Has your child been suffering from anxiety? It’s a frightening experience for a parent to see their child going through an anxiety attack. Childhood is supposed to be a fun, happy time, not a stressful time. Kids with anxiety can experience a lot of fear and unpleasantness. It affects his or her emotional AND physical well-being.
You can help improve your little one’s emotional and physical well-being by providing him or her with the right amount of support. There are plenty of treatments available. Some are conventional and some are not so conventional.
The treatments include physical and psychological approaches. Physical treatments only provide relief for the symptoms. Behavioral therapy is often recommended for the psychological aspects.
When treating children with anxiety, it’s important to realize that there is often an underlying cause. In many adolescents, the disorder can be classified as bi-polar, attention deficit disorder, social anxiety, separation anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or generalized anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Medication
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually recommended for adolescents with anxiety disorders. This type of therapy teaches kids techniques that they can use to reduce frustration, anger, and stress. They learn how to feel better about themselves. Children need to learn how to overcome negative thinking patterns and to develop self-esteem.
There are some medications used for treating children with anxiety. These are usually used in conjunction with therapy. According to research, a combination of an antidepressant and CBT works best for children ages 7-17. The antidepressants can be a long-term or short-term option, depending on the severity of the child’s symptoms.
In addition to antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and benzodiazepines may also be used. The benzodiazepines are usually given for older adolescents.
There are many things you can do to help your child recover from anxiety quickly. Kids look to their parents for support, advice, and encouragement. Here are some alternative treatments that have a calming effect on your kid almost immediately:
• Teach relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and positive mantras. The breathing exercises are especially helpful for children with anxiety. They can be done anywhere: at home, at school, in the doctor’s office, etc. Teach your child how to sit up straight and inhale slowly; hold their breath in for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Their eyes should be closed, and their hands should be over their stomach.
• Modify their diet. Don’t let them eat junk food and processed foods. Limit the amount of caffeine they can drink. Give them at least five small meals a day. This will keep them from getting hungry; when kids are hungry, they are more likely to have an anxiety attack.
• Give your child encouragement and positive feedback every day. Don’t demand that they face their fears; just give them encouragement that they are brave enough to face them. Let them know that they can always ask for your help when they need it.
• When parents push children too hard, they develop low self-esteem. As a result, they experience anxiety because they try to please their parents. Understand that your child has weaknesses and strengths. Address those weaknesses and strengths with him/her. While you should encourage your kid, you should only put the focus on things that you know he/she is capable of. Provide support for what they are good at, and not what you want them to be good at.
• Children who exercise every day experience less anxiety than kids who just sit around all day. In order to get your kid excited about exercise, you have to be excited over it yourself. Start taking them to the gym or to the park. Encourage bike riding or swimming. Go on a family hike a few times a week.
• Teach him or her how to solve problems. Help your child identify his/her worries and problems, and then encourage him/her to come up a solution. Simply telling a child that they’ll get over something isn’t enough. Help them brainstorm so that they can choose the best solution to their problem(s).
Treating children with anxiety isn’t all that difficult if you follow these techniques. However, they are just a few examples of the many methods adults can use to help their children get over an anxiety disorder.
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