ANXIETY

OVERVIEW

Anxiety among children and adolescents is a perfectly normal part of development. Some children, however, experience an overwhelming sense of Anxiety and dread. Some experience symptoms of panic attacks and others can become so preoccupied with their triggers and symptoms that they negatively impact the child’s life in school, family relationships, peer relationships, and even their physical health.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder may include:

  • Severe Anxiety or worry
  • Restlessness or feeling edge
  • Constant fatigue
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

There are two sub-categories of Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Symptoms for these categories include:

Panic Disorder symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of doom
  • Repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Panic attacks
  • Periods of intense fear
  • Palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating, trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
  • Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
  • Avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred

Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Staying away from other people
  • Difficulty making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or shaking around other people
  • Fear of social situations
  • Anxiety about public speaking
  • Fear of engaging in an activity where the child feels embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful
  • Feeling highly anxious with other people
  • Difficulty talking to others
  • Symptoms can lead to school refusal and diminished social functioning
  • Being self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Worrying for days or weeks before a social event
  • Feeling nauseous or sick when other people are around

A thorough mental health evaluation is helpful as Anxiety disorders often coexist with other related conditions, such as Depression or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

WHY IDCC?

IDCC is staffed with mental health professionals who specialize in children’s Anxiety disorders, which allows for an integrated medical and psychological understanding of the child’s symptoms. To provide a diagnosis, a clinician will facilitate a comprehensive assessment for children and teenagers with heightened anxiety, fears, nervousness and worry. The diagnostic process is designed to be child-friendly, so each child feels safe and comfortable. A diagnosis will be provided, and treatment recommendations will follow in a time-efficient manner.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective treatment option for adolescent Anxiety disorders. Children and adolescents with Anxiety struggle with cognitive distortions that increase their anxious feelings. Helping children learn to identify their triggers, understand how Anxiety affects their behaviors, and how to replace their distorted thoughts using cognitive reframing is all part of the process that teaches children to manage their symptoms.

There are instances where Antidepressant medication, such as SSRIs, are used to treat a child’s Anxiety. Many times, these medications are prescribed for children with Depression and Anxiety because they are non-addictive and have relatively few side effects. Treating Anxiety disorders takes time and the right combination of tools. Parents often find that improvement ebbs and flows throughout the course of treatment. This is to be expected as children and adolescents learn to understand their Anxiety, identify their triggers, and find adaptive coping strategies that work for them.

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