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As many as one quarter of adolescents experience anxiety; and around 6% of people have anxiety their entire lives. According to Emily Bilek, who treats children and adolescents, normal fears are adaptive, but when anxiety interferes with life, or it becomes a “presence,” and the sufferer or someone in the family says “something’s got to give,” it’s time to seek help. She said the cause of the anxiety isn’t important; treatment will have a positive effect, and CBT is the gold standard of care.
Bilek says that avoidance (of the thing that makes us anxious) narrows life. Often, anticipating the fear or even the physical changes that come with the anxiety is often worse than the thing feared. We tend to over-predict negative outcomes and under-predict our own resiliency. For the entire interview, see video; for those interested in how we might treat, look at minute 13.