Anxiety and stress are often confused as one in the same. That’s not exactly accurate though. Although anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, it’s also our mind’s way of telling us that our stress meter is reaching a potentially dangerous level. While anxiety may help us focus on our responsibilities, it may also hinder our ability to achieve our desired level of performance on everyday tasks in school, work, competitive sports, social and family obligations. Research shows that anxiety affects about one in eight children in the United States and will affect approximately 25 percent of teens from ages 13-18 years of age. Without the proper treatment, children and teens may lose focus and turn to unhealthy ways of coping with excessive stress.
The most common types of anxiety disorders in children and teens and the symptoms that affect them include:
- Panic Disorder (with or without agoraphobia) which is marked by shortness of breath, sweating, and a pounding heart. These symptoms can become so severe that they make a person believe they are actually going to die.
- Social Phobia, also referred to as Social Anxiety Disorder, includes symptoms of extreme nervousness, stress and anticipation of an event or social interaction.
- Adjustment Disorder with Anxious Mood is very common among children and teens and is accompanied by work or school problems due to life changes and stress.
- Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder involves anxiety caused by the effects of drugs, alcohol, medication and toxins.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder presents with a constant concern, a compulsion for perfectionism, trouble relaxing, as well as, a preoccupation with detail, rules and productivity.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder involves chronic worrying and an overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen.
There are some telltale signs that your child may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Some of these signs include: worrying and fearfulness for no apparent reason, unusual worry about everyday activities and events, a constant need to self-correct or to repeatedly check if something is right, panicky behavior that results in a lack of ability to function in a specific situation, and frequent panic attacks at random times which often include symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating and dizziness.
We can treat your child or teen with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, stress management techniques, and other appropriate therapeutic programs designed to improve their overall physical and emotional wellbeing. We will help your child find appropriate, healthy ways to change the way they interact and desensitize them from situations that may trigger fear and anxiety. Generally, our treatment approach is aimed at restoring hope, improving your child’s decision-making ability, and decreasing their anxiety and depression.