Understanding Teen Avoidance Behaviors: Signs and Treatment

Adolescence is an incredibly challenging time in a young person’s life. There is a myriad of unavoidable challenges and difficult lessons that teens must endure. Further, every person, regardless of age has fears and experiences bouts of anxiety. Most young people develop various coping mechanisms to effectively manage their anxiety and fears. It is highly common for young people to want to avoid facing reality at some point during their adolescence. For many these feelings are fleeting. Teenage avoidance behaviors, also known as avoidance coping, are defined by the American Psychological Association as a maladaptive “strategy for managing a stressful situation in which a person does not address the problem directly but instead disengages from the situation and averts attention from it.” Avoidance behaviors are more complicated than a teenager trying to get out of something they do not want to do. Avoidance behaviors can be debilitating, as they often interfere with one’s ability to function in his or her daily life.

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