What are the anxiety levels in high school students? 

This post answers: What are the anxiety levels in high school students?  What are some symptoms of anxiety in high school students? How does anxiety affect high school students? How can high school students with anxiety be helped? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? What are the causes of anxiety? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

What are the anxiety levels in high school students? 

Research indicates that high school students experience very high levels of anxiety. Anxiety is very common in today’s high school students. High school is not as easy as it might seem. Students find it very hard to adjust to high school. 

There is more homework and more pressure, which can affect their student life as well as social life negatively. If they are not trained and managed wisely, they can become victims of extreme anxiety.

Anxiety not only affects their grades but virtually every aspect of their lives. It generates negative thought patterns in them, which stay with them for their whole life. So, if a student gets affected by anxiety in high school, it can and does affect their future lives as well.

Anxiety is one of the reasons why high school students find it hard to have a successful career later in their lives. Studies show that about 18% of high school teenagers have anxiety at some point in their high school life.

What are some symptoms of anxiety in high school students?

Anxiety manifests itself in many forms in high school students. Some frequent symptoms of anxiety reported in high school students include

Excessive worry

High school students with anxiety report extreme worry regarding their academic success. They are constantly worried about whether or not they will get high grades.

When high school students are anxious about their grades, they find it hard to focus on their studies. This affects their grades negatively and elicits negative beliefs in them. They start to think that they are incompetent. The inability to study properly further elevates their anxiety as their grades go down.


When a high school student is suffering from anxiety, he or she is likely to exhibit symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal includes disinterest in studies, hobbies, and relationships with friends and family.


High school students with anxiety just can’t sit down calmly. They are restless all the time. The anxiety puts them in a state of constant thinking, which doesn’t let them rest properly. This leads to insomnia as well.


High school students with anxiety show very high levels of irritability. These students get irritated by almost anything. They argue with teachers and parents more and get offended and angry easily. These students also exhibit aggressive behavior. 

What are the anxiety levels in high school students? 

Appetite change

High school students with anxiety are so much worried about their academic success that they even stop paying attention to their diet. All they think about is the future.

The future worries them so much that they undermine the present. They don’ eat properly, which makes them weak and more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

How does anxiety affect high school students?

Anxiety in high school students has severe consequences, both in the present and long term. 

Following are some of the negative effects of anxiety on high school students:

Dropping grades and low performance:

Anxiety makes high school students unable to concentrate properly on their studies which affect their academic grades negatively. The low grades, in turn, elevate their anxiety levels even further. They also show a marked decrease in performance in other co-curricular activities such as sports.

Low self-esteem

Because high school students are unable to perform well academically, this makes them believe that they are incompetent. Their self-esteem goes down, which has consequences both in the present and long life.

Substance abuse:

Some high school students search for escape from their anxiety in drugs. They become drug addicts. Alcoholism and smoking are the most common substance abuse seen in high school students.

How can high school students with anxiety be helped?

If a high school student is suffering from anxiety, he or she needs immediate help. Following are some of the ways in which these students can be helped:

Professional help:

High school students with anxiety should be immediately referred to a school psychologist or any other clinical psychologist. They need therapy because if their anxiety goes untreated, it can impair them for the rest of their lives.


High school students should be encouraged by their teachers and parents that they can overcome their anxiety and succeed at school. If the school is discouraging them, parents should immediately transfer them to another more encouraging school.

Exercise and meditation:

Physical exercises, especially breathing exercises, can be very helpful. Apart from that, these students should be asked to practice mediation regularly.

 What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the causes of anxiety?

Anxiety often results from accumulated stress or overwhelming feelings. Some common causes of anxiety include.

  • Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.
  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Anxiety is very common among high school students. Due to anxiety, their academic performance goes down, which further worsens their anxiety. These students need immediate help because the anxiety can virtually impair their whole lives.

Frequently asked questions: Can high school students experience anxiety?

Does smartphone use lead to anxiety in students?

There is a high correlation between anxiety and excessive smartphone use. Excessive social media use is also a major reason.

Does anxiety cause panic attacks?

Panic attacks are rare in mild and moderate levels of anxiety but common among people with severe anxiety.

Can anxiety lead to depression?

Both anxiety and depression can cause each other. Anxiety and depression can also co-occur.

Citation :


Understanding anxiety in secondary school students



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