A Look At Anxiety Disorder in Children

Anxiety disorder is a mental health problem that can negatively affect people of all ages, including children. This is surprising to lots of people who think children don’t have anything to be anxious about. But in reality, anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in children, affecting as many as ten percent of young people.

When you get down to it, no matter how bad or crippling a mental disorder can be in an adult, it’s a thousand times worse when it’s a child who is suffering with it. Along with seriously disturbing the individual’s normal life style as it does in an adult, anxiety disorder in children can also negatively affect their ability to develop. This can have really serious repercussions on the rest of the child’s life.

This is the reason why it’s so important to catch and successfully treat any case of anxiety disorder in children as quickly as possible. Without successful and quick treatment, your child’s future mental health could be in jeopardy.

However, anxiety disorder in children is often quite difficult to diagnose in that it can be combined with a lot of other conditions at the same time. It often accompanies obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as ADHD, depression, and many other serious conditions.

Children with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have recurring fears and worries that they find difficult to control. They may have worries about almost anything or everything such as school, sports, being on time, or even natural disasters. They may be restless, irritable, tense, or easily tired, and they may have trouble concentrating or sleeping. Children with GAD are usually eager to please others and may be “perfectionists.” They become totally dissatisfied with their own less-than-perfect performance, which can be particularly disturbing and anxiety producing to the child.

Although anxiety disorder in children is not clearly understood, there are many ways to treat it. The approach however, varies a great deal with each individual child and the underlying causes and characteristics of his/her particular case of anxiety disorder.

An approach which has been traditionally discredited in treating anxiety disorder in children, but which is really gaining ground very quickly, is to use proper diet and nutrition, combined with physical exercise. If a child is poorly nourished and under exercised, they can become anxious, distracted, and unproductive – not to mention unhealthy. This is why, although it doesn’t under most circumstances completely solve the problem, a good diet must be part of any treatment plan of anxiety disorder in children. This focus on a healthy diet can even help to treat panic and anxiety disorders in adults as well!

Of course, there are many other things that are useful in treating anxiety disorder in children. For example, therapy combined with medication is the most classic approach, and has been most successful so far. The use of medication allows the child to quickly get his or her anxiety under control, and then the therapy helps to address the underlying causes.

Additional helpful forms of treatment for anxiety disorder in children include meditation or biofeedback. Herbal and other nutritional supplements are also sometimes used with various and sometimes skeptical results. The main thing is to try several approaches until you find what works for your particular child.

By identifying, diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders early, parents and other caregivers can help children reach their full potential. The main thing to remember is that anxiety disorders are treatable especially when diagnosed early. Effective treatment for anxiety disorders may include some form of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, medications and don’t forget diet and nutrition.

Children who exhibit persistent symptoms of an anxiety disorder should be referred to and evaluated by a mental health professional who specializes in treating children. The diagnostic evaluation may include psychological testing and consultations with other specialists. A comprehensive treatment plan should be developed with the family, and, whenever possible, the child should be involved in making treatment decisions.