Is Your Child Suffering From Anxiety?

teen, girl, nervousIncreasingly, I am hearing about more and more kids suffering from anxiety. What’s going on? Are we putting so much pressure on our children, they are (understandably) cracking under the strain? Some kids are affected so badly, they can’t go to school or participate in extracurricular activities. My parenting style is usually to ignore or blow off anything not requiring an emergency room visit. Particularly, I have little patience for drama. However, after taking a look at the facts regarding anxiety in children, I am going to pay more attention as my eldest enters 7th grade and the teenage years loom before me like a three-headed beast. Back to school is a time of anxiety for many children, and the transition can cause stress for everyone. If you are concerned your child’s anxiety goes beyond the norm, talk to your pediatrician. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a list of symptoms to look for.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 25% of 13-18 year olds have an anxiety disorder and about 6% of 13-18 year olds have a severe disorder. Children with ADHD are more likely to have an anxiety disorder.

child, scared, teddy bearThere are different types of anxiety disorders in children, including obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, selective mutism, school refusal and generalized anxiety disorder. Many of these are diagnosed at young ages.

Anxiety disorders often present with a co-occuring disorder. Children with anxiety are at increased risk for having: depression, an eating disorder, sleep disorders and substance abuse. They perform more poorly in school and the anxiety can affect them socially.

Anxiety is more common in females.

Anxiety disorders are treatable.

Anxiety is treatable. If you are worried your child has an anxiety disorder, speak to your pediatrician.

dad worried about child, parent worried, parent helping childThe Anxiety and Depression Association of America, offers the following advice for parents of children suffering with anxiety.

Here are things you can do at home to help your child manage his or her anxiety disorder:

  • Pay attention to your child’s feelings.
  • Stay calm when your child becomes anxious about a situation or event.
  • Recognize and praise small accomplishments.
  • Don’t punish mistakes or lack of progress.
  • Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine.
  • Modify expectations during stressful periods.
  • Plan for transitions (For example, allow extra time in the morning if getting to school is difficult)
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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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