Does your child demonstrate symptoms of anxiety? Do you have trouble getting him or her to go to school? Or does he/she have trouble sleeping at night? Some symptoms of childhood anxiety are physical. Many physical ailments and pains are caused by anxiety and stress. Parents who aren’t aware of the physical symptoms caused by anxiety feel very frightened that there could be something seriously wrong with their child.
You don’t have to worry all that much anymore! If you can recognize symptoms of childhood anxiety, you can help your kid overcome it.
Children can be anxious about anything. An anxiety disorder usually starts from 7 – 9 months of age, during which time the infant fears being held by strangers. Young children are afraid of monsters, bugs, ghosts, etc. Teens feel anxiety about school, peer pressure, friends, and so forth.
Here are the psychological symptoms of childhood anxiety:
• Trouble concentrating
• Refusal to go to school
• Separation anxiety
• Being overly clingy
• Fear that something bad is about to happen
• Afraid of going outside
• Irrational fears
The physical symptoms of childhood anxiety include:
• Muscle tension
• Shortness of breath
• Stomach problems
• Chest tightness and pain
• Feeling of being smothered
• Feeling a lump in throat
• Head numbness
• Grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw
• Heart palpitations
Not all children experience the same symptoms. Anxiety affects everyone differently. Sometimes the symptoms occur even when the child isn’t experiencing an attack. For children with anxiety disorder, the symptoms can come and go at any time.
Anxiety attacks don’t have to have a cause. For some children, they can occur day or night. This is known as a generalized anxiety disorder. Kids who have specific phobias can have separation anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and so forth. Some experience post-traumatic stress disorder. If they have specific fears, they can be treated with gradual exposure therapy.
Here are a few ways that you can help your child:
• Try to be understanding and patient. No matter how trivial their fears seem, you should still take them seriously. To a child, the fears are very real.
• Build their self-esteem and personal strength. Praise them for facing challenges or trying something new. Kids with anxiety usually have self-esteem issues, so do whatever you can to make them feel good about themselves.
• You can reduce your child’s anxiety by establishing a consistent routine in your household. Don’t underestimate the importance of consistency and predictability. Having a predictable routine in your household is especially helpful for children with separation anxiety. They know what to expect and when.
• Don’t forget to discuss the anxiety disorder with the teachers and administrators. They need to be made aware of the fact that your child has a genuine disorder, and isn’t just “acting out”.
• Teach your child how to stay calm with relaxation techniques. He/she should learn how to breathe deeply in order to keep the heart rate down. One good breathing technique is to inhale slowly for a few seconds, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale.
It’s essential that you get your child the help he/she needs, as anxiety is a real mental health issue. Keep in mind that the symptoms of childhood anxiety can co-concur with other health issues, such as depression, bipolar, and attention deficit disorder. If left untreated, they can turn to alcohol and substance abuse when they are teenagers.
Now that you recognize the symptoms of childhood anxiety, you can arrange for your child to get the help that he or she needs. You can also learn techniques that parents can do to help their kids overcome anxiety.
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