Fears, anxiety, or stress may begin to interfere with a child's normal daily routine or needed activities (school, eating, sleeping). When this occurs, the child would be well served to see a child therapist for a short period of time. Usually a professional can help the child quickly discover where the fear, anxiety, or stress is coming from and help them find a way to resolve it. This type of assistance can free your child up to continue to live a normal life and may prevent more serious problems that can develop from persistent fears, anxiety, or stress. At the Counseling Corner some of our therapist specialize in treating childhood anxiety.
Anxiety problems in children have a variety of different causes and can present in very different ways. Anxiety in childhood may present as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty eating, difficulty at school, difficulty visiting others, problems making new friends, extreme problems with separation from the parent. Anxiety problems may also present as extreme fear of certain objects, things, or animals. Anxiety problems can often present as difficulty with transitions or with new situations, rigidity, stubbornness, and will often times be accompanied by temper tantrums and/or acting out behaviors. In obsessive compulsive problems a child is overwhelmed with recurrent worries over something. Common obsessions may include needing things to be perfectly in order, things to be lined up perfectly, fear of germs, fear of death, or fear the house may burn down, and many other fears. To help themselves cope children with anxiety disorders will often time develop behaviors or rituals which are called compulsions. Organizing, checking locks, cleaning, hand washing, are a few common compulsions seen when this is going on.
Panic disorder is another common and treatable form of anxiety problem. Children and adolescents with panic disorder have unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear, discomfort, a racing heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, trembling as well as other possible symptoms.
Problems with anxiety frequently occur after an overwhelming event. Death of a family member, divorce, abuse, witnessing violence, a difficult move, a change in schools, or stress in the family as well as many other difficult situations may result in an anxiety problem for a child or adolescent. If the events were very traumatic the child or adolescent may develop what is termed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Symptoms may include sleep problems, separation fears, temper tantrums, aggressiveness, being easily startled, or a recurrent need to ensure the safety of themselves and/or others.
Many parents make the mistake of waiting for things to get better on their own. Often, things do not. Most cases of anxiety disorder in children can be easily helped by seeing a trained therapist who specializes in treating children and adolescents. If you think your child might be suffering from childhood anxiety problems contact us at the Counseling Corner and one of out child counselors would be glad to assist you and your child.