The life of a teenager today is often just as busy as an adult’s, and just as stressful. With responsibilities related to school, social pressures, standardized testing, extracurricular activities, and making decisions about the future, adolescents frequently face unrelenting stress that can trigger chronic anxiety. While pharmaceutical drugs are available for treatment, they can suppress the root source of the symptoms, cause unwanted side-effects, and interfere with sleep, energy, and concentration. Natural medicine offers alternative treatments for teenage anxiety that work with the body and mind instead of against them.

To some extent, anxiety can be a normal response during times of stress. When prolonged, however, it can interfere with energy levels and make it more difficult for teens to keep up with daily living. In addition to triggering physical symptoms such as insomnia or acne, anxiety can also make it more challenging for teens to relate to family and friends, concentrate on school work, tap into natural confidence, and feel motivation. Daily life can become disrupted to the point where anxiety is the main focus in every activity and interaction.

How does stress in the life of a teenager create increased anxiety? Hormones during adolescence are already fluctuating, bringing about growth and the unique character traits and perspective that teens naturally express. Hormone fluctuations further tend to create ups and downs in mood, which is also normal. Stress exists in everyone’s life, but when it becomes unmanageable, it can affect female and male hormone levels, blood sugar control, cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and disrupt sleep that is needed for replenishing hormone levels. A teenager who is already experiencing hormone changes will experience both emotional and physical effects from unaddressed stress. Anxiety is one way the body will let a teen know that stress is getting out of hand.

The cornerstone of reducing teenage anxiety naturally lies in first acknowledging that this symptom is the body’s way of letting you know that stress is building up too high and not being properly addressed. Digestive upset, sleep issues, skin complaints such as acne, PMS, extreme mood swings, and fatigue are other symptoms that may accompany anxiety and offer signs that stress is getting out of hand. Teenagers can benefit from paying attention to the signals that their bodies are sending them, because that is the body’s way of communicating how it’s feeling.

Anxiety isn’t just a problem to fix, it’s a natural response to life’s challenges and it can actually help us feel better if we pay attention to what it’s trying to tell us about health. Teens and their parents can also visit a naturopathic or medical doctor who specializes in hormone balancing. This type of specialist can help teenagers get their hormones levels checked using simple salivary testing. Levels that are out of range can be balanced using natural supplements, botanical formulas, homeopathy, and diet and exercise recommendations.

Strengthening the adrenal glands and supporting the body’s stress response is another key to improving chronic anxiety, and while conventional medicine has no treatment for this, doctors who practice natural medicine can help with that. The adrenal glands are two organs that are located on top of the kidneys and they release cortisol in response to stress. Natural formulas that are designed to tone the adrenal glands can help the body feel stronger in response to everyday stresses. If sleep is disrupted, stress relief formulas can also help improve sleep quality and hormone balance. Practitioners who are trained in homeopathy also find success in treating teenage anxiety, as homeopathy is a medicine that sparks the body’s innate health potential.

Learning to work with anxiety rather than fighting it or trying to hide from it produces the best results toward feeling better. Remember that we all deal with anxiety, and whether you’re a teenager or a parent to a teen, it is helpful to recognize that the body has an innate healing potential during tough situations and challenges that arise. Whichever treatment you turn to, lean toward ones that support what the body naturally wants to do rather than simply suppress the symptoms. The body has a natural wisdom to it, and the anxiety is surfacing for a reason. Reading the clues it’s sending you can not only alleviate symptoms, but it can help you learn more about yourself and your health.