It is becoming more and more common for children to suffer from anxiety. Although it would perhaps take an in-depth sociological study to see why anxiety disorders are on the rise, the sad fact remains that kids today are simply more prone to anxiety than at any other time in the past. Of all the varying kinds and degrees of these disorders, the four most common include separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. Each is diagnosed by an anxiety psychiatrist and treatments will vary based on the type of anxiety a child is suffering from. Here is just a brief summary of each of those four.
1) Separation Anxiety Disorder
Unlike a child who cries for the first or second time being left alone at daycare or with a sitter, a child with separation anxiety disorder will continue to panic when mom or dad leaves. Typically, a child of one-and-a-half to two years old will experience anxiety when being left with someone other than mom, but if this behavior continues past a child’s 4th or 5th year, it is probably a disorder which needs specialized diagnosis and treatment.
2) Panic Disorder
Typically, a panic disorder will be evidenced in older children. For some unknown reason, they suddenly start to panic. A child will gasp for breath and feel as though they have totally lost control for no apparent reason. They aren’t sure exactly what brought it on and cannot identify if something triggered it, but with proper assessment, a psychiatrist may be able to find exactly what triggers this kind of anxiety to help your child avoid a panic attack in the future. A doctor will also teach you and your child coping skills to work through these attacks.
3) Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Often referred to as GAD, a child with generalized anxiety disorder will be what we used to call a ‘worry wart.’ Children with GAD will worry about everything from the grades they get at school to whether or not they will be accepted by their peers to getting their homework done to making it to school on time. There is nothing they don’t worry over and no amount of coaxing can get them to lighten up.
4) Social Anxiety Disorder
This is one disorder that is usually easy to spot. A child who has social anxiety disorder was at one time labelled a ‘loner.’ This child will become extremely anxious when called on in class to stand up and give an answer and will not perform well in groups of other children. Not only will a child with a social anxiety disorder have problems performing in class, but this type of disorder will often prevent him or her from making friends easily.
It could be that technology and the speed at which we are all living in today’s world could be a big part of the reason why so many children suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders but there could be other issues in their lives causing them as well. Some are genetic, some learned behaviors associated with life events. In any case, if you notice your child inordinately anxious more often than not, take them for assessment and possible treatment as soon as possible. The earlier they are corrected, the easier it is to dispel their anxieties for good.