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Child Anxiety: Symptoms, Help, Treatment, Medication

Child Anxiety

Is your child extremely shy? Does he/she fear normal activities like joining school events, facing his/her classmates and so forth? Is he/she constantly worried or fearful over things that you have already explained clearly to him/her? These may be early symptoms of anxiety problems in your child. Your child must be diagnosed early to determine whether he/she needs child anxiety treatment.

Child Anxiety: Symptoms, Help, Treatment, Medication

In today’s fast life, everybody undergoes a certain degree of stress and anxiety. The fast shifting facades of lifestyle, relationship, workplace or the need to be ahead in the rat race have given rise to the mental stress and anxiety in mostly all lives. It is sad but true that anxiety does not require any age, it is now commonly seen in people of all age groups and even children. In most cases, adults fail to recognize the symptoms of anxiety among children and the poor child has to deal with it without any helpful treatment.

Research has shown that today, almost one out of ten children suffer from anxiety disorders. But the good news is with proper professional guidance and compassionate behavior, this can be easily overcome.

   See alsoAnxiety in Children

Child Anxiety Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety seen in children are frequent bad dreams, extreme shyness, constant fear, sudden bed wetting, excessive worrying, panicking even at minor incidents, severe hard-headedness, very low self-esteem, restlessness, lack of concentration, poor performance in school, tiredness, bad temper, stressed muscles, sleeplessness, violent activities, among others.

Since no two children have exactly the same signs, the elders in the family must really be alert always and should be on the lookout for any variation of a kid’s behavior. And when such variation becomes prolonged, the appropriate doctor must be consulted.

Some exceptional symptoms may be complaints of chest pain or abdominal pain, excessive sweating or shivering, breathlessness (shortness of breath), giddiness, increased heartbeat, hot flushes or tingling, vomiting tendency etc. the child may feel uneasy in new surroundings, feel scared to sleep alone or go anywhere alone.

If any of these symptoms persists in a child for more than six months, it is good to take help from an expert. The specialist may reach the root of the problem the child is facing and suggest an infallible solution. A helping hand extended by the parents or other family members also is of immense help for a child to come back to the mainstream and lead a perfectly normal life.

   See alsoAnxiety Disorders in Children

Child Anxiety Causes

If any form of anxiety disorder tends to run in the family, the children can also have anxiety. However, even if there has been no known history of this in the clan, parents should be wary that this can happen to their respective kids due to this modern era’s frequently stressful pace of living, and especially if there has been a recent major change like a divorce, a new sibling, moving to a new home, a relative’s or a pet’s death, and the like.

Anxiety in childhood may be due to various reasons:

Many experts believe it is due to the fast changing parent-child relationship of the modern world. Today in most households both the parents have to go out to work or are busy in their respective lives. They spent very less time with their kids, which make them feel lonely and insecure.

Children are also expected to enter the rat race at a very early stage which leaves them with no time for playing out in the open or befriending friends of the same age-group.

Divorces amongst partners have become rampant which also causes the child to panic.

Other reasons may be death of a pet or someone very close, birth of a sibling, any severe illness etc.

Sometimes children fail to communicate with elders about some abuse or phobia and that manifests as fretful behavior in them.

Meanwhile, there are other causes of kids’ being overly anxious, such as school problems (bullying at school, trouble with homework, or any other stresses), weak coping abilities, excessive fear of something, separation problems, and the parents’ inconsistent or too strict discipline ways.

Help your Child with Anxiety: Child Anxiety Treatment at Home

If your child is suffering from a child anxiety disorder, there are different things you can try to help them relax and live as normal a life as possible:

The first step is to listen to your child. No matter how annoying and frustrating it can be to deal with your child’s radical emotion, imagine how difficult it is for him to express himself especially when the other kids do not seem to reflect the same level of anxiousness. He may isolate himself or ignore the signs which could prevent from the early treatment of his problem. His fear may later on develop into anger as it may seem like a suitable outlet or he can hate himself which could lead to depression.

Try different ideas to help them sleep better at night. Most children dealing with anxiety, even if they are extremely tired, have difficulties falling or staying asleep at night and in turn this only adds to their stress especially if it leads to insomnia. Reading to your child at bedtime helps them feel tired and relaxed. You should make it a sort of routine to brush their teeth and get them ready for bedtime and then read a book or two before they go to sleep. This gives them something to look forward to each night. You can also try playing soft music for them, or singing a lullaby to them. Children enjoy spending time with their parents’ period, and these are all easy ways to get them to relax at night.

You should also keep an eye on their schooling and make sure things are okay in that regard. School can put a lot of stress on a child, and you want to make sure there is nothing going on at school that is triggering their anxiety. They may be getting bullied, feel as though they have too much homework, or just not be catching on to their schoolwork. Talk to your child, especially before tests or exams at school, to see if they need any help or advice.

Child anxiety treatment will depend on a specific patient’s situation. But, it can be started or even entirely done at home, as soon as the symptoms manifest themselves. In this regard, every family member should help, and there must ideally be collaboration with the teachers, the school’s guidance counselor, the neighbors, and the concerned child’s friends.

When a kid opens up about his or her fears, or any bothersome feeling, this must not be disregarded, but dealt with love and concern. On the other hand, if the affected child does not say a thing and is in fact aloof, the parents or older siblings should exert efforts to reach out by being extra caring and through offering comfort, whilst promoting loving encouragement of opening up.

Immediately after the family members have proven that indeed, their beloved little one is experiencing anxiety, or even just stress, simple depression, or fear that can lead to anxiety, their attention should be on him or her. More enjoyable activities on family bonding, as well as exercise, must be done. In the long run, if there will be no improvement on the child’s condition, it will be best to consult the current pediatrician or a reliable psychiatrist.

Typically, doctors give relevant therapies like the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Play Therapy, and if unsuccessful, will prescribe medication (like the Benzodiazepines, the Tricyclic Antidepressants, and the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Prior to letting a child patient take any medicine, it is a wise move to make personal research first and to ask around.

Child Anxiety Treatment

Child anxiety comes in different degrees of severity and may last from a week to a couple of months. Although it can be initially treated with therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, if his fear impedes his daily activities and causes destructive behavior child anxiety medication may be introduced.

When discussing child anxiety treatment they generally fall into several categories. First are psychological treatments which are common treatments for child anxiety. These include cognitive behavior therapy – which focuses on understanding feelings and automatic responses and thoughts, identifying errors in thinking, and more. Cognitive Behavior therapy is and continues to be a fairly successful child anxiety treatment if the kid has the cognitive abilities to monitor himself or herself. Psychotherapy is also a child anxiety treatment which focuses on the origins of problems. Behavioral Therapies focus on techniques, such as guided imagery, as a child anxiety treatment.

Another form of child anxiety treatment includes environmental treatments. This includes reducing as many stimulants as possible, eliminating caffeine, reduce the consumption of asthma and diet pills, and any other decongestants. Getting sleep, proper healthy sleep, is also an important environment child anxiety treatment. In addition to removing these things from an environment one must also look at how to reduce stressors or stressful tasks that trigger the child’s anxiety.

In addition to psychological or therapeutic treatments there are pharmacological treatments. These include Benzodiazepines, Serotonergic Agents, Tricyclic Antidepressants, Serotonin Agents, Antihistamines, and Tranquilizers. Of course using medication as a child anxiety treatment has potential side effects and should only be considered in extreme conditions.

Child Anxiety Medication

Medication has proven to be effective at helping treat child anxiety disorder. It is up to you as a parent whether or not you allow your child to start on medication. As long as you talk with your doctor and research thoroughly before starting your child on any prescription drugs, it should not be a problem. If it can help relieve their anxiety symptoms and help them lead a more normal life, it may be more than worth it.

It can take some trial and error to figure out what works for your own child’s anxiety disorder, but the most important thing is you are taking steps towards finding a treatment and dealing with the problem, rather than just ignoring it.

To treat the effect of the anxiety such as palpitations, fast heart beats, restlessness or panic attacks. Benzodiazepines (such as Valium) can provide immediate effects. Antihistamines are given to those with mild to moderate depressions. For extreme cases, tranquilizers are also recommended. Anti-depressants can also be used at the same time. It would also help to lessen the stress or source of anxiety for the child. The idea is to encourage him to face his fears rather than avoiding them.

Although these provide immediate relief, there are also side effects like developing tolerance for the pill, becoming over-dependent on them, drug abuse and withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety can also recur once the patient stops taking the medicine.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of these child anxiety medication, you have to monitor your child’s progress and see if his behavior improves. Also, it would not hurt to be more supportive and patient with your child’s situation.


Whatever child anxiety treatment is followed, there will surely be a great improvement on the patient if there is love and care showered by the parents, the siblings, the other relatives, the friends, and the teachers. Child anxiety does happen, and this should not be regarded as a curse or as something to be despised of. And if this happens in a certain family, everybody must contribute to assist the involved kid towards total recovery, even if the process may be long and tiring. With unconditional love, utmost affection, and sincere concern all around, there is a possibility that the said child will help himself or herself to get well.


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