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Anxiety Disorders in Children

Anxiety Disorders in Children

It's normal for children and young people to feel worried or anxious from time to time – such as when they're starting school or nursery, or moving to a new area. There is now this new ‘thing’ they have been hearing about from family, friends, the TV, radio, internet, Coronavirus.

But for some, anxiety affects their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and social life. Now add to the lockdown happening in most countries and it is unimaginable what they must be going through.

I will be in the coming weeks discussing the following. Today I will concentrate on The first 3.

> What is anxiety? > What the symptoms are. > What can causes anxiety? > Types of anxiety. > I will follow that up with tips on how to help your child/ren, > And suitable therapies

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. The first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech may cause most people to feel fearful and nervous. But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of anxiety in children.

Signs to look out for in your child are: • finding it hard to concentrate • not sleeping, or waking in the night with bad dreams • not eating properly • quickly getting angry or irritable, and being out of control during outbursts • constantly worrying or having negative thoughts • feeling tense and fidgety, or using the toilet often • always crying • being clingy • complaining of tummy aches and feeling unwell

What causes anxiety?

We are all of us are born with the natural “fight or flight” response that helped our ancestors escape predators and other threats. When afraid or stressed, the part of our brain in control of the fight or flight response will cause the nervous, fearful feeling that we call anxiety. As explained earlier, we all experience anxiety at times, but people with anxiety disorders have difficulty in controlling their anxiety and it in turn interferes with their functioning and day to day life.

Biological factors

The brain has special chemicals, called neurotransmitters, these send messages back and forth to control the way a person feels. Serotonin and dopamine are two important neurotransmitters that, when “out of whack,” or not working as they should can cause feelings of anxiety.

Family factors

Just as a child can inherit a parent’s height, curly hair and nearsightedness, a child can also inherit that parent’s anxiety. In addition, anxiety may be learned from family members and others who are noticeably stressed or anxious around a child. For example, a child whose parent is a perfectionist may become a perfectionist too. Parents can also contribute to their child’s anxiety without realizing it by the way they respond to their child. For example, allowing a child to miss school when they are anxious about going, likely causes the child to feel more anxious the next school day.

Environmental factors

A traumatic experience (such as a divorce, illness, or death in the family) may also trigger the onset of an anxiety disorder.

I am looking forward to meet you and assist on your journey to balance and health. Book your connecting call here:

Greetings Nimu Githahu

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