common in adolescents with ASD. Contributing factors may include an inability to fathom the intentions, desires, and unpredictable behaviours of others.

Social interaction typically follows a recognised sequence of behaviours including reciprocal eye gaze, approaching the person, offering a greeting/comment/smile, engaging in conversation, and finally, interpreting the signal to conclude the interaction. Failure to master step one (eye contact) is common with ASD individuals as they typically testify that eye contact interferes with concentration and furthermore, they struggle to understand that facial expression; notably the eyes, convey vital information on the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

Human beings continuously and instinctively predict, infer, and interpret other people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions by picking up on subtle signals that may suggest acceptance or rejection. We intuitively interpret complex distinctions in facial expression such as a smile, a frown, a raised eyebrow, or an averted gaze from a surprisingly young age. ASD individuals, however, are typically confused by these various nonverbal signals and struggle with “reading” or sensing the motivations, intentions, and behaviours of others. This inability to comprehend social interaction may in turn, intensify a pre-existing sense of confusion, thus contributing to an increase in the presentation of anxiety experienced by the ASD adolescent.

Why is depression common in this population?

Depression has long been associated with autism spectrum disorders. Contributing factors may include (but are not limited to) social skill deficits, unfavourable life events (e.g., neglect, abuse, bereavement), self-esteem issues, parental discord, and genetic factors. These factors, combined with the emerging awareness of feeling vastly different from age peers, escalates the pre-existing feelings of social incompetence which may then be internalized. These internalized feelings (often exacerbated by victimization or bullying), subsequently lead to withdrawal and often depression.

Depression may initially be recognised by a change in mood, sleep cycle or appetite patterns. Symptoms may present as depressed mood, feelings of sadness or emptiness, physical and emotional withdrawal, physical and mental exhaustion, sleep disturbance, increased frequency of crying, increased irritability, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, reduced concentration, and thoughts or acts of self-harm or suicidal ideation. Conversely, depression may manifest as steadily increasing anger and hostility combined with increasing oppositional and aggressive behaviour.

What therapy helps anxiety and depression in adolescents with ASD?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT is typically used to support a person with ASD to better regulate his or her emotions and impulses and cope with anxiety or depression.

Author: Christine Burnett

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