Intense anxiety or panic attacks that interfere with daily life Can impact your mental health and wellbeing. READ MORE



Anxiety Disorders are different for every individual. There are several factors that can cause young people to experience increasing levels of anxiety. Unfortunately, many of the triggers are situated in the placed where we would hope to feel safe; home, school and work. Teenagers and Young People with anxiety are sensitive to changes in their environment and this can influence their coping abilities. When life is perceived to be stressful, it can cause an affect on both our physical and mental health. Anxiety is one of the many alarm systems that the body employs to ask us to slow down or make a change.  Academic pressures, conflict at home, issues with body image, changing family dynamics, work, university, relationships and social engagements can all contribute to feelings of anxiety. A family history of anxiety can also be seen to be a factor in the development of anxiety in young people. 
Over 60% of young people with anxiety do not receive the appropriate treatment. Anxiety is very unpleasant. In common with other mental health challenges, Anxiety can be debilitating and progressive. Extreme anxiety in young people can leave them unable to recall the last day or night that they were not affected. It can affect relationships, contribute to insomnia and have widespread effects on life. Sometime feelings of anxiety can be accompanied by drug or alcohol use. Teenagers, Young adults and older adults can attempt to self medicate the uncomfortable feelings and symptoms of anxiety with substances. Whilst this may appear to provide some short term relief, the potential for other substance related conditions may well increase. Heightened anxiety following a period of drug or alcohol use is also common. In combination, substances and anxiety can have severe and lasting affects on development and health. If you or a member of your family is using prescription medication that has not been prescribed for you by your Doctor; or find yourself using drugs or alcohol to control feelings and symptoms of anxiety; you should take advice from a medical professional as soon as possible.  

Symptoms of anxiety include:

Just as there are varying severities of depression, there is a range of treatments.

Depression can be helped through the support of friends and family or

be treated by working with a psychotherapist or receiving inpatient care.

We all experience some levels of anxiety


We all feel occasional bouts of anxiety. These can be triggered by everyday events: going on a first date, taking an exam, waiting for test results. Anything that promotes change can give us some form of low level anxiety. Whilst it’s not a particularly comfortable feeling or one that we enjoy, it’s also completely normal. 

The kind of anxiety that requires treatment is quite different. This anxiety affects our sleep; our day-to-day routines; or our ability to socialise, work or attend school if it’s occurring at least 6 days a week for a period of 6 months or longer. 

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns people have alongside depression. In fact, anxiety quite often comes along as a cousin or near neighbour of depression, and some people move rapidly from periods of depression to periods of anxiety. We also often find anxiety in people with other, co-occuring conditions such as substance use disorder or addiction. Anxiety is one of the reasons many people choose to self-medicate.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive and compulsive behaves or symptoms are often described together, although you may find that your family member seems to demonstrate one more than the other. 
Obsessive symptoms can include thoughts, ideas, pictures and plans, that may jump into times are parts of your day, whilst you are engaged in other things. There is no control in the invasive thoughts or ideas. When they appertains they can be incredibly distracting and even dangerous. Obsessive behaviours can involve us changing our plans or situations to act out on the obsession. It is very difficult to move away from the thought pattern or plan and can severely disrupt individuals and family life. 
Compulsive behaviours can include rituals and relative actions. 


Phobias differ greatly from anxiety. A phobia is an intense, overwhelming, paralysing fear of a situation, person, place or event. The feeling is out of proportion to the danger that’s presenting, in the sense that it’s much greater than the normal sort of anxiety that we might experience around, for example, air travel, spiders or snakes. 

A phobia is irrational but feels incredibly real. That’s why simply telling someone to snap out of it isn’t going to work. People who have phobias go to extreme lengths to avoid the situation that provokes the phobia, to the point that it alters the course or pattern of your life on a daily basis. A person with a phobia of flying might travel for 5 days by road or train to take a business trip. 

Treating Phobias

Agoraphobia is a specific type of phobia. It can come of being outside or in open spaces or being outside whatever, we perceive to be our comfort zone - whether that’s our bedroom, our house, or our town. It’s often felt in crowds. 

With agoraphobia, people often rationalise not leaving home. They get their groceries delivered, work from home, or become nocturnal. Agoraphobia causes intense fear and panic, and the person experiencing it may also experience depersonalisation or dissociation (a detachment from one’s body or feeling like we are outside of our body.) Agoraphobia can go on for many years and be very troubling.

At The Wave, we treat phobias through talk therapy, and sometimes with medication. We might also use very small amounts of exposure therapy.

Art Therapy

Panic Disorders

Panic is an extreme experience and reaches its peak very quickly. Panic can descend completely unexpectedly, or the person might be aware of the situations and triggers that cause panic for them. Panic disorder can also co-occur alongside agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder or other mental health conditions. 

People will try and avoid what they believe to be the triggers that have brought about panic attacks in the past. These often include driving, being a passenger in a car (especially if a person was involved in a car accident) or using public transport. A significant amount of time might pass between the triggering incident and the appearance of the panic disorder. 

At The Wave, we know that panic disorders can bring about an immense amount of discomfort and difficulty in life. We treat panic disorders through talk therapy, art therapy, and creative therapies. Medication is sometimes used, and we may also move into the realms of very careful, very gentle exposure therapy.

Don't suffer alone

What treatments are available for anxiety?

Changing how we process information and working through the core challenges, are some of the ways that talk therapy is able to assist us. Building a relationship with a primary therapist is a vehicle to healing the underlying issues in anxiety. Individual session and group CBT can be useful for reframing old beliefs and thoughts patterns. Family therapy can assist where the anxiety has built up in the home environment, perhaps through unresolved family issues, change in living arrangements or family breakdown. Creative therapies, journalling, equine and art therapy can also assist with the management, symptom relief and understanding of the self in anxiety

There are several different types of medication that can help those challenged by anxiety disorders. For those with severe anxiety or anxiety that appears to be getting worse, this can be a valuable starting point to addressing the underlying cause of your anxiety. In residential treatment, we have the option to monitor responses to medication, whist introducing therapy to assist in the longer term. Typically, medications prescribed by your Doctor or Psychiatrist will include Benzodiazepines, SSRI’s, Beta-blockers or other antidepressants. 

Alleviating anxiety through the use of alternative and holistic therapists has also been seen to be beneficial for many young people. Regular practice of breathing techniques and daily exercise has known health benefits. This works across the anxiety spectrum too. Yoga, massage and meditation are effective tools for clearing some space in our minds and offering refocus at times when we need relief fro outside stressors. Insomnia is also helped by great nighttime feel good rituals, lavender oils, diffusers and pillow sprays. In residential treatment, our young people have the luxury of time and space to try out new ideas (perhaps even those that they have previously dismissed). Our holistic team, have the patience, love and understanding to look at symptoms through a different lens and offer new solutions for everyday concerns. 

We understand that there are some indicators that can make us more vulnerable to developing the signs and symptoms of anxiety. Women are more likely (but not exclusively) to develop anxiety. So are those who could be described as Shy or introvert. There is an increased risk if close family members have also been diagnosed with anxiety. Being Divorced or widowed. Having experienced childhood trauma or extreme stress in childhood. Stressful, unpleasant situations in adult life and high cortisol levels in the saliva (especially in the afternoons) can indicate elevated risks. The good news is that there are plenty of treatment options available.

For more FAQs, please refer to our FAQs page.

We take a holistic approach to recovery

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