Anxiety Disorders in Children

childrenanxiety

Did you know that children experience anxiety and stress just as much or even more than  adults do? 

Recent studies have suggested  that  the  amount  of children with anxiety disorders has increased drastically over the past few decades.  The United States  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  has  stated  that  one  in  every  ten  children experience some form of  anxiety.

So, what are the causes of anxiety and stress­ related disorders in children?  Anxiety  is  a  disorder  that  arises  from  both biological and/or environmental factors.  That’s right, anxiety can be hereditary!  If this disorder runs in your family, it is quite possible that your child may inherit it.

Certain  environmental  factors  can  lead  children  to  become stressed.  The  pressure  of getting  good  grades,  fitting  in,  and  excelling  in sports  are some  examples  of stress  inducing situations.  Stressful situations  can  ultimately lead to  anxiety if they  occur  on  a regular  basis.

 

The tricky part, which is also the most detrimental, is noticing the behavioral patterns and characteristics of anxiety.  These symptoms are not always clearly detected, as they may easily be  missed  by  your  child’s  pediatrician. 

We  have  included  some  signs  of  anxiety  from  the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Addition (or the DSM­5).

Six Signs of Anxiety:

  • Restlessness: If your  child is feeling  and/or behaving  “on  edge,” or if he or she is not able to relax mentally, physically, and/or emotionally.
  • Irritability: If your child gets easily frustrated or if his or her mood/behavior seems to “swing” out of control.
  • Disruption  or  Lack  of  Concentration:  If  your  child  is  finding  it  difficult  or  almost impossible to focus on most tasks.
  • Fatigue: If your child is (more often than not) feeling tired or becoming easily mentally, physically, and/or emotionally “drained.”
  • Muscle  Tension:  If  your  child  can  not  relax  his  or  her  muscles,  and  if  their  muscles remain semi­ contracted in situations where they should not be contracted at all.
  • Sleep  Disturbance: If  your  child  is  experiencing  difficulty  falling  asleep  and/or
    remaining asleep for the duration of the night.

 

If you believe that anxiety may be an issue in your home, don’t worry!  There is a lot that can be done to monitor and/or salvage your child’s symptoms of anxiety.  Stay tuned for some fun and effective ways to help you and your child cope with and manage their anxiety!

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