5 Types And 9 Ways To Deal With Anxiety Disorders In Your Kid
SAARA FATEMA DOCTOR ON NOVEMBER 13, 2014
Anxiety is a state of nervousness that brings along with it variety of mental disorders, accompanied by bouts of panic attacks. Anxiety in children is an obscure, unpleasant emotion, which is experienced in anticipation of an unknown fear. Anxiety is adaptive and normal in children.
Everyone from the young to the old experience anxiety once in their life. Normal level of anxiety can enable you to solve the problem more efficiently. Whereas chronic levels of anxiety can reduce your child’s capacity to respond appropriately and have a serious impact on his daily life.
Anxiousness usually affect a child’s thinking because the anticipated danger that they are concerned about appears to them much greater than what it actually is in reality. It results in other physical ailments such as stomach ache, insomnia, diarrhea, irritability, nightmares, restlessness and difficulty in concentration. If your child needs a strong need of reassurance very often, then he may be overly anxious.
Types Of Anxiety Disorders In Children:Your children can be prone to more than one type of disorder at the same time. Listed below are few types of commonly seen anxiety disorders.
1. Panic Disorder:Panic disorder is the most commonly observed anxiety disorder in children. This kind of disorder is characterized by unpredictable panic attacks, sometimes even during sleep, followed with an unknown fear of oncoming bad incident. A panic attack is often accompanied with symptoms such as losing control, feeling shaky or going crazy. Sometimes your child may not wish to go school because of the fear that something awful will happen to him. Frequent panic attack means that your child has a panic disorder that needs treatment.
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):Seen in a lot children, obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by having frequent intrusive thoughts which engage them multiple times compulsively in an attempt to reduce the feeling of anxiety. For example, a child who is frightened of germs will repeatedly wash his hands in order to avoid catching a disease.
3. Separation Anxiety Disorder:Some children have excessive anxiety about being away from their family. Such children may refuse to go to school, may cling on to their parents when they try to leave the home or may even want someone to stay with them at bedtime. Children with separation anxiety disorder constantly complain of feeling sick when separated and have a sense that something terrible will occur while they are separated from their parents or left alone. This type of anxiety disorder in children is more common in six to nine years age group.
4. Selective Mutism:This is a term used to describe the children who refuse or are reluctant to speak in certain forums and are okay talking in some others. Children with selective mutism worry about speaking in situations that make them feel anxious. They are often seen comfortable talking to their parents and tend to stand motionless, avoiding eye contact or turn away their heads while talking to others. This usually happens when a child enters the school between 4 to 9 years of age.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that your child develops after suffering directly or witnessing a traumatic event. Irritability, sleeping patterns, flashbacks of the traumatic event, lack of concentration, nightmares and vivid memories are symptoms of such disorder.
How To Reduce Anxiety In Children?
If your child is facing any kind of anxiety disorders, your position in their lives takes precedence. Here are some effective ways with which you can tackle the situation as a parent.
1. Encourage Your Child To Share His/Her Fears:The most important thing is to first make a note about your child’s nervousness so that his/her difficulties can be addressed sooner rather than later. Encourage your child to share his/her anxieties and make them believe that it is okay to be scared or fear something. Discuss the fear in detail to understand what scares your child the most. You can then have a brief discussion about your child’s fear and emotions with a counselor in case the intensity becomes chronic.
2. Encourage Your Child To Face His/Her Fears:Encourage your child not to avoid and run away from his fears. Explain him that anxiety is not dangerous and that avoiding or running away from his anxiety(ies) will not solve the problem. Although anxiety disorders are a little uncomfortable, they eventually decrease with your constant support and participation.
3. Rewire & Explain:Ask your child what is actually scaring him and what might actually happen. Help him find inner strength by asking to check whether these intrusive thoughts really make sense. This is a constructive way of making your child understand the fear better.
4. Parental Behavior:Sometimes sharing your own experiences enables your child to fight the problem better. Help your child by being a role model. Explain them as to how you cope positively when you are stressed. This will make him more confident. Children look up to their parents to determine how to react in a situation.
5. Do Not Take Over:Children suffering from anxiety disorders are very glad when they have parents to do things for them. This is not acceptable, as children will then never learn to cope up themselves. So avoid taking over their difficulties. Let your child deal with the situation on his own.
6. Reward Your Child:The little rewards will always lift your child’s spirits. Appreciate and reward your child for his small accomplishments on every step for managing disorders. Reward him with a tight hug or something tangible like a chocolate, ice-cream, gifts, etc.
7. Offer Comfort:Your child will largely benefit from your constant support and company. Try to play a favorite game of your child, cuddle him in your lap or do something that makes him happy. Bond well with your child so that he enjoys being with you and listens to what you tell him. By doing so he will share his fears and you can help him get over the same.
8. Physical Activities:Get your child outside for a walk to boost his mood. This will help him lift his spirits and give him a new perspective of revisiting his situation. Apart from this, make sure your child is eating healthy foods as lack of nutrition in his diet can contribute to stress and anxieties even more.
9. Minimize Scary Television:It is best to limit your child from watching scary shows, as your child will be less likely to get scared due to the visual impact.
Understand that dealing with anxieties will take time for anybody and your child is no exception. Try the above methods to enhance the communication channels between the both of you. If you think that in-spite of all the efforts your child is still suffering from high level of anxiety disorder, you have to immediately seek the help of a therapist.