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Anxiety Disorders in Children: Causes, Symptoms, Ways of Dealing

Anxiety Disorders in Children

When your child displays excessive fear over something or to someone without any apparent reasons, then chances are; your child might be suffering from one or more forms of anxiety disorders. In anxiety disorders, children experience intense anticipation about disasters, natural calamities, harm on their health and other loved ones, death and the uncertainties about the future. They are reluctant in participating into any event where it involves mingling with other children - they isolate themselves. 

These and many more are some of the physiological signs of anxiety disorders. When these problems persist, your child’s day to day activities will be affected. They will start to have problems or changes with their academic performance, the development of their social and life skills and even, their health.

Almost all children are afraid about something. They may either feel shy or fearful when in other places new to them or when around other people or strangers. This is to say that anxiety is just a part of a child’s growing up process and perhaps an important portion of their development.

Normally, childhood fears are fairly transient and do not stay very long. Depending on a child’s age, she may have one or more fears. For example, babies and toddlers are often troubled when they hear loud sounds and strangers. They would also panic on getting around strangers. Pre-schoolers and school age children are usually afraid of the dark. This may be due to the horror movies they see or stories they hear about ghost and other scary stuff.

On the other hand, research shows that 1 in 10 children suffer from more severe form of anxiety. Children with anxiety disorders have intense reaction to this situation than with normal children. Child experts realized that these children with anxiety disorders are usually not getting the most out of life - their progress is hindered, their ability to grow in other areas of life is also affected, and if not treated early, they may carry its effects to their adulthood.

While there are many medications coming out and techniques developed by psychiatrists and other child experts in dealing with this problem, there is still a need for many parents to be educated about these anxiety disorders. If you happen to be one of the parents having the same problem we are discussing about here, then you have found the right place to start your research.

Parents who are knowledgeable about anxiety disorders - their causes and symptoms, are more likely to better help their children in overcoming these mental disorders. They are more likely to find the right anxiety treatment for children. The parent’s inability to recognize early signs of these problems may lead to untreated disorders and their effects may impact the child’s ability to develop in all important areas of life.

In a nutshell, anxiety disorder is a mental condition that affects or alters the normal physical, emotional, and social development of a child. A few decades ago, it was thought that they only exist in adults; today it is believed that anxiety disorders cases are even more common in children and teenagers. Experts believe that many of technology and media devices we use today contributes to the problem as parents are now spending more time in social medias than in dealing with their children’s welfare.

  See also: Anxiety in Children

Causes of Anxiety Disorders in Children

There are several reasons why a child can develop serious emotional dilemma. Some of these are divorce, negligence, comparison among siblings, and perfectionist parents. It is sad to believe that the fast-moving lifestyle of the modern world is one of the major causes why children are experiencing anxiety disorder.

Modern society can be so demanding such that parents are pushed to their limits and in trying to complete their long list of things to do, they have the tendency to neglect them. Mothers who are working full time in order to support the father in providing for the family’s basic needs are almost most often tired and stressed-out; as a result, they can pass on the demands to their child. And because they are still very young and cannot understand why their parents need to work and spend so much time doing all sorts of things, they can misunderstand this as a sign of no interest in them. Their only concern is their own little world and what they can only appreciate is that their parents are there when they need them. And when this need cannot be addressed that is when anxiety sets in.

Children and Anxiety Disorder: A Closer Look at Divorce as a Factor

It is a sad reality that there are more and more couples who end up in divorce after raising a family together. It is a reflection of a shattered dream of a family that is whole and well-functioning not only for the couple themselves but also for the children. In fact, it has been known that divorce is one of the major causes of anxiety in children.

It is quite expected that children who go through a divorce will have to experience some kind of behavioral disorder. If this is expected from their parents who are more mature and is supposed to have been prepared for the worst in life, what more do we expect from children who are fragile and don’t understand much about what we adults do and decide about. Thousands of children are diagnosed to have anxiety disorder as a direct result of parents having a divorce.

There are many kinds of anxiety disorder but the most common type that is associated with divorce is separation anxiety. Children of divorced parents develop an overwhelming fear of being abandoned. They develop a strong sense of isolation, which leads to loneliness and sometimes depression. This can manifest through symptoms like: loss of appetite, being clingy, lost of interest in activities they previously enjoy doing and being withdrawn. They also feel insecure and constantly seeking re-assurance and attention, which may lead to low self-esteem.

It is normal for a child to experience anxiety especially right after the divorce. It is also normal that children will blame themselves as the reason for separation. This can result to being rebellious and aggressive at some point in their lives. However, it is also predictable that they should grow out of this behavior after some time. If you notice that even after several months of the separation that the symptoms are not fading away but rather are getting more serious, it may be a reason to consult a professional. It can be a signal that they are stuck in anxiety disorder.

Some of the tell tale signs that they may be stuck in this condition are the following: sleep disorder, getting trouble in school, having difficulty focusing, inflicting oneself of injury such as cutting, and many others. Once you notice any of these behaviors, do not hesitate to consult a professional. It is better to resolve the issue at the onset rather than ignore it and let them carry the burden of a decision we parents made through a lifetime of suffering.

Detection of Anxiety Disorders in Children: Signs and Symptoms

A child with anxiety disorder often grow-up to have numerous emotional problems. It makes them vulnerable to engage into various social problems; such as: drug abuse, alcoholism and violence.

We can very well avoid this by spending time with our children. We not only provide them with the much needed love and attention, we are also ceasing every opportunity to get to know every inch of them. By knowing them, we can very well prevent any situation that can lead to any emotional disorder, such as anxiety.

But in case, we came into the rescue quite late and we suspect that our child is already experiencing this kind of behavioral disorder, we don’t have to lose hope. We can still arrest the situation by seeking professional help. But before we do that, we need to use our observation skills and find out what exactly our child is going through. If you notice that he or she is experiencing any of these symptoms, then it is time see your doctor:

They are often complaining about any kind of physical pains that are not founded by any physical ailments: such as headache, stomachache, or muscle pains. You will also notice that they have significantly decreases their appetite or a milder form is simple change in their eating habits. They may also experience some sleep disorders; such as: nightmares and frequent waking up in the middle of the night.

Identifying the Early Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder in Children: Anxiety or Panic attacks in Children

It can be a terrible experience for parents to realize that their children have anxiety or panic attacks. This is a matter of great concern to us parents as anxiety attacks can result in harming the natural mental, emotional and social developments of a child if left untreated. Finding the right help or even materials on dealing with anxiety disorders in children is the first thing that comes to mind to parents when a sign of anxiety attack in seen in them. The problem is, unlike adults, children are more secretive and cannot articulate their feelings well so parents are warned or informed about how they feel and the struggles they have, so parents are left to develop some skills in recognizing anxiety in children symptoms.

Here are 3 of the common symptoms of anxiety attacks in children:

Children becomes constantly tensed and worried excessively over something. Children who experience generalized anxiety disorder can be seen as afraid of going to school or going into an event where many people are present. They would isolate themselves and would rather stay at home instead of going to family affairs or sports activities. They worry about their environment and everything that could happen. They have irrational fear about death to fall upon them or to their loved ones. They imagine things as if they are real and oftentimes this produces stress.

You will notice sudden change in your child’s health condition. This is especially true if a child have post-traumatic stress disorder. Children plagued with this problem have recollections of bad experiences such as witnessing an accident or a disaster that led to death of someone, the loss of a loved one or from abusive treatment. The anxiety in children symptoms in this case, physically, are usually a sudden feeling of nervous, rapid heartbeat of palpitation, having trouble breathing, losing some weight as a result of losing appetite, and trembling for no apparent reason. They are also most likely to have a series of nightmares in their sleep.

They fluctuate in their social life and performance at school. For children with social anxiety, refusal to go to school is a common denominator. They avoid meeting and being with other kids and other people. They are also reluctant in attending sports and other social activities. Thus, depriving themselves of the chance to develop social skills. They get poor at concentrating while studying which make sense as they usually would have lower grades and other children of their age and level.

   Read alsoPanic Attacks and Panic Disorder In Children

Recognizing the Main Signs of Anxiety Disorder in Your Child

Be smart in taking care of your children and anxiety will be an easy challenge to overcome. How exactly will this be possible? Of course, parents who have kids with anxiety disorder issues would disagree with this notion as it seems impossible to deal with this problem at times. On the other hand, when you have the skills to identify early symptoms of anxiety in your children the more likely you can help them avoid the more serious effects of it.

There are a number of types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety disorder, panic attacks and phobias. The signs or symptoms may vary according to the type of disorder affecting your children and anxiety condition severity.

Irritability without logical cause of provocation, difficulty concentrating and learning things at school, excessive disturbing thoughts and extreme worry on certain things, losing control and other obsessive behaviors are among the most common psychological patterns of anxiety disorder. Children may also show difficulty in their social interactions. They tend to stay away from groups of other kids and social activities, overly fear of strangers and are afraid of going to school. And when not given immediate attention, you will start to notice some physical signs like extreme headache, chest pains, tingling sensations, sweating, difficulty sleeping, pounding heartbeat and sometimes difficulty breathing.

Most kids show symptoms of anxiety disorder at some point of their childhood life and these may be short-lasting or temporary and may sometimes be helpful in their growing process. And while these symptoms are common among children and adolescents we tend to just let them pass by. Nevertheless, you should not ignore them and find appropriate means to ease your child’s condition. Ignoring these symptoms may lead to even worse physical problems and mental issues associated with anxiety disorder.

At some point, talking to your kids about their fears and worries may be enough to relieve them of their condition. You may share with them about your own experience when you were young and how you overcome that problem. Doing so will convince your child that he is not alone and he too can conquer the same issue and will greatly help him ease his fears. He will also come to a sense of loving support from you, which is very important. This is just one of the natural ways you can help your children and anxiety troubles. If symptoms persist however, call for professional help available in your area. They may be health professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists and other child health experts.

Types of Anxiety Disorders in Children

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is at the top of the list. Children with this type of disorder most commonly experience unreasonable worrying and fears related to various life events as related to family issues, school, bullies, health, forthcoming events and tournaments on sports and other situations. They are typically stressed out with some issues involving their performance at school, how they deal or make friend with other children or about their academic performance.

Children with this kind of anxiety disorder are usually perfectionists and are always afraid of being neglected or rejected. They worry about the weather, the future, their health and even deaths. They also experience fears same as children with posttraumatic stress disorder wherein the past life events are associated with GAD.

As this problem becomes intense, they find it hard to relax and to concentrate. They are afraid of going to bed. They complain about some physical discomforts, and so on.

  See alsoGeneralized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in Children

2. Social Anxiety Disorder also known as Social Phobia is the type of disorder for children who are reluctant to join a group of people or other kids. They are always apprehensive about meeting new people as they do not want to get embarrassed in one way or another. They are marked with low self-esteem as they compare themselves from others as incompetent.

In younger children, parents have hard time taking and leaving them in preschools. Many of them refuse to attend social gatherings such as party, school activities, group study or a trip because they don’t want to be ridiculed out of their poor self-confidence. These children are naturally shy among others as they avoid situations that could embarrass them. Children with this kind of anxiety disorder are prone to develop physical and other symptoms like withdrawal, sweating, trembling, nausea and even difficulty in talking.

  See also: Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) in Children

3. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder or OCD is the child’s inability to control his own thoughts and negative imaginations. They are obsessed about being perfect in their appearance and cleanliness and so they tend to repetitively wash their hands, combing their hair or washing their teeth, or compulsively watching themselves in the mirror.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of childhood anxiety disorder in which the most prominent features are the relapsing obsessions on thoughts and imaginations (obsessions about variety of situations) and the repetitive ritual behaviors that is being practiced in order to relieve the anxiety. Their thoughts are marked with anxiety and worry. Because of this, the child may do poorly on concentration, judgement and cognition. Some of the children are not doing well on school because of the unwanted thoughts that replace the academic studies. To get rid of obsessions, children adhere to compulsions in which it compose of repetitive behaviors like hand washing, counting numbers, order and checking. Other children may be seen with mental acts like praying or whispering words that are repeatedly utter.

4. Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD): Children with separation anxiety disorder have difficulty separating from their parents and caretakers. They don’t like to be alone since they are afraid of meeting new people as well as seeing new places.

For preschool children, refusal to go to school is the most common since they will know that they will be separated from their parents. They do poorly on school activities since they are not participating in any activities as they find it hard to associate with other children whom they didn’t know.

Separation anxiety is somehow a normal part of childhood stage of development as children can differentiate the strangers from their closest physical figures. However, there are cases where the anxiety is too much to cause the children to panic and feel excessive fears. Oftentimes, children may also have problems of sleeping since they are afraid of nightmares, ghosts, monsters and other frightening scenes. These children must be accompanied with their parents and caretaker to comfort them but should later develop a sense of independence when the anxiety has been resolved.

  See alsoSeparation Anxiety Disorder in Children: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A child may developed post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering from a bad past life experiences like physical abuse, accidents, mishaps and calamities. Children manifested unusual fears when exposed to similar situation that cause the trauma. They also easily frightened when they hear such noises and commotions which disturb their thoughts and concentration. A thorough assessment and management to treat PTSD should be done to prevent any further debilitating effect that could interfere the life of children when they approach adulthood stage.

   See alsoPTSD in Children

There are still other types of anxiety disorders in children which share almost all the same symptoms like others. These are:
  • Panic Disorder (This disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks)
  • Specific Phobias (Kids with specific phobias fear a specific object irrationally like an animal, storm, height, water, or blood etc.)
  • Selective Mutism (Children with selective mutism don’t speak when talking is expected - they become expressionless and motionless. At home, they may be talkative kids, but their teachers may complain that they refuse to talk at school. Selective mutism usually co-exists with social anxiety disorder.)

Parents are advised to learn the nature of each anxiety disorders. As we have mentioned earlier, the more knowledgeable the parent is about these anxiety disorders, the more he or she is able to help his or her child and the more likely the right anxiety treatment for children be found.

Ways of Dealing Children with Anxiety Disorder

The most common type of anxiety disorder is what we come to call Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Children with anxiety disorder such as this usually worry about school, their dealings with other kids, issues at home, etc. They also need constant re-assurance and approval from those around them. Dealing with this problem usually would just require proper diet and exercise and some relaxation activities, making sure your child obtain proper rest, and a regular meeting and counseling with him and an extra motivation and showing confidence in him are a plus.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and phobias are some of the worse types of this disorder. Children with anxiety disorder like these most likely have difficulty achieving good grades at school. They tend to have peer relationship problems. They lose interest in many activities especially those which may involve meeting with other people. They also have unusual ritualistic behaviors and some actions to help themselves overcome their anxiety or fear. They have unexplainable-illogical fear over something or of the future. Worse, they may feel sick and have headaches, tummy aches, having trouble breathing, constant sweating and freezing even though even if it is not really cold. Eating Disorder is also a common sign of having this disorder.

Children with anxiety disorder or those who have these types of disorder need immediate assistance. Helping them be relieved from anxiety disorders are the parents’ main responsibility. When engaged with these problems sometimes, following the steps mentioned earlier might already help. Some things you can also do is to have Family therapy. This means that all family members should join together to help the member of the family who has anxiety disorder be comforted. Studying cognitive behavioral therapy can also be of big help. This process requires preparation and more patience to apply to children with anxiety disorder the proven techniques to know their fears and worries and be able to come up with a strategy to help the children.

Finally, if all you did do not take away the problem, simply contact your local child experts and psychologists. Perhaps your child needs the participation of professional help.

Childhood Anxiety Treatment: Helping Children with Anxiety Disorder

As our world in general becomes even more progressive, there seems to be an increasing pile of reasons for children to get stressed out which normally will result to a more serious social, psychological and even physical complications - anxiety disorders. Parents now need to become more equipped with the right understanding of this problem in order to find the childhood anxiety treatment his or her child needs.

Children in our days are most likely to suffer from panic disorder and traumatic stress disorder, but other forms of this problem includes generalized anxiety disorder, also known as GAD and acute stress disorder. Hectic schedules, school activities, bullying, moving, peer pressures, all these and many more greatly contribute to our children’s anxiety disorder. To this extent, many parents feel powerless as to helping their children cope up from this unlikely situation since not all are fortunate enough to have reliable knowledge about these kinds of disorders.

However, parents whose children are afflicted with anxiety disorder can actually learn about therapies that can assist them in dealing with this problem. These kinds of disorders are treatable. There are a number of childhood anxiety treatment programs available today.

And while there are many kinds of synthetic medications which can also help, it is better to use natural remedies for anxiety and children. This way you yourself are free from worries of the effects of drugs that may harm your child. Don’t be afraid to read materials about anxiety and children treatments. Some valuable tips can be found in these references. Study them and pick out the best method you can use for your child. Having knowledge of medical and natural anxiety treatment can greatly benefit you and your child at times when you needed it most.

There are also a lot of help that can be found online as well as in the local communities. Where available, parents can ask advice from child care experts or other professionals of the same field. These people will help you and provide you with very helpful solutions to your kids’ anxiety problems.

Above all, be sensitive to your children’s behavior and always make them feel they have your full attention. Study shows that talking to your children alone can help ease anxiety and panic attacks. Doing so will also enable you to quickly determine any form of anxiety and children related problems and you will know what assistance or childhood anxiety treatment your child best needs.

Tips on Helping Children with Anxiety Disorder

In today’s modern and fast paced lifestyle, our kids have more sources for their fears and worries. One is the separation anxiety. Another are those associated with school activities and meeting with kids of their age. The media has been a participant in increasing the rate of anxiety in children as well. They feel they cannot live up to the things they see to be ideal on your TV screen. Cyber bullying has also become more common in the internet - the place where kids usually want to hang out often these days.

While there is always reason for anxiety children on the other hand should never be neglected no matter how light the situation is to us. Some children don’t really display symptoms of anxious behavior but are actually already suffering from the inside. And that is just so sad. Of course, it is normal for children to feel anxiety at times and sometimes will help them in the growing process. But the real problem starts when anxiety begins to interfere with your child’s normal activities. When your child doesn’t want to go out to play with other kids because of anxiety, then you know you have a problem to solve. Here are some ideas to help you be able to help your child cope up with anxiety disorder:

1. Look for the signs
Children with social anxiety for example will often prefer locking up themselves in a room than join kids playing outside. Others will be afraid of going to school, and that might just show anxiety over a test or from kids bullying them at school. Children may also show some physical symptoms like headache, nausea and intense sweating. Do not overlook these symptoms.

2. Spend time with them
Children will most likely relax when they know they have someone they can talk to and share their fears with. Go ahead, ask questions. It is so much better to know what he is afraid about and start with that than just knowing nothing at all and regret later. Ask him how he feels and what he thinks most of the time. Doing so will give you the chance to know the problem in details.

3. Get professional help
Parents fall into trap of just taking care of the situation all by themselves and end up making things worse. Though there are many tips about anxiety children still need more special attention than what we just thought about. When you see your child constantly having anxiety disorder symptoms, consult a physician or other professionals who are expert on children’s health. Set an appointment with a doctor. He can tell you whether the symptoms may need medical treatment.

Basic Guidelines in Dealing with Childhood Anxiety Disorder without Medication

About 20 out of 100 children today have one or more cases of anxiety disorders. With the rise of domestic violence, terrorism, and natural calamities across the globe, children everywhere have now more reason to have too-high level of anxiety. Not to mention the violence the media promotes through computer games with explicit graphics, on television programs, the internet, etc.

Presently, there are at least nine reported types of anxiety disorders our kids experience these days which includes generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, school avoidance, and agoraphobia. Childhood anxiety disorder however is treatable. The most common forms of treatments are with using drugs for medications and psychotherapy, and sometimes a combination of both. Let us discuss about some methods in dealing with anxiety with your child but without medications:

1. Keep a healthy lifestyle. In a number of research done, health experts find out that failing to eat healthy meals and the lack of balanced nutrients in the body can trigger panic attacks. Your child’s body and mind resistance largely depend on the nutrition they consume. Dairy which is rich in diet, vegetables, and calcium rich food are highly recommended. Keep your child away from caffeine as it can affect the regular function of your child’s nervous system. Avoid junk foods and all types of processed food as much as possible. Also, many families who exercise regularly are known to have less chance of anxiety disorders in all family members.

2. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. It is always true that not getting enough sleep can increase stress level which will lead to worsen childhood anxiety disorder. An agreement within the family circle of turning the lights off before 10 in the evening can really help.

3. Practice relaxation methods. Meditation, deep breathing exercise and even yoga can also help ease panic attacks and stress. Make your home a place where your child can relax. Refrain from quarreling with your spouse. Don’t give a room for shouting, yelling, or screaming as these can just increase fear and nervous. Create a peaceful environment inside the home.

4. Lastly, provide adequate time to have more intimate conversation with your child. Your child needs someone to talk to and who will understand. So make sure you are not there just to flap your jaws but that you are there to listen and to understand. Doing so can make a huge impact on inviting your child to open up to you his worries and the things which stress him.

Childhood Anxiety Disorder – Solving It Naturally in 3 Easy Ways

Parents have to be aware that anxiety can happen to children even if they are just 18 months old. Childhood anxiety disorder usually happens because a child fears someone, being bullied, or scared with other people. It is not a medical disorder but somehow an emotional response that conjoins negative feeling including death, fear, and low self-esteem. This can badly produce and create physical response symptoms like fatigue, headache, dizziness, sweat, tremors, and vomiting.

It goes without saying that you as a parent will always be willing to help your child solve this kind of disorder. Having said that, you should also be able to tell whether your child is having signs and symptoms of childhood anxiety disorder. You must approach a pediatrician as quickly as possible to gather information regarding this disorder so that you may be able to help your child overcome anxiety if ever they are having one.

To help your child overcome anxiety problem, you should be able to know what the factors that are being triggered before fear and anxiety would come out. To help solve childhood anxiety disorder, here are some three easy ways that you can alternatively do.

Offer an extra time together with your child – children today really needs attention especially if this comes from their parents. But in our world today, we can barely make a promise to them to just even spend 30 minutes eating dinner together with the whole family because of the hectic schedules and business trips. However, no matter how busy you are, always find a way to have an extra time together with your family and children. Giving an extra time can make your children feel secured and this is the area where they can ask you questions and vice versa.

Give advice, share emotions – expressing in behalf with your family is really a healthy way and is really important to your children too. This is the part where your children are needed to be asked what fears them when they are in home or at school. Give some advice and be open towards your children. Help them develop a sense of self-esteem and confidence.

Watch your actions – being a parent means role-model towards your children. As a parent, you should learn to watch out with your actions because children can easily track down feelings of anxiety. You should be able to watch out for your actions because this might be the reason why your children are afraid of you. You should also learn how to deal with anxieties in your life.

Of course, it is really hard to deal your children with childhood anxiety disorder. If things are pretty big enough and that the condition is worse than you think you cannot do it alone, call a child expert to help you solve this kind of anxiety easily.

   See also:
      Anxiety in Children
     Child Anxiety Treatment


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