Why Is There so Much Anxiety in Today’s Generation?


Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States. Over 18% of the total population suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, often undiagnosed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, over 40 million adults in America are victims of anxiety. You can see it, especially in young adults. Many people struggle with unfamiliar situations like how to increase employee productivity at work. Others feel completely unequipped to meet life. Such patterns are common with young adults and teenagers. But why is anxiety so common with this generation?

8 Reasons Why

If you think you’re seeing a rise in anxiety in today’s youth you are not mistaken. But what are the causes behind this? Anxiety is a large scale problem, especially among teenagers. It’s usually the most common cause behind most therapist sessions. There can be a number of reasons why young people are so anxious today. The disorder does not discriminate. Some anxious teenagers come from rough families with difficult circumstances. Others are unable to function because they care too much what people think of them. Still, others come from completely supportive and healthy families and still fall victim to anxiety. But maybe, the reason behind the rise of anxiety in the last couple of decades is societal and cultural changes. Some of these include:

  1. Muddled Family Hierarchies
  2. Playtime Too Structured
  3. Guilty Parenting
  4. Lack of Emotional Skills
  5. Overprotective Parents
  6. Skewed Perceptions

Here are some more details that might help us understand why these factors could be causing anxiety among young people.

Muddled Family Hierarchies

Kids are usually confident and impatient. They always like to give the impression they’d love to be in charge. Bu the fact is, kids and adolescents are scared of their limitations. They don’t really believe they can lead the family. They always look to their parents to take the lead. Even, and especially, when there are problems in the family. When a family’s hierarchy changes, gets blurred or even flipped, it can cause kids to develop anxiety.

Playtime Too Structured

We all feel getting our kids to join a softball team or a soccer club is important, and it is. But kids also need some unstructured playtime to develop emotionally. Structured recreation is always under adult supervision. This doesn’t allow kids the room to learn how to solve disagreements on their own. Playing on their own also encourages emotional development. It lets kids learn how to feel comfortable with themselves and their thoughts.

Guilty Parenting

Parenting is not an easy job. Denying your kids something or punishing them can often stir up guilty feelings. Some parents are even afraid to discipline their children. Instead of learning how to deal with this guilt, parents try to change their parenting methods. They either don’t let kids have anything or give them everything. They teach children, however inadvertently, that emotions like guilt, fear or sadness are not tolerable.

Lack of Emotional Skills

A lot of focus these days is on academic skills. We emphasize its importance to our children and push them to excel. But rarely do we put in the effort to teach them emotional skills. This may be the reason why so many young people don’t feel properly equipped to deal with life. Emotional skills teach you how to manage time, stress, and feelings. Young people often lack the ability to cope with these things. So is it any wonder that they feel anxious?

Overprotective Parents

Overprotective parenting takes a lot of the blame for raising a generation troubled by anxiety. Parents should stop thinking of themselves as protectors. Instead, they should accept their role as guides. It is impossible to grow up without acquiring some physical and emotional scars. Children are not as delicate as we like to think. We need to let them learn how to deal with challenges on their own. Denying them this leads them to grow up thinking they are too fragile.

Skewed Perceptions

Happiness is overemphasized in our culture today. Yes, it is important that you be happy. But it is also unnatural to assume you will be happy all the time. When young people have times when they don’t feel happy, they assume something is wrong with them. This causes a lot of mental turmoil, which is completely unnecessary. It is normal to feel emotions like sadness, frustration, disappointment, guilt, and even anger sometimes.


You can’t blame any one factor for the entire problem. These factors come together to lead young people towards an anxious existence. There is also the problem of technology becoming too accessible. When young people are punished they go to their rooms and start watching movies or they spend time in Safari Desert if they live in Dubai. When they feel troubled, they escape into a computer game. This and a host of other factors prevents them from learning to recognize and deal with their emotions. We need to stop creating an environment that fosters anxiety. Otherwise, the issue will continue to worsen with coming generations.

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