All children experience anxiety at some point of time. Here are the different anxiety disorders that can affect your child.
All individuals experience anxiety at some moment in their lives. Anxiety can be defined as a feeling
of unease without any noticeable cause. Therefore, even if the
situation is normal, the individual still feels afraid that something
will happen to him. A certain level of anxiety is natural as it keeps
an individual from attempting a task, which is dangerous.
However, when anxiety proceeds beyond the acceptable level, it
leads to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are common in children,
but are often ignored or overlooked. This prevents children from
receiving treatment, while they are still in the early stages of the
disorder. It is estimated that most adults seeking therapy for anxiety
disorders displayed the initial symptoms when they were children.
Diagnosing an anxiety disorder involves determining the degree
of anxiety, as well as how much it is affecting a child's normal life.
Here are some of the different anxiety disorders.
A generalised anxiety disorder is a term given to anxiety that
involves a number of tasks or events. This form of anxiety occurs very
often and can last for six months or longer. This disorder is usually
mistaken for excessive worrying. It can put the child under a great deal of stress and prevent him from functioning normally.
There are a variety of symptoms associated with generalised anxiety.
Since the child cannot control his anxiety, he will constantly be 'on
edge' and will display restless tendencies. This will lead to fatigue,
irritability, tension, trouble concentrating on regular tasks, and
difficulty in falling asleep. The child may also experience periods
where he cannot remember anything because his mind goes blank.
A panic disorder is not the same as a panic attack.
A panic attack is described as a sudden intense feeling of fear,
accompanied by certain physical symptoms, in order to try and escape
the perceived threat. A panic attack can usually last for about thirty
minutes with its most intense effects being felt around ten minutes
into the attack.
In a panic disorder, a child may experience unexpected panic
attacks at regular intervals. This causes the child to become worried
because he does not know when the next attack is going to happen.
Repeated attacks can lead to changes in normal behaviour, in order to
cope with the attack. Panic attacks may arise out of anxiety associated
with a situation that is out of control. Physical symptoms associated
with panic attacks include increased heart rate, trembling, sweating, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness, inability to swallow, abdominal pain, and a feeling of being out of control.
This disorder deals with very specific physical manifestations of
anxiety. In this disorder, the child becomes obsessed with certain
ideas, urges, or thoughts that are unrelated or unwanted. These
obsessive thoughts are often accompanied by intense, repetitive
behaviours, which the child has no control over. The behaviour turns
into a compulsion when the time spent on it becomes excessive and
begins to interfere with a child's normal functioning.
A particular behaviour becomes compulsive when it begins occupying a
lot of time and proceeds to become a disruptive influence. The most
common obsessions deal with dirt or a fear of being contaminated by germs,
constant need for reassurance, a need to have objects arranged in a
particular order, etc. Compulsive behaviours in response to these
obsessions include constantly washing hands or taking baths, locking
and unlocking doors, using tissues or towels to touch objects, etc. The
behaviour is labelled as compulsive, if it occupies more than an hour
disorders affect 25 percent of adults. Although there are no statistics
available for the number of children affected, it is estimated that at
least 50 percent of them will experience an anxiety disorder during
childhood. Anxiety is a condition which can be treated and cured. It
requires recognising that the child may have an anxiety problem. If
your child is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, he can make a full
recovery following treatment.