Anxiety is common to everyone, children included. Many experts, even Psychologists, have stated that anxiety is a standard element during our childhood years, and all children go through with different anxiety phases. A single anxiety phase is typically harmless and momentary. Such phase is frequently forgotten and does not traumatize a child. However, once a phase becomes rampant and a child develops fear or nervousness, it becomes an anxiety disorder.
What is Anxiety?
By simple definition, anxiety means unease, fretfulness, concern, and nervousness. It is generally a type of stress. In such type, anxiety can be encountered in several different ways such as emotionally, physically, socially and mentally. It is chiefly related to what could happen or what might be the end result – worrying about something might go wrong or a feeling that you are in danger.
Anxiety is just a normal reaction to humans as it serves a vital function biologically. It is your natural alarm system that is stimulated every time you identify a threat. Whenever your mind and body react, you may feel dizzy, heavily breathing, fast heart rate, and/or your body trembles. These are physical sensations called “fight-flight responses.” These sensations are normally caused by an adrenaline rush and stress hormones, which train your body to create a sudden flight from any threat or danger.
Anxiety is said to be normal because everyone experiences anxiety in everyday’s life. Same goes with children. Taking important exams in school, preparing for a quiz bee or a basketball game, for example. Such encounters will activate normal anxiety because these cause children to focus mostly on the “ifs” or “what if’s” such as What if I fail? What if I won’t get the first place?
Anxiety is stressful; however, some can be motivating especially if parents have the initiative to guide their children on how to deal with anxiety. It can and may help children to stay focus and alert, and exert their effort to do their best. However, when anxiety becomes too overwhelming such as peer pressure, social acceptance or judgment, it can take over the enjoyable and positive part of their lives. When it does, a normal anxiety at first can lead to an anxiety disorder.
Mental disorders due to anxiety are the most familiar psychological health conditions because as what was mentioned earlier, anxiety is a common reaction to all. There is a long list of different anxiety disorders in children; however, all of these disorders share a common characteristic – affects the entirety of a child.
Here are some of the common anxiety disorders in children:
- GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Children with GAD always go all-out for perfection and when something is not going their way, they have the tendency to be hard on themselves.
- Panic Disorder. Children with Panic Disorder suffer from at least two panic attacks that are unexpected and for no reason at all.
- Separation Anxiety. Children with Separation Anxiety always take a longer time to calm down and demand someone to stay with them. They always worry about something extremely bad will going to happen, when they are not with their parents or loved ones.
- Social Anxiety Disorder. It is also called as Social Phobia. Children with Social Anxiety Disorder have the fear of performing in front of an audience or even a small group of people.
Defining and understanding what separates a normal anxiety from an anxiety disorder is an initial step; however, what really causes an anxiety to children? Are there symptoms that parents could detect? What do parents need to do in order to help their children? Here are just a few questions you may have in mind.
In the next week or so, I’ll be posting articles that will hopefully answer some of these questions. I may not be a parent (yet), however, anxiety in children is not new to me. I have friends who’s child suffer from anxiety disorder. Feel free to drop a comment or anything you’d like to add related to this post. Thanks, Lovelies! For sharing Pinay Time with me. 🙂 ❤