Children suffer from different conditions of anxiety and medical world consider it to be normal, but chronic symptoms of anxiety needs medical intervention and some treatment for anxiety in children. More chronic cases of child anxiety might drive them to conditions of depression which is more life threatening. Lack of treatment leads to more complex conditions of anxiety and most children need professional guidance to overcome the condition.
What is anxiety in children?
Anxiety in children is witnessed in different periods of their growth and it is considered as a temporary phase that passes away with development. Anxiety in children in broader sense may include shyness in crowd, difficulty in adjusting with new surroundings, difficulty in expressing feelings, lack in coping ability and separation anxiety. Above all, children tend to become anxious because of their fears pertaining to certain things, talks or individuals that might go away with age, but in some cases might require a medical intervention. For example: toddlers have fear of height and noisy surroundings while the school going kids might develop fear of failure, ghosts, exams and physical injuries.
Symptoms of child anxiety:
Though children might not have clear and loud expressive powers like that of adults, they are gifted with the ability of showing up their problems in front of their adults. But at times, adults take those issues lightly and consider them to be fake complains. Even if nothing is said by children about their anxiety, it can be identified by the below mentioned signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty in getting accustomed with changes
- Avoiding participation in social events
- Frequent crying and worries about prospective incidents
- High level of shyness accompanied with inability to gel with other children
- Frequent incidences of getting frighten disrupting regular activities
- Fear of making error and feeling uncomfortable because of mistakes
- Physical symptoms may include headache or stomach ache without precise reason
Causes of child anxiety:
As mentioned earlier, children pass through different stages of development and witness stages of anxiety. The behavior of a child can help to recognize the cause of that particular instance of anxiety. Basically anxiety in children is triggered by three major factors i.e. their inheritance, their role models and their social setup. Studies reveal that children of restless parents are likely to build up 7 times more anxious nature than children of non-anxious parents. Moreover what you do is been replicated by your children and that is why the anxious nature of parents or teachers are all absorbed by children and they tend to become anxious. Disturbed social life of parents like divorce, demise of keen family member or distress causing events may also develop anxiety disorder in children of all ages.
Treatment for anxiety in children:
Love and family support are important building blocks for a child to regain confidence and come out of anxiety, but in certain chronic cases of anxiety disorder, medical intervention becomes inevitable. Below mentioned are few ways to treat anxiety in children:
- Self help: As a parent of anxious child, the first step in treating anxiety may include observing child behavior and then talking to the child regarding the same. For reference, one can refer to different books available with medical associations on treating anxiety in children via self help. Further, parents can even talk to school regarding the problem and try to make out schooling conditions that might cause anxiety in their child. Self help is more of a talk therapy wherein child suffering from anxiety disorder might feel comfortable to express his/her concerns in more protective environment. The medical term for the treatment is Cognitive behavioral therapy wherein child learns to identify unrealistic thinking pattern to be replaced by positive and more practical thoughts and behavior.
- Medication: In cases where Cognitive behavioral therapy does not work, medication needs to administer as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are most popular medications used today to treat anxiety disorder in children. These medicines given in conjunction with other behavioral therapies defined to treat child anxiety. According to FDA, medications for treating anxiety in children have major side effects like nausea, headache, sleeplessness, stomach pain and even thoughts of suicide in certain chronic cases. So it is always advisable to go in for professional guidance while doing treatment for anxiety in children.