Youth Anxiety and Phobias


A certain amount of anxiety is completely normal. Examples might be: starting a new school, moving home, family difficulties etc. It is only when anxiety starts to affect your everyday life that it becomes a problem. It is at this stage that it is a good idea to reach out and get help. You are not alone.

Anxiety can cause many different symptoms. Here are some examples:

  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Upset tummy or general feeling of unwell.
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Problems sleeping, or waking in the night / nightmares
  • Moodiness / temper tantrums
  • Worrying all the time
  • Feeling sad or negative
  • Not wanting to be with other people
  • Upset or crying for no reason
  • Toilet troubles
  • Panic attacks

If your anxiety is stopping you from doing things you normally enjoy or is affecting your everyday life, then it’s important to get support. This could be reaching out to a friend, a parent, a teacher or you could ring the No Panic Youth Helpline on: 0330 606 1174

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to fear. Your heart will start to beat faster, you might have trouble breathing and you may even feel like you are going to faint, have a heart attack, or even die.  A panic attack can come on very quickly and seem to come on with no warning. The length of an attack can vary but typically lasting between 5 to 30 minutes. Panic attacks can happen anywhere and at any but although they are really scary they cannot harm you. 

Symptoms of panic attacks may include:

  • Difficulty breathing – Pains in the chest
  • Trembling, shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating 
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Pins & needles
  • Feeling sick

Try the No Panic Breathing Animation when you feel anxious or panicky to reduce symptoms.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

GAD is an anxiety disorder where the person is totally absorbed by their worries. They may focus on family, school or different types of experiences but it is most common to have more than one worry (once one thing is solved suddenly something else crops up).

Anxiety tends to make you nervous and jumpy, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating at school. 

GAD is quite common and lots of people have been successfully treated. If you feel like you might have a problem with worrying too much and it is taking over your life then it’s definitely a good idea to talk to someone about it – your parents or teachers for example – and check out the No Panic resource pages.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a disorder, which is characterised by –

  • Obsessions: images or intrusive thoughts things that worry you like causing harm, being contaminated by something that causes anxiety.
  • Compulsions: behaviours that try to neutralise the anxiety such as washing your hands excessively, checking that you have done your homework or mental compulsions such as counting or trying to neutralise the thoughts.

We all have some level of anxiety but OCD is at the extreme of the spectrum. OCD can intervene in your home life (especially if you ask for a lot of reassurance) but it is also quite often a problem at school. The thing to take away is that like all anxiety disorders, OCD can be treated and it’s possible to achieve recovery, and it’s important to form a cheerleading team to support you. Take a look at the No Panic Youth Recovery Programme.

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety (or social phobia) is an anxiety disorder that causes an overwhelming fear of social situations such as going to school or meeting new people, eating in front of your friends and having to talk in front of a crowd. It can have a huge effect on your everyday life causing much distress.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety vary from person to person but may include:

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension

Social anxiety is only a problem when the anxiety takes over your life. If you are struggling then talk to someone you trust. It can be treated. You can also call the No Panic Youth Helpline:  0330 606 1174

Scarlett has struggled with anxiety for a while. She often compares herself to others and feels she is being judged all the time. Feeling sick, sweating, difficulty breathing and headaches are common symptoms. One day it all gets too much………..Scarlett’s Story

How can No Panic help you?

Why not visit the Youth Hub to find out more? Or give our Youth Helpline a call on 0330 606 1174 (open between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Friday and 6pm and 8pm Thursday and Saturday).

The volunteers that work on our youth services are all DBS checked by law and trained in working with youths.

Other resources you may find helpful