Anxiety Disorders in Children Treatment
Do you feel that your child is being more anxious or worried in comparison to other children of her age? How should you tackle it? Here we will discuss on Anxiety Disorders in Children. An anxiety is an understandable reaction to change or stressful event. It is normal and part of growing up for children to feel anxious about different things at different ages. Anxiety is type of a stress. Some children feel it more, some less. It is a part of their development and it ease off with growing age. It is also normal that pre-school children develop some anxiety in the beginning and it eases slowly with time.
When anxiety is be considered a problem for a children? Anxiety can be thought as a problem if it affects their behaviour and thoughts in their day-to-day life. Severe anxiety can harm children’s mental and emotional well-being and it affects their self-esteem and confidence. Children withdraw themselves and try great extent to avoid things or situations that causes the anxiety. How do you know when your child is suffering from severe anxiety and you need to get professional help to tackle the situation?
What are the signs of anxiety in children?
A child suffering from anxiety disorder feels scared, embarrassed, ashamed, panicked etc. Your child is not capable to recognise why he/she is feeling this way. The reason for anxiety differs for children with the age. Following are some of the signs that can indicate anxiety in children.
- Find it difficult to concentrate one thing.
- Don’t get good sleep in the night or wake up suddenly due to bad dreams.
- They get irritable or angry in small matter and gets out of control during outbursts.
- Mostly remains worried or have negative emotions and thoughts.
- Always feel tensed and fidgety, use toilet often.
- Cries often
- Complain often about tummy ache or feels unwell
- Clings to the parents while other children of the same age in the same situation don’t cling.
- Avoid activities.
What types of anxiety children experience?
Some of the common types of anxiety are:
Phobia about some specific thing:
Many children are afraid of storms, water, monsters, dogs etc. It is normal for them and can be considered as a part of them growing up, but when the fear becomes overwhelming and affects the children in their daily life, it is anxiety and needs to be addressed.
Feeling anxious constantly for no apparent reason:
It is common in children and usually develops at the age of six months. Children become anxious about not being with their parents or regular care taker. It is about children feeling insecure about being separated. It becomes even difficult for the children to settle in the nursery or pre-school.
It is about children not wanting to go out in public, meet others or participate in activities. It is normal to be shy, but it becomes a social anxiety disorder when children even don’t fear doing everyday activities like shopping, talking on a phone. They find it humiliating to do something.
Some children become too anxious about going to school, interacting with students, specifically if they are changing a school moving up level. They don’t express the feelings but try to avoid going school and makes excuses such tummy ache or feeling sick. They might cry a lot or seem tired in the morning. You need to tackle it if it affects their daily activities.
Less Common anxiety disorders:
Post-traumatic anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder sometimes occur in children if they go through some stress causing situations.
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your feel your heart pounding and find it difficult to breathe. It might be a one-time occurrence or might experience repeat episodes triggered by a specific situation in which you feel endangered and unable to escape. Panic disorder can be treated, but if not treated can cause a serious problem.
Treatment for anxiety disorder in children
If you feel your child’s anxiety disorder is not getting better or even getting worse, you should seek professional help. Anxiety disorders that start in childhood can persist into the teenage years as well as in early adulthood and may develop in clinical depression, misuse drugs or feel suicidal.
Seeing your GP:
You should talk to your general practitioner and get an appointment for your child. The doctor will try to understand the disorder and offer some advice about what you should do next. Your child might be referred to the local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS), if needed. CAMHS have professionals that include psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists and are support the child with necessary treatment.
If your child is not comfortable seeing a doctor, you can contact a local counselling service centre. The counselling centre has a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. The child has to undergo sessions that can help them work out what is making them anxious and how they can handle the situations.
Cognitive behavioural therapy:
It is a talking therapy that can help children with changing the way they think and behave and thus they can manage their anxiety problems. The therapist help children find ways to change the way they think and find strategies for coping situations that causes anxiety. Children have to go through 9-20 sessions depending upon the severity of problem.
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If child’s anxiety problem is not getting better, the doctor might advise medication for your child. The child might have to take antidepressant and usually it takes about two to four weeks to feel the difference.
To conclude, if your child is suffering from anxiety disorder, try to identify it and get it treated. Your child will overcome it and live stress free.