Anxiety and Children
What is anxiety?
Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. In some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause individuals to dread everyday situations.
Often, anxiety can first be identified during childhood.
Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder.
Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this does not make development of the condition inevitable.
Early traumatic experiences can also reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress.
The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations that typify anxiety are often accompanied by physical symptoms.
These include: muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination.
What are some warning signs that my child is anxious?
Warnings signs of anxiety can include physical complaints such as headaches, stomachaches, school refusal, anger, and avoiding activities.
Current information on anxiety:
Anxiety disorders impact one in eight children.
Research shows that children with untreated anxiety disorders are at a higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
Childhood and adolescence is the core risk phase for the development of symptoms of anxiety that may range from mild symptoms to full-blown anxiety disorders.
How is anxiety treated?
Behavioral therapies, with or without medication to control symptoms, have proved highly effective against anxiety, especially in children.