The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Professional Associations » ncsm-members

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: [ncsm-members] More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering Severe Anxiety
Replies: 0  

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List  
Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering Severe Anxiety
Posted: Nov 7, 2017 5:49 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

From The New York Times Magazine, Wednesday, October 11, 2017. SEE
Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Parents, therapists and schools are struggling to figure out whether
helping anxious teenagers means protecting them or pushing them to
face their fears.

SIDEBAR PHOTO: Jake at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Credit Sasha Rudensky for The New York Times
The disintegration of Jake's life took him by surprise. It happened
early in his junior year of high school, while he was taking three
Advanced Placement classes, running on his school's cross-country
team and traveling to Model United Nations conferences. It was a lot
to handle, but Jake - the likable, hard-working oldest sibling in a
suburban North Carolina family - was the kind of teenager who handled
things. Though he was not prone to boastfulness, the fact was he had
never really failed at anything.

Not coincidentally, failure was one of Jake's biggest fears. He
worried about it privately; maybe he couldn't keep up with his peers,
maybe he wouldn't succeed in life. The relentless drive to avoid such
a fate seemed to come from deep inside him. He considered it a

Jake's parents knew he could be high-strung; in middle school, they
sent him to a therapist when he was too scared to sleep in his own
room. But nothing prepared them for the day two years ago when Jake,
then 17, seemingly "ran 150 miles per hour into a brick wall," his
mother said. He refused to go to school and curled up in the fetal
position on the floor. "I just can't take it!" he screamed. "You just
don't understand!"

Jake was right - his parents didn't understand. Jake didn't really
understand, either. But he also wasn't good at verbalizing what he
thought he knew: that going to school suddenly felt impossible, that
people were undoubtedly judging him, that nothing he did felt good
enough. "All of a sudden I couldn't do anything," he said. "I was so
afraid." His tall, lanky frame succumbed, too. His stomach hurt. He
had migraines. "You know how a normal person might have their stomach
lurch if they walk into a classroom and there's a pop quiz?" he told
me. "Well, I basically started having that feeling all the time."

Alarmed, Jake's parents sent him to his primary-care physician, who
prescribed Prozac, an antidepressant often given to anxious
teenagers. It was the first of many medications that Jake, who asked
that his last name not be used, would try over the next year. But
none seemed to work - and some made a bad situation worse. An
increase in dosage made Jake "much more excited, acting strangely and
almost manic," his father wrote in a journal in the fall of 2015. A
few weeks later, Jake locked himself in a bathroom at home and tried
to drown himself in the bathtub.


Jerry P. Becker
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Services
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
625 Wham Drive / MC 4610
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.