Anxiety is one of the most common childhood disorders. Approximately 10% of children in the United States have experienced an anxiety disorder by the time they reach 18 years of age. People have linked childhood anxiety to depression and suicide in adulthood.
Anxiety is especially common among poor children, who have a family history of mental illness, have ADHD or other learning disabilities, or have been victims of abuse.
These children often exhibit symptoms that persist well into adulthood and can interfere with their ability to succeed in school and enjoy a fulfilling life.
We know how terrible anxiety can interfere with our lives. It’s even more debilitating when it happens to children who still need to learn a lot about the world.
As a parent, you might feel worried that your children’s anxiety will render them incapable of doing anything with their lives.
However, you need to remember that there are ways to manage anxiety in children. In this article, we will talk about how to identify and treat anxiety in children.
We will also discuss the different anxiety disorders that children can develop.
Photo by HiveBoxx on Unsplash.
Understanding Childhood Anxiety
It is important to understand what anxiety is and how it affects children.
Anxiety is a type of stress that can affect your child’s health and development. It may cause problems with learning, sleep, eating, or behavior.
For example, some kids become overly worried about school or exams and fail to enjoy their time at school because they are afraid of being made fun of by their peers.
Other kids become too concerned about bullies and bullying to enjoy going to school or playing with friends at recess.
Other kids may worry so much about doing well in class that they cannot concentrate on learning new things during the day.
Anxiety in childhood can be a problem for parents and for the child themselves. However, there are things you can do to help your child cope with their anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Children
Anxiety is characterized by symptoms such as fear, worry, and nervousness. The most common anxiety symptoms in children are:
- Excessive worry or fear about school or everyday life.
- Fear of the future.
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks.
- Fear of failure or embarrassment.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Inability to handle stressful situations.
We consider it a disorder when these symptoms persist and affect children’s daily life. Health professionals divide anxiety disorders into many categories, with the three most common are:
Photo by CDC on Unsplash.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
This is characterized by excessive worry and fear that disrupt everyday life. Children with GAD often experience symptoms of restlessness, fatigue, irritability, and sleep problems.
This is characterized by sudden attacks of intense fear or nervousness that peak within minutes and last for hours. Children with panic disorder may have a racing heart or feel dizzy or faint during the attack.
The symptoms of a panic attack may include shaking, chest pain, sweating, and a fear of losing control or dying.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
This is characterized by extreme shyness in social situations.
Children with SAD may avoid social situations that involve speaking in front of other people because they are afraid they will be ridiculed or judged negatively.
They may also feel very self-conscious about their appearance in front of others and may feel physically sick when thinking about what other people might think about them.
These disorders can be treated by addressing the underlying causes of the symptoms as well as by developing coping skills to deal with anxiety.
What Do Children Need to Manage Their Anxiety?
We can help children manage their anxiety by encouraging them to:
- Learn coping skills.
- Learn how to talk about their fears.
- Understand the importance of positive self-talk.
- Develop strategies for dealing with difficult situations.
- Receive help from parents and other family members.
Some children may need additional treatment for their anxiety disorders, such as medication or therapy.
Children who have a history of abuse or neglect are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than children who have not experienced these traumas.
However, even if your child has a history of anxiety in childhood, there are things you can do to help them overcome their anxiety and live a happy life.
Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash.
Anxiety in Childhood, Will It Ruin Children’s Future?
Anxiety is a serious disorder that can cause children to suffer emotionally and mentally. While anxiety in childhood may not be easy to deal with, there are things you can do to help your child cope with their anxiety.
The disorder can be debilitating. It’s not exaggerated when some people say anxiety can turn their world upside down.
However, having anxiety doesn’t mean children can’t have a bright future. It’s important to understand the disorder and how to treat it.
To learn more about how to manage anxiety in children, visit our website, The Mindful Parent.