Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety disorders in children are often overlooked or misjudged, even though they are treatable conditions. With quality and consistent medical care, children experiencing anxiety will learn to control and in some cases, eliminate the symptoms, before growing into adults with anxiety disorders. It is the consensus of the medical community adult anxiety disorders were first manifested in childhood, but left untreated it can turn into an adult version of an anxiety.

Anxiety, fear and worry are a part of life, and, some level is normal for both adults and children. If anxiety, fear and worry interfere with normal function, the problem is more than just ordinary anxiousness common to that particular age.

When children suffer from severe anxiety disorder, learning and concentration, perceptions of the environment and thinking and decision making ability is affected. Severe anxiety can cause children to avoid favorite places and activities, raise heart rate and blood pressure, and cause shortness of breath, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, ulcers and diarrhea. Other symptoms experienced may be self criticism and self doubt, sleep problems and sometimes thoughts of suicide.

13% of adolescents and children between the age of 9 and 17 experience some level of anxiety disorder. Girls are more affected than boys. Since as children grow and age, their fears change and research in this area becomes more difficult and often limits reliable results.

Some research suggests childhood anxiety disorders are caused by biological and psychological factors. Research also suggests when a parent has an anxiety disorder; children are more likely to develop an anxiety order.

Common anxiety disorders in children are panic disorder, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder and a myriad of phobias. Anxiety disorders in children often have unreasonable behaviors and sometimes physical complaints. Some of the symptoms and signs include problems with school, extreme nervousness and shyness, fear of and difficulty interacting with peers, fear of being away from home, crying spells, physical ailments such as upset stomach, headaches and fatigue, fear of being in the dark and sleeping alone, wetting the bed, difficulty concentrating and assembling rational thought and irritability and temper tantrums.

There are three methods commonly employed to treat childhood anxiety disorders. The first method is psychotherapy, the second is medication, and the third is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. According to a recent study, 81% of children age 7 to 17 years old saw improvement with combination treatment while 60% saw improvement with psychotherapy treatment. 55% saw improvement with antidepressant medication.

Since the three choices of treatment have a better than satisfactory success rate, parents have options and choices. Lifestyle changes along with one of the three options can have a dramatic effect when conquering anxiety disorders in children.

Click here to check out the Linden Method to treat child anxiety.