In this article we will tell you about Anxiety Disorders in Children. Here’s some of its effects and tips for its treatment.
Anxiety disorders in children tend to be the most widespread form of psychiatric problem prevailing among them. These disorders can cause excessive distress as well as severe impairment. In spite of the availability of effective drug and psychosocial therapy, these anxious children are practically overlooked as compared to children suffering from other psychiatric issues. Few children who are clinically anxious command the attention of physicians as well as providers of mental health.
Effects of anxiety disorders in children
Although historically considered to be harmless, such disorders might impede social, academic, and family functioning. They are accompanied by an increased tendency of failure at school, and low paying jobs and dependence on welfare and other government subsidies, in adulthood. Childhood anxiety often precedes anxiety disorder, suicide attempts, major depression, and psychiatric hospitalization during adulthood.
Unfortunately, most of the children suffering from anxiety disorders are not receiving sufficient evaluation and treatment. This is particularly distressing as such disorders can be effectively treated with the aid of cognitive behavior therapy as well as the use of serotonin reuptakeinhibitors.
Neglecting childhood anxiety
Why is childhood anxiety ignored by practitioners? This may arise from the all too common, but incorrect belief that childhood anxiety is developmentally normal, usually short-lived, as well as harmless. Terms such as anxiety, phobia and fear are often made use of interchangeably amid physicians and mental health professionals, ending up in diagnostic confusion as also mistaken notions about the real importance of childhood anxiety disorders.
In a developmental sense, the children’s can be reactions to various kinds of threats that can be objective such as tooth extractions and blood tests or subjective like lightning and the presence of strangers. In the very first year of their lives, children generally fear intense stimuli, like a loud noise, potentially damaging stimuli like strangers or falling over as well as novel stimuli.
Then there are fears of material items such as bodily injury and dogs, and fears of vague objects like the dark, monsters and separation that are most common during pre-school years. As to school years, appropriate apprehensions of evaluation, school-related events like oral presentations and tests, as also the facet of peer relationships remain the most common.
Although these temporary anxieties and fears are counted as part of a child’s normal development, any anxiety that lingers as a constant negative force in the life of a child and can cause intense distress or major interference with school activities, autonomous activities, peer involvement, and family functioning.
As childhood worries and fears tend to be variable, the evaluation of childhood anxiety disorders requires paying attention to the cognitive, developmental, socio-emotional, as well as biological factors. Physicians along with mental health workers need multisource data in the form of parent, teacher, child and multi-method data in the form of rating scale, observational and interview to determine the existence of any disorder, to set up levels of impairment and existing severity as also to identify suitable goals for intervention.
For simple phobias and less serious clinical presentations, behavioral techniques like systematic desensitization and exposure are sufficient. However, for children with complicated anxiety disorders, various cognitive as well as behavioral treatments are on the cards. Such treatment address the illness of a child across several dimensions, that includes physical complaints, biased thinking and behavioral problems like crying, clinging, and avoidance.
As to medication, research has shown that the drug fluvoxamine was found to be effective in treating social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder, although such drugs tend to have side effects.
It is sad to note that in spite of the remarkable gains in the understanding of both the etiology as well as the treatment of anxiety disorders in children, very few of them have actually benefited from all these advances. Under the circumstances, it is the duty of every primary care physician to consider childhood anxiety seriously and quickly refer suffering children to specialists so that they are evaluated further and receive effective treatment.
We hope now you know about Anxiety Disorders in Children.
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